The value of cheap entertainment

In a working world where the vast majority of Americans seem to be forced to work obscene amounts of hours in order to barely eek out an existence, the value of entertainment seems to have gone up even more than in the past. I’ve been lucky enough to have been living/working abroad for the past few years, which has enabled me to live for a relatively low amount per year compared to my American counterparts, but I’ve noticed that despite most people complaining about lower wages, no jobs, and a crappy economy the latest movies that come out continue to set records for volume of tickets sold/amount of money made.

On top of that, video games continue to rack up higher and higher volume in terms of sales. And while it might be a personal viewpoint, I honestly believe that in the economic crunch the value of entertainment has gone up even more, because people have traded “going out” with friends to simply hanging at home playing games or going to a cheap movie.

Last week was my first day back in the States in 2.5 years, and I about had a heart attack when my sister and I went to Old Chicago’s in Ft. Collins and had a build-your-own pizza. I didn’t think about the price because I’m used to things in Europe, where I can get a large, custom pizza for 8-10 Euro (10-12 USD). Imagine my surprise when, after two glasses of water and a pizza, I get the bill and see a 28 dollar tab staring me in the face. On top of which I’m supposedly expected to tip 20% gratuity for a waitress who did nothing more than come to our table twice to bring us our water + pizza.

Needless to say, the value of a video game, for example, that will last me for a week or two (at minimum, such as was the case with Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect: 2) has far more inherent value to me than the cost of a meal out. Which is what we would have spent had we ordered beers (which were 5 dollars a pop, so 30 dollars + 20 for beers + a tip would have come to 60 bucks for two people, or the cost of a video game), yet at least with a video game I’m getting my money’s worth. All I’m getting at the restaurant is a meal that will last me for a few hours.

While the math is a bit skewed considering you CAN go out and get a meal with another person for under 20 bucks if you know where you are going, I’m still somewhat shocked at the high cost to “go out” and do anything. At least movie tickets are still somewhat cheap, and give you a couple hour’s worth of entertainment, but going out to eat? I don’t see myself doing that anytime in the near future.

Plus, buying a video game/book/watching TV means you don’t have to spend gas to go anywhere :)

Anyway, that’s the rambling thought of the day.

T.W. Anderson is the founder of Complete Writing Solutions, and is a freelance writer specializing in travel writing, website content, interior design and home improvement, green-related topics, as well as anything else potential clients need him to be.

Posted in Being a Green Freelancer

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