We've had a few people ask a question that I thought was worth answering in one of these. It goes something like this:
If small kids don't drink coffee or play games, why must they still pay full price?
Good question, right?
It all comes down to a business principle called 'cost of sale' . When we work out the prices we charge for our Day Passes, Memberships or products in the Snack Bar or Armoury, the most important factor in deciding those prices is what it costs us to provide them.
It's not just the physical products either (coffee, tables, chairs, milk, bread etc): we also have to factor in the various expenses involved in running a business, things like rent, water, electricity, rates & taxes, staff salaries, wear & tear on equipment, and even less tangible things like opportunity cost (the value of potential other business we might have had if we weren't spending time and money on the thing in question).
It's a complicated equation, filled not only with hard numbers, but also with variables, estimates and guess-work. And that's before we even count the other factors that inform the final sale price... but that's a lesson in economics, and we've done enough of that for now.
The point is this: the cost of sale for a regular customer who buys a Day Pass, plays some games and drinks some coffee is X. A small child, who isn't drinking coffee or playing games has a cost of sale that's close enough to X that it doesn't matter.
How is that possible? Well because small children are uncoordinated and haven't yet learned proper social norms. That means that they run around, making a noise (which disturbs other customers, chasing them away - aka "opportunity cost"), dropping food or drinks (clean-up cost: staff time, cleaning supplies, closing an area of the club while it's being cleaned etc), climbing on furniture (wear and tear) and have special hygiene needs (water, soap etc). Adding all that stuff together, the cost of sale for small children is actually slightly higher than for other customers.
"But my child would never behave like that!" I hear you exclaim. Right, of course, obviously. I'm talking about all the other small children - every other small child ever to visit DeeTwenty. We can't go making an exception just because your child is a little Ender Wiggin. It wouldn't be fair.
It's important to us that parents feel welcome to come and get their geek on, and to be able to bring their geeklets along. But we can't subsidize the kiddies, especially considering that our target market is actually grown-ups. For the foreseeable future, small children will be paying the same as all other customers.
What we can do, and are doing, is to have special days where small children are not only welcome, they're specifically invited! On those days we'll set aside a special kids area and offer a babysitting service so that parents can relax and geek in peace. It'll be going for R50 per child per 6 hour shift.
The first Family Day is coming up on the 16th of December. If that turns out to be a popular option, we'll look into providing babysitting services more often.
So if you want to see us make more options available for small children, come to the Family Day, show your support, and prove it to all of science that it's something geeks need!
In the mean time, geek parents, please keep in mind the DeeTwenty Kiddy Policy: Your geeklets are your responsibility, and they're expected to follow the same Code of Conduct as everyone else.