We Like Roy

Ever been to a museum that had an admission fee that was by donation? Have you ever paid more than the suggested amount? … Ever paid less?

Simpsons fans will know the title of this post is in reference to the episode with Brad Goodman, a motivational speaker that encourages the impressionable townsfolk of Springfield to “do what you feel.”

A little while ago Radiohead introduced the same type of thinking when they released their new album online. The cost? Whatever you felt like paying.

Apparently this simple idea based on personal opinion and pretty much the honor system is catching on around Vancouver.

Instead of set menu prices, customers are encouraged to pay only what they think the meal is worth, by considering factors like ingredients, labour and service.

Vancouver’s own Rhizome CafĂ© is among the restaurants giving the idea a go and co-founder Lisa Moore says so far, she hasn’t lost any money. [News1130]

What could this type of thinking do to certain businesses in Vancouver? I really don’t think it will be very widespread, although the publicity and hype surrounding a promotion like this might pay off. There’s one thing I’m sure of, all those restaurants in Yaletown that charge $9 for a bowl of tomato soup might not get the returns they’d hope for.

4 Comments so far

  1. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on November 29th, 2007 @ 4:43 pm

    The Skytrain essentially operates this way and has for years. I really doubt it’ll catch on because the small number of people who pay more than a meal is worth will be far outnumbered by the number of people who pay less.


  2. Jolly Bloger (unregistered) on November 29th, 2007 @ 6:40 pm

    Hear that big whooshing noise? That was all the liberals in the lower mainland gasping at once.

    “You mean the free market actually works? I thought that was just a story to scare children! Without strict rules and regulations at every turn, how will people know what to do? Certainly people are so inherently evil that they will steal at every chance they get. Most importantly, how will they know how much tax to charge?”


  3. Wrenkin (unregistered) on November 29th, 2007 @ 7:12 pm

    First, the Radiohead album had a lot of freeloaders (though Radiohead themselves said they didn’t care).

    Second, clearly the more appropriate Simpsons reference is the episode where Dustin Hoffman is Lisa’s teacher. They go to the Museum and Homer doesn’t pay because it’s “suggested” but the teacher does because he’s basically awesome.


  4. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on November 30th, 2007 @ 12:29 pm

    The reason that the Radiohead thing worked for them is because they were making enough money with no record label to easily pay for the cost of recording if even a small percentage of people paid. The label takes such a huge chunk of change that it’s hard not to make more money as an indie artist if you’ve got Radiohead’s fanbase.

    Also Jollyblogger, I have no idea who you are quoting there. I think you’re probably quoting Strawy McStrawman as opposed to someone real. It’s sort of a shifty way to try to win an argument.



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