As this post doesn’t naturally fit the scheme of this blog, namely full-stack software development, I’ve decided to move it to Medium.

 

 

 

A Theme Parks Scam Called ‘Fast Track’
  • cryptoglyph

    This entire post is economic nonsense and predicated upon the craven emotion of jealousy.

    You errantly believe that time is the only valuable good in play.

    Rather, access to specific parts of the property of the amusement park owner is what the owner is trading/licensing in exchange for money (and maybe a little time) to Fast Track-holders while in exchange for money and time from non-Fast Track-holders.

    Your time is not an inherently more valuable good in the market than any other good (money, other people’s time, etc.). It might seem that way to you, because after all, it is unique to you—and I agree with you that it should not be wasted. But to the amusement park owner, it is fungible with that of 10,000 other guests. That’s immutable economic fact. Your time is not sacrosanct to anybody else except you. And this was a voluntary transaction or set of transactions. Thus, if your time is not being valued properly, according to you, by the people you are interacting with, then stop transacting with them and go do something else.

    However, your revealed preferences indicate that you do not value your time highly—otherwise, you would simply pay the $20 or $60 extra to avoid the problem of waiting in the first place or would participate in another activity. What irks you is not that your time is wasted, but that other people actually value their time enough to pay for it—that they are rising above your state by expending their capital.

    The other thing that is grotesque about this post is that you are literally complaining about the injustices of waiting in an amusement park line. We are not even talking about waiting in line for a bowl of rice or water. We’re talking about a discretionary “good” (experience) in the first world.

    • Thank you for your thorough response. Allow me to reply.

      > predicated upon the craven emotion of jealousy

      Nope. I have the money and can easily afford it to myself and to my family, yet preferred not to, as it seemed to me like an unfair advantage over people who thought everyone is going to wait the same time.

      > Rather, access to specific parts … of the amusement park owner is what the owner is trading/licensing in exchange for money (and maybe a little time) to Fast Track-holders while in exchange for money and time from non-Fast Track-holders.

      That might have been the case if they said so loud and clear on their web site. They didn’t. The sites detail the various rides and that’s it. When you go to purchase a ticket, they don’t mention it. It’s an “extra” that you discover only after you’re in. See for yourself: https://themeparks.com.au/box-office/holiday-tickets.aspx

      > Your time is not an inherently more valuable good in the market than any other good

      Economically, correct. What I argue here though is against the lack of disclosure. You come with a set of expectations (which are part of a binding contract between you, the buyer of a ticket, to the park, based on the presentations on the park’s publications) and they turn out to be false.

      > then stop transacting with them and go do something else.

      Absolutely agree! That’s what this post is supposed to do: reveal the truth so people can take better commercial decisions in the future.

      > However, your revealed preferences indicate that you do not value your time highly—otherwise, you would simply pay the $20 or $60 extra to avoid the problem of waiting in the first place

      Nope. I value my time and would’ve otherwise paid, but I refuse to do it on the expense of others. We are a society of human beings. It’s not all about having the best outcome for yourself.

      > The other thing that is grotesque about this post is that you are literally complaining about the injustices of waiting in an amusement park line. We are not even talking about waiting in line for a bowl of rice or water. We’re talking about a discretionary “good” (experience) in the first world.

      I guess this argument applies everywhere someone complains / sues someone over a luxury service they have bought, doesn’t it?

      • cryptoglyph

        Thank you for your thorough reply. Allow me to make several disclaimers: I am a U.S. lawyer, so I will feel qualified to discuss fraud in general in a common law system, but obviously I am not qualified to discuss Australian law and this is not advice.

        1. Are you sure that themeparks.com.au, which appears to be an aggregator of different properties with different ownership, is indeed the owner of the park where you entered? It is possible that you have two parties involved (the aggregator and the property owner), where the former is not clearly communicating with you even though the latter may have. If themeparks.com.au is the agent of the property owner, then there might be a claim. But if the website simply buys tickets on a contractual basis, then maybe the website is to blame for the oversight. Hard to say without further evaluation.

        2. Your expectations are only part of a binding contract if the two (or three) parties are in agreement about what those expectations are—or if there are relevant statutory consumer protection laws in place giving the consumer unilateral protection. If the party induced those expectations or implied certain facts with a view toward getting you to enter the contract, yes, there might have been misrepresentation or fraud.

        But, one’s expectations that everyone would have to wait in line the same amount of time as a contractual term are not per se reasonable or a given. At least not in the United States. Maybe in Australia, but my first guess would be not.

        I can certainly see the argument for your side.

        3. The main issue you might face (again, see disclaimer about Australian law) is that property law in the English common law tradition allows the owner to license entrants and to eject or restrict their access at will, regardless of any contract. So in that sense, the contractual obligations and the property rights of a owner may conflict. You may have a valid breach of contract claim but your access can still be revoked or restricted no matter what by the property owner (probably true under .au law). Here, I’m using the word “restricted” to tie the fact that a non Fast Track holder must stay in the slow line.

        The question is then what does the contract actually say? And how does .au law actually enforce written take-it-or-leave-it tickets? My guess is that the ticket is written so as to (a) exclude all oral or implied terms and (b) allow them to eject you or restrict you for any reason. Underlying contract law probably allows you to demand your money back, but you won’t get your time back nor would you likely be entitled to compensation for it.

        Maybe the ticket simply grants you entrance to the park—and that’s it—while you obligate yourself to abide by all the rules, which include staying in the slow line unless you have a Fast Track pass.

        But who knows. I haven’t read any of the contractual language and I’m not your lawyer. Talk to your lawyer. 🙂

        4. Regardless, I do believe this is important information for people to know. Thus, I think you and I are in “violent agreement” about putting forth information publicly to help people make informed decisions. I’m not convinced the lack of information on this point counts as legal misrepresentation, but it is still useful. And I’m with you that the more people know, the better they can enter proper contracts which suit them.

        Personally, I would use this information to buy the $60 all-day pass.

        5. >> However, your revealed preferences indicate that you do not value your time highly—otherwise, you would simply pay the $20 or $60 extra to avoid the problem of waiting in the first place

        >Nope. I value my time and would’ve otherwise paid, but I refuse to do it on the expense of others.

        Actually, yes. Your *revealed preferences* (vis-à-vis economic theory) indeed state the opposite. You value the principle you desire to prove more than your time. 😉 But you still are not, technically speaking, valuing your time at $20 or $60. Otherwise you would take the deal.

        6. >> The other thing that is grotesque about this post is that you are literally complaining about the injustices of waiting in an amusement park line. We are not even talking about waiting in line for a bowl of rice or water. We’re talking about a discretionary “good” (experience) in the first world.

        > I guess this argument applies everywhere someone complains / sues someone over a luxury service they have bought, doesn’t it?

        In a sense, this is true. Your point is well taken. However, the complaint you have is predicated on the assumption that you were right to begin with about the principle and/or the implied contractual terms. If you were correct that it was unreasonable for the owner to sell fast track passes to other guests, then your complaint is reasonable and no matter whether this is about a discretionary good or not, you still have a right to have the terms of whatever contract enforced.

        On the other hand, if you were incorrect, then your complaint, although understandable in the hot sun of Australia from a human perspective, is still solvable by paying a little more in the light of the circumstances.

        Thanks for responding to my brusque initial post so coolly. You were gracious.

        • My experience is rather with the Israeli legal system rather than the Australian one, although both inherit / implement the British Common Law, and despite my limited understanding of the Australian consumer / commercial law, I’ve found so far that they are very similar. Therefore I can’t comment on the legal perspective from the point of view of the Australian law, but I’m pretty sure implied / explicit terms in contracts are interpreted in a similar way by courts. My interpretation is that unless stated otherwise, it is implied (and hence serves as a binding term in a contract) that everyone wait in the same queue. It is implied because the theme park sites (there is the main one and specific ones) didn’t offer me to buy the Fast Track wristband or any other means that can improve or shorten my stay.

          The site I referenced to does belong to the theme parks’ management or owners, Village Roadshow Theme Parks Pty Ltd. Look at the Privacy and Terms & Conditions pages.

          But let’s leave legals aside (I don’t see it as not important at all though).

          Let’s say it was legal to do so. My post is not based on the grounds of being illegal by law or by contract. My post expresses commercial, common sense fury against the Fast Track practice. A contract (especially “fine letters”) can have lots of disclaimers and terms, which would render certain acts by the vendor/provider as allowed, and they would still be wrong from a public or commercial view, wrong in a way that justifies public discussion.

      • MrMe

        You going to the park in the first place puts you at an “unfair advantage over others” who can’t afford it. Being able to walk puts you at an “unfair advantage over others” who can’t walk, and so on. It can be said about anything.

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