Free Markets, Free People

law suit


Concession prices too high at theaters? Then don’t buy them

But suing to make the theaters reduce the price?  Really?

Joshua Thompson loves the movies.

But he hates the prices theaters charge for concessions like pop and candy.

This week, the 20-something security technician from Livonia decided to do something about it: He filed a class action in Wayne County Circuit Court against his local AMC theater in hopes of forcing theaters statewide to dial down snack prices.

"He got tired of being taken advantage of," said Thompson’s lawyer, Kerry Morgan of Wyandotte. "It’s hard to justify prices that are three- and four-times higher than anywhere else."

I usually don’t go to movies. Believe it or not, since I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to get motion sickness in a theater if there is a lot of action on the screen.  It’s weird but that happens to me (also happens with first person shooter games). 

But, when I did go, I never went to the concession stand.  I agree with Thompson, prices are too high and I’m not willing to pay them.  However, I’m also not willing to use the force of government to “force” prices down, for heaven sake.

The way consumers make this point is to quit buying the stuff.  Yeah, it takes will.  It takes perseverance.  It takes a collective action over time.  But what it should never take is bringing government in to it.

The suit accused AMC theaters of violating the Michigan Consumer Protection Act by charging grossly excessive prices for snacks.

The suit seeks refunds for customers who were overcharged, a civil penalty against the theater chain and any other relief Judge Kathleen Macdonald might grant.

So who gets to decide what is a fair price?  A judge?  Or the consumer?   How does the consumer decide what a “fair price” is?  By not paying what he or she considers to be an unfair price.  That’s how.  Not by going to the state and attempting to use its power to force a lower price.

No one forces anyone to go to a movie, pay what they’re asking or eat their snacks.  Everyone of those is an individual decision and choice. Just as we decide not to buy other products we can’t afford or think are priced too high, it is up to us to make the same sort of decision at a theater concession stand.   If enough refuse to buy, it will eventually come to the attention of the theater chains.  That’s how pricing is set by markets (you know, all that talk about pricing signals and such?).  And the state has no business being involved in that system whatsoever, either legislatively or judicially (and the law suit probably won’t go anywhere, I understand that, but I’m addressing the mindset).

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


DoJ to challenge AZ immigration law on “preemption”

Based in the Constitution’s “supremacy law”, the Obama administration will argue that federal law is supreme to state law.  In other words, the feds will argue that enforcing immigration laws is a federal responsiblity.

But that’s the rub isn’t it – it may be their responsibility, but they’re not fulfilling that responsibility to anyone’s satisfaction, especially the state of Arizona.  Consequently, Arizona has felt the need, based in public safety and budget concerns, to take matters into its own hands.

The preemption doctrine has been established in Supreme Court decisions, and some legal experts have said such a federal argument likely would persuade a judge to declare the law unconstitutional.

But lawyers who helped draft the Arizona legislation have expressed doubt that a preemption argument would prevail.

I’m not sure what those doubting whether the “preemption argument will prevail” mean.  Of course it will “prevail” if it is applicable. It has law and precedent behind it.  However, given the fact that the federal government has all but abandoned the enforcement of immigration law, and I think Arizona should be able to provide ample evidence of this, I’d suggest the preemption clause won’t be applicable since the laws aren’t being enforced.

In fact, I think Arizona can argue and make a pretty compelling case of federal nonfeasance concerning immigration laws.

In that case, this may very well blow up in the Obama administration’s face, and verify what most Americans already think – the government has no interest in enforcing the immigration laws on the books. 

Not exactly the meme you want out there with midterms approaching. Regardless of how this turns out, I’m finding it hard to see a “win” in this for the administration.

~McQ