Want to See Money Waste? Attend an NFL Game.
Mr. ToughMoneyLove went to the Titans vs. Colts game last night. I enjoyed it immensely, as my family members have been fans since the team moved to Tennessee. Even though I have been to many games, I still come away in wonderment at the money folks spend at the stadium. Some (including me) would call many of those expenditures pure money waste.
But I still draw the line on wasting money at the stadium. There is a difference between paying money to be entertained and wasting money while being entertained. We can start with the usual suspect – beer. I like beer but in all of the years we have been going to Titans games, I have never bought a beer at the stadium. I simply refuse to spend $7 on beer in a plastic bottle. People around me think differently. The fan sitting in front of me last night had consumed so many $7 beers that by the third quarter, he was sitting in his seat, head in hands, staring downward. His $50-$60 in consumed beer was causing him to miss a good part of the game – compounding the money waste. Later he somewhat came back to life but I could tell by his demeanor that he was not going to remember much of what happened in the 4th quarter.
I learned about a new wasteful money expenditure last night from one of my sons. He had gone to the concession stand in the first half (for hot chocolate) and noticed that the line at the in-stadium ATM was at least 25 people deep. His girl friend had used the machine for free because she was a customer of that bank. (No, she did not buy beer.) Everyone else paid a $5 ATM service fee! So here we have fans during the first half of the game lining up to withdraw more cash and paying $5 to access their own money. No doubt that a lot of those expensive cash withdrawals were used to purchase more $7 beers. It gave me a sick feeling to even think about it. Paying $5 to access your own money in this situation is similar to taking a payday loan. The interest cost is astronomical.
I can’t talk about wasting money at an NFL game without mentioning the players. I am appalled by the attitudes of players about money, including rookies who have never had any money, and their willingness to waste it. A recent case in point is the Titans rookie running back who was fined $10,000 this week for a post-touchdown celebration. He deserved the fine. But he is appealing the size of the fine because another player had only been fined $7500 for a similar episode. According to his statements to the press, he expected to be fined before the celebration but only to the tune of $7500. It seems that wasting $7500 of his own money is acceptable to him, but $10,000 is excessive. I just don’t get it. Even though players make millions, many stories could be written about former players struggling to pay their bills because of the money waste in their lives.
I suppose the point of this story is that money waste happens at every income level. But to me, the income level is mostly irrelevant. A $10,000 fine to a multi-millionaire player has an impact similar to a blue collar fan buying a $7 beer or paying $5 to get $50 in cash from a stadium ATM. My perspective is different. Even if I made millions, I would cringe at the concept of giving up $5 to withdraw $50 at an ATM. Money waste is money waste, and it is no less wasteful just because you are wealthy. If money is that meaningless to you, then give it away to someone who really needs it.
So am I off the mark on this little rant? Any money wasters out there who want to defend their positions?