What luck! “Hannah Montana,” is coming to your town for a live concert and you’ve got a daughter or two between the ages of 6 and 13. What could possibly be better? An IRS audit? A wisdom tooth extraction? A nice, long, front-porch visit with four Jehovah Witnesses on your day off, when all you wanted to do was read the latest Oprah’s Book Club pick?
For those of you who are dead, or pretending to be, “Hannah Montana” is a TV show about a teen singing sensation who spends half her time making records and going on tour. The other half of the time she is a normal high school student. Except for her family and best friends, none of the kids in her school knows she is Hannah Montana because she wears a blonde wig on stage and in school she is a brunette – and because they are stupid. (It’s OK for me to call people stupid because I are stupid, too.)
“Hannah Montana” is Disney-owned and operated from beginning to end. Wholesome, clean, age-appropriate and high-quality. In other words, wildly expensive. The face value of the tickets to see Hannah Montana live are $62. I only bring this up because I saw the Beatles in Hollywood Bowl in 1965. The ticket was $5.50. So, in today’s dollars that would probably be around $62, right? Wrong, $5.50 in 1965 dollars would be $36.30 today. So Hannah Montana is worth twice as much as the Beatles? She is if you’re a girl between 6 and 13. Maybe not so much if you’re that girl’s parent.
Still, $62 is a cheap way to keep a child who never wanted anything so much in their entire life, even if they live to be 15, happy. She wants to see Hannah Montana more than she wants that pair of $120 jeans, more than she wants her own iPhone, more than she wants her own pony. It seems like a cheap way to keep her from hating you for the rest of your life, a cheap way to ensure moderately good behavior for at least an entire week. It would be a bargain at twice the price. If only you could get that $62 ticket for twice the price. Right now scalpers are asking $266 for one $62 ticket. Seats up front, where you can actually see Hannah Montana go for much more – $600 and up.
And she’ll want to go with her friends. And the chaperone will need a ticket. And you can’t just wear anything to a Hannah Montana concert. Your ‘tween and all her friends must have completely new outfits to go to that show. Which means yet another trip to the children’s department of Victoria’s Secret for all of them.
The jeans, the iPhone and the pony are starting to look dirt-cheap, which means it’s time to start the bargaining.
“You know, honey, for the same price as Hannah Montana we could fly to New York, stay in a good hotel, see a few Broadway musicals and go shopping and still come out ahead,” or “Your father and I had been thinking about getting you your own AmEx card ...” or “Remember that tattoo on your butt I said you couldn’t get until you lived in your own house and made your own money? I think I spoke too soon. There’s a deal on them down at the mall, but it’s the same day as the Hannah Montana concert ...” or “I was going to put that money away for your first car ...”
Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life” and “Baby’s First Tattoo.” You can reach him at email@example.com
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