Saturday, August 2, 2008

Donation Wednesday at the Bronx Zoo

I attended the famous Bronx Zoo donation Wednesday day when the Zoo is mobbed by people, camps, and schools. The deal is that admission is free but you should make a donation to the Zoo for each guest in your party. The suggested minimum donation is $5 (Regular Zoo admission is $15). Judging from the look on the ticket window employee's face, they were not always getting that $5. Why? Is it because many people really cannot afford the $5 or are they taking advantage of this "free" day? I am sure that money not spent on the ticket goes to other sources in the Zoo such as food and drink, which yields a very high margin for the Zoo.

I also wonder if everyone is honest when the admission window asks "how many in your group today?" Dan Ariely writes in Predictably Irrational that honesty is tremendously important in our economy and Adam Smith would even agree. Ariely argues that people should carry around the "10 Commandments" or read the Bible or Quran, for ethical reasons. Meaning, that moral codes keep people honest especially when some higher power is watching over. I found this to be a very interesting point, except I wondered about the many atheists, satanists, and apathetic people out there. Is there a code of conduct in Satanic cults?

If you've ever been to the Bronx Zoo, you would know that the sea lions rule, the monkey house is cool, and the gorillas are just awesome! However, I could not believe the rudeness of the people there; the pushing and shoving, and even elbowing with a "sorry" rarely expressed. It was mind boggling to me. Has parenting become that bad? Does the marginal cost of teaching your child good manners outweigh the benefits?

Also, I noticed two young girls by the bison. They walked up to the exhibit, and one exclaims "oh cool," rather loudly because her iPod was blasting in her ear that I could even make out the hit single by Flo Rida. Then she picks up her Team Mobile Sidekick, and starts typing ferociously on the mini keypad. Why bother going to the Zoo?

How can we better our society and economy? The answer in the long run is always simple...EDUCATION. Teach your kids good manners, teach them how to enjoy the little things in life, teach them how to contribute in a positive way, teach them how to say "sorry" and "thank you," and teach them the importance of education so that they can pass on the important values to their kids someday.


Mike Fladlien said...

In the Armchair Economist, Steven Landsburg writes that an aquarium that is free to the public will have all rents competed away...I think that's what happened at the zoo...Maybe Yogi Berra was right when he said, "That place is so busy, no one goes there anymore.

Meds said...

That is right. Nice memory on the Landsburg, Mike.