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Pet Peeves or Sour Grapes?

Ever had an innocent discussion turn into a full-blown rant? This happened to me while my in-laws were visiting and while on my soapbox, this Zen Mama Wannabe discovered a major pet peeve:  perks for high level corporate America the rich at the expense of all the rest of us the poor.  More specifically, I got worked up about frequent flyer miles and corporations buying the best seats at professional baseball games.  I know – you are worried about me already, but let me explain.

I am all for frequent flyer miles.  I got a credit card with a horribly high interest rate just because it offered frequent flyer miles for every dollar I spent.  I have earned and used two “free” round-trip airline tickets through this card and have the points accumulated for two more.  Not that I see a trip in our future with our expenses running so high lately (I’m definitely feeling poor these days) but hey – if we ever DO get to take a vacation of sorts, we have 2 out of the 4 tickets we would need already paid for. Yippee. 

What gets me though is the corporate people that fly all the time as part of their job. (Alternatively, some people have to drive a lot for their job – what perks do THEY get?) Those who fly on a regular basis rack up frequent flyer miles to the point where they lose track of all the zeros.  You know these people. They will never have to pay for a ticket again, probably never use up all the miles they have, and even better, they can ALWAYS upgrade to first class on all their trips. 

I don’t think anyone actually pays for first class anymore; it is all upgraded miles.  Great for them, but what about the rest of us – the poor suckers stuffed in the back of the plane?  We should feel fortunate we can even afford to get on a plane??  Business travelers should keep getting the first class seats JUST because they fly all the time (and keep earning more and more frequent flyer miles)?  To the “rich” more riches get bestowed?  Is something not wrong with this picture??

It is a similar principle with corporations buying up the seats behind home plate.  The best seats in the stadium are purchased by large corporations who hand out the tickets to their top management and/or key clients.  Half the time the people sitting in those seats could care LESS about the game; it is just another perk to take advantage of. 

Meanwhile, the hardworking dad can’t afford to take his son to a game because ticket prices are so high.  Or if he can, they are sitting in the nosebleed section, two rows from the very top.  And his son, the faithful die-hard little fan, sits there tightly clutching his mitt, just hoping he’ll be lucky enough to catch a fly ball in those seats – yeah if only.  (I sat next to those people one time, glancing at them and – through my binoculars – down to the seats behind home plate, where some seats were EMPTY and some had folks seemingly more interested in the food being served than the actual game!) 

Find a V.I.P. section for these corporate folks, some great out of the way sky box plastered with the corporate logo, with a humongous all-you-can-eat catered buffet.  But let the team’s true fans, the ones cheering the loudest and the proudest to be there, sit in the good seats.   That is all I am saying. 

Both my positions are undoubtedly unpopular with many people, but I get so frustrated sometimes with what I feel are basically unjust systems.  Don’t EVEN get me started on the elaborate goodie bags (swag) given away to the top celebrities at various high profile events.  Like Julia Roberts, who earns $20 MILLION dollars a movie, needs to be GIVEN a free Rolex watch – oh please!

Why don’t the companies who donate to the swag bags INSTEAD give it to women and children’s shelters and other charity organizations?  Instead of Reese Witherspoon getting one more designer bag, maybe that mom struggling to get back on her feet could use it.  She may not care that it is Prada, but she might just need a bag to take on the next job interview she has.  Score your points with the celebrities by telling them you are making the donation on their behalf.  Yeah, we all know how well this would go over in Hollywood, but still. 

Maybe those big corporations could donate their seats even just half the time (after all, what would all the Senior VPs do without SOME perks) and work on community promotions.  Your Average Joe and his kid could get a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience Major League Baseball from an amazing vantage point, brought to him by the good people at ______(corporation name to fill in the blank).

As for the frequent flyer miles, I would not be surprised if that whole system is changed/eliminated in the near future.  As we all hear, the airline industry is experiencing hard times and difficult financial struggles.  Maybe instead of charging folks for bringing on a carry-on bag, they will figure out better ways to run a variety of things.  Yes, I know you need to reward your loyal customers; but to say you get the best seats on the plane because you have to fly a lot for your job and the guy who doesn’t has to smush on down to the back (or pay an exorbitant sum – which I’m still convinced nobody in first class is really paying) just doesn’t seem right.

One last thought to round this all out:  there is a fine line sometimes between pet peeves and sour grapes.  Wonder how this Zen Mama Wannabe would feel if I was flying back and forth across the country in roomy first class, sitting only in baseball stadiums’ finest seats, while decked out in all these expensive designer freebies?  Wonder if and how my soapbox would hold up then?? 

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3 Responses to “Pet Peeves or Sour Grapes?”

  1. LarkLady Says:
    September 2nd, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Uh-oh, ZenMamma… I think you might need to slow down and do some deep breathing exercises — you’re starting to sound highly stressed! 😉

    Where I’m coming from:
    I fly infrequently. None of my credit cards gives me frequent flyer miles. Ergo, I’m one of the poor squashed people in the back of the plane.

    How I see it:
    While I see your point about all those people who drive thousands of miles a month for work, crossing their sales territory or whatever, but who get little benefit from it (unless they buy their gasoline with a credit card that gives them frequent flyer miles!), I also note that the ones who are crammed into airplanes, crossing the country on business, are the ones who are keeping the airlines going. If I get crammed into the cattle-car portion of the plane when I go on vacation, well, it’s once a year; that other person who’s flying all the time spends a whole lot of hours a week in airplanes and in airports. They’re paying their dues to that exclusive club, in spades!

    Let’s face it, ZenMamma: we live in a society where rank hath its privilege… and that rank is often purchased at a price few of us can afford. Most of the world’s wealth is held by a very few. So I guess it’s a good thing that money can’t buy happiness!

  2. Auntie Glo Says:
    September 3rd, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Wanted you to get another view (mine) on FIRST-CLASS and all the ‘perks’ of travel…..Dear Frequent Flyer dogger!!

    Let me tell you what its like to fly all the time!! You get up really really early–the people at Starbucks see you coming and have your coffee ready before you get there–very nice–but what it means is that YOU SPEND TOO MUCH TIME AT THE AIRPORT—which means…..its time that you AREN’T spending taking your kid to the ball game or having any type of relationship what so ever–or not being invited to the big party cuz your friend figured that you wouldn’t be around anyway. It also means COUNTLESS delays at airports–sitting next to some ass at the end of the day farting his brains out….and end of the day breath who INSISTS on speaking to you—even tho you are ignoring him like crazy–

    It means missing that last flight connection and having to spend yet ANOTHER day away from home and NOT able to get your luggage off the plane–so having to sleep in your work clothes–but those of us LUCKY enough to be in 1st class get to spend ANOTHER 2 hours in a line waiting for hotel vouchers for the 1st flight out the next day–that and a plastic tooth-brush—can’t eat cuz NOTHING IS OPEN!!

    I once counted the number of trips that I had to take that went smoothly–meaning no delays, lost luggage, cancelled or oversold flights. no circling for hours waiting for a gate to open…out of 10 trips that I had–ONE went according to plan!!!

    I traveled 80% of the time—that meant about 2 tickets per yr—thats if you could FIND a ticket at 25000 points and usually were booked for a yr in advance.

    So what I have to say is this…….People in first class would gladly give up their points if they could stay home and take their kid to a ball game—and furthermore–the folks in the box seats probably had to fly there and were there on business—again would rather be in nose bleed seats with their kids!!!

    Just another way to look at things Zen Mama!

  3. Reggie Says:
    May 2nd, 2011 at 2:04 am

    Now I know who the brinay one is, I’ll keep looking for your posts.

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