Monday, February 16, 2009

Monster Truck Jam at AllState Arena brings Monster of a bill

Monster Truck Jam a Monster of a hit to the wallet
By Ray Hanania

I love taking my young son to Monster Truck Jam every year. And, I enjoy the show. I’ve written about it a lot. So this isn’t so much a slam against Monster Truck Jam at all, but rather the venue and the exorbitant costs.

Let’s start with the tickets that were supposed to only cost $40, $30 for me and $10 for my son. The actual price I paid was $58, including County Board President Todd Stroger’s taxes, and something that they call a “convenience” fee that cost me an additional $11.

It wasn’t convenient at all.

Even less convenient was the parking at the AllState Arena. When we drove up, we whipped out the card and of course, she smiled and politely said, “Cash only.”

Okay. Thankfully dad is always concerned about not being late for anything, including the Monster Truck Jam Pit Party to get the autographs (that is open to anyone in the public, by the way, with passes from a local auto parts store.)

So we turned around, inconveniently, and drove through the nearby mall where we found a bank called “Fifth 3rd Bank.” Put aside the concern I have when I go to a bank that can’t seem to get the numbers right.

You’re the Fifth 3rd Bank, and you have hundreds of them across the country. I won’t get into your bank loan policies after the Feds bailed you out and you slammed the door on the face of consumers, for now. That’s coming, though. No. For now, I’ll just moan about the $3 fee I had to pay when I used the bank’s ATM.

That was neither convenient, nor fun. And it only evoked the anger inside me about how the banks and businesses took our tax money and used it to give themselves million dollar bonuses.

Back to the AllState Arena Gate where I paid the $20 to park.

Then, we decided to get some food and that was even less convenient. More than $25 for one hotdog, one polish sausage, one small bag of popcorn, on medium fountain drink and one bottle pop.

I’m still sick from the food and it is the next morning.

I will say the Monster Truck Jam show was fun. The Pit Party was about two hours of walking around and checking out each of the trucks. And, we got all the autographs from the drivers.

That was worth it.

Then there was the show. It started at 2 and ended at 4. I would call the Monster Truck Jam “minutes of fun.”

Years ago, my son and I were looking at buying a small motorised boat. And I remember reading the box which explained that you had to charge up the engine batteries for 10 hours, in order to get 5 minutes of motor time.

That didn’t seem worth the money. But then, I wasn’t really a big fan of Chinese made motorized boats, so we didn’t buy it.

We had the same mixed feelings about Monster Truck Jam. And my son even said it as we were leaving. “Dad. This was supposed to be Monster Truck Jam. But the whole show was a lot of talking, the ATVs and the motorcycles jumping. They didn’t have a lot of time for the Monster Trucks.”

Maybe that’s why I spent the $75 when we were leaving to buy him the miniaturized Monster Truck (that was way overpriced) and the five DVD set of old Monster Truck Jam shows dating back to 2000.

I felt guilty.

As we were driving home, it then occurred to me that it probably isn't such a good idea in today's economy for big companies to lend their name to stadiums and arenas where people are leaving with such bad suburban entertainment experiences.

No wonder I don't insure with AllState. They still around?

-- Ray Hanania

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