diamond geezer

 Thursday, September 24, 2009

Overheard at a museum near you, in the Boris future...

Admission £10

(recommended voluntary donation)

"Good morning sir, and welcome to the National London Museum. Would you like to step over here to the cash desk and buy a ticket?"

"No that's right sir, when you visited last month we were free. And now, thanks to the mayor's brave arts vision, we're asking visitors to pay."

"Oh absolutely sir, it's still very much your choice whether you pay or not. But we'll try to make you feel uncomfortable if you don't."

"Now there's no need to be abusive sir. We always used to ask for a suggested donation before, it's just that everybody ignored the collecting boxes. So now we're being a bit more forceful. Will you pay up sir, or are you a cheapskate freeloader?"

"It's perfectly simple sir. We have some of London's finest treasures behind these doors, and we think you'll value them more if you've paid to come in. Times are tough, and they're going to be tough for a while yet."

"What's that sir? You were only planning to pop inside for twenty minutes, because you've been before and you only want to see the new exhibits? That's still ten pounds, sir."

"I'm sorry sir, but we can't accept an income tax form as proof of payment. You may think you've already paid for museum entrance through indirect taxation, but I'm afraid our funding body doesn't view it like that."

"Yes sir, we do have a special temporary exhibition in our upper gallery. That's £8 to get in, and it's a compulsory charge - as before. Oh yes, that's on top of the voluntary ten quid sir. And a bargain at the price."

"No you're right sir, it is a lot quieter inside the museum this month. There aren't as many families, or pensioners, or tourists... indeed, far fewer people overall. So why not pay to enjoy the wonderfully crowd-free galleries?"

"Yes that's right sir, I used to be one of those chuggers blocking the pavement outside, attempting to get passers by to sign up to charitable direct debits. But this is a much better way to put my powers of persuasion to good use. And it's much warmer in here, and the pay's better."

"Please sir, I beg you. You'll enjoy it more if you pay. You'll value the experience more if you pay. And you won't feel horribly shamefully criminally guilty if you pay."

"Look sir, times are tough, and it's only ten pounds. Sorry, I meant times are tough for the museum. The fact that times are also tough for you is quite frankly irrelevant."

"It's the new taxation paradigm sir. Public services need to be cut, because that's what the will of the public demands. What people want these days is more money in their pockets, and less government spending on mere cultural fripperies. And then people can choose to spend that extra money on whatever they like, be it a plasma TV, a nice meal in a restaurant, private health insurance or a ticket to a museum. Because people prefer choice. And that's why our admission charge is still optional."

"I have to print you a ticket sir. We can't let you in any more without a ticket. See here? Your ticket reads £0.00. How does that make you feel sir? Make you feel good does it?"

"Ladies and gentlemen, we've got a man over here who isn't paying. Do shoot him a withering look if you see him on the way round. If we all stare together, maybe he'll pay on the way out."

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