Joe Cahn, the self-proclaimed Commissioner of Tailgating likes to call tailgating “the last great American neighborhood”. What he means is that, while tailgating people are very friendly and will let complete strangers borrow a bottle of ketchup. This “neighborhood” in the parking lot harkens back to a time in America where no one locked their doors and instead of running to the store for a cup of sugar, you just went next door to borrow it from a neighbor.
I, on the other hand, like to refer to tailgating as “the great equalizer”. This means that since so many exterior forces are beyond our control, the one thing we can control is how and to what extent we can take our tailgating. As fans and tailgaters we can’t control ticket prices. We can’t control gasoline prices. We can control food and beverage concession stand prices. We can’t control parking fees. The one thing we can control is what we want to consume in the parking lot and how much.
By going tailgating, one could potentially avoid paying all the high costs of food and beverage inside the stadium. In my experience while a San Diego Chargers season ticket holder since 2004, I can recall three times buying something inside Qualcomm Stadium. All three times it was a bottle of water because it was an early season game in August or September and I had already downed the two bottles of water I was allowed to bring in. In my seven years as a season ticket holder not once have a purchased a hot dog, pretzel or beer inside the stadium. Now surfacing is evidence that not only was I saving money but probably was avoiding being cheated as well.
Back in January, a couple of astute Seattle Seahawks fans exposed the Qwest Field concessions of selling beer in 16-ounce and 20-ounce cups that hold the same amount of liquid. The perceived “large” cups of beer cost $1.25 more. Take a look for yourself.
I saw the above video a month ago and thought of posting about it here. I chose not to at that time thinking it was an isolated incident. I also held off because the Seahawks organization came forward soon afterward and revealed that both cups were 20-ounce cups. The “smaller” of the two cups was being sold for less than the large. Therefore those fans buying the “smaller’ beer were getting 4-ounces extra while paying the lower price.
Now comes along a video that was originally posted in May 2010 that shows a baseball fan doing a similar demonstration as the Seahawk fans. The real crime here is that the smaller beer costs $5 while the “larger” beer costs $8. Take a look.
The moral of the story? Stop buying beers inside the stadium.
Sure these two videos may be isolated incidents but then again, would you be surprised if this was pervasive in other places?
Bottom line, you know when you are buying your tailgating food at the grocery store, you are getting the sizes and quantities you expect. Eat and drink to your heart’s content out in the parking lot and save your money. It wouldn’t surprise me if that quarter pound hamburger inside the stadium is a tad on the light side even before cooking.