There is nothing in life my family loves so much as a $2 hot dog. Although, if truth be known, a $3 hot dog is even better.
What it must never, ever be is a nickel and dime hot dog cooked and/or consumed anywhere near our home.
We are concession stand junkies.
You could take our daughter to a unicorn circus with paths paved with rainbows and her eyes would light extra bright if only she spied a concession stand.
Hot dogs for $3, a thimbleful of soda for $1 and a bag of candy barely visible to the naked eye for 75 cents are her nirvana.
They care not a whit for cheez-doodles and hot dogs and orange drink at home, but if that combo is setting me back $10 to procure them from a concession stand, snack table, or, heck, some random traveling hobo who offers them a crumb for money, they’re in.
Now, I love to eat, this is very true. Worse, (or better depending on how you look at it) I am not one of those hippie crunchy granola health nut moms.
Oh no, my children were spared that. I’m a devil-may-care we’ll get nutrition tomorrow mom.
I’ll down the occasional hot dog or serving of “nachos” (read: stale low-budget tortilla chips with petroleum-based “cheez” sauce drizzled atop).
We are also quite fond of the chewy, rubber texture of hot pretzels, lukewarm pizza by the (floppy) slice and any candy hailing from the food group known as the “gummy” variety.
The only trouble I see with our addiction to junk foods is they are so readily available.
Used to be you had to go to a ball game or concert to be put anywhere near the siren song of the concession stand.
“Come to me for salty, buttery goodness,” it would call.
“You know you want my sticky sweetness …,” it would hail.
Still, you could hardly be blamed if you imbibed a time or two (or six). How often did you come here anyway?
Now, everyone is on to the gold mine that is the concession stand. A concession stand is a veritable license to print money.
They have them at everything from sporting events to Cub Scout meetings.
I’m truly fearful of turning around one day and finding one at church.
As the consumer, you’re paying the high price of being a captive audience. Be it a movie theater, zoo, children’s event or a local concert, you will cough up some serious cash for otherwise mundane food items.
From the $5 bag of popcorn to the $3.50 corn dog, we all expect — and accept — that we’ll pay premium prices for pedestrian foods.
If you think about it, it’s brilliant.
Say you pay $3 for a hot dog. At that price a standard package of eight franks would set you back $24.
In the supermarket they are maybe $1.10 (O.K., $3 if you get uppity and buy the kind with real meat but we all know that concessionaires rarely do that).
Soda is, what, $4 a case? At $1 per soda, minimum, you just paid $12 per case!
Broken down that way, those 75 cent Swedish Fish might as well be filet mignon.
Speaking of beef, my only beef is that I didn’t think of this gig myself. Forget trying to force feed my family’s excitement over our daily dinner menu.
No more will I serve their meals on plates in the dining room with silverware, napkins and milk. Oh no.
From now on I’m setting up a pickup window in the kitchen. My customers can pick up their meals, ala cart.
Hey, I look out for my regulars. They can pay cash daily or run a tab. I think that’s how any good business should operate.
With proper marketing, (I’m thinking a card table and a hand-lettered sign would do — that’s all it takes to attract my children and my money — to anyone else’s concession stand) I’d knock a hole in that grocery bill in no time!
Not to mention with Thanksgiving coming up, I bet I could really make a mint off that turkey. And with the $6.50 combo meal, I’ll throw in a dinner roll.