Just what is the value of a night out in a fancy dress with your spouse’s work buddies?
That’s the question I started asking myself after I learned that it’s going to cost us $80 per ticket to attend our upcoming post-deployment ball … plus parking ($6), plus driving 45 minutes to Nashville where the event is being held.
No, there’s not an open bar or an included hotel room. And no, the high cost is not because Taylor Swift or any other famous Nashville type is playing. That’s just the price of sitting down to (what I assume is) a sub-par meal with people I don’t really know.
And I didn’t even include the cost of a dress for myself ($100? $200?) or getting my spouse’s duds ready (dry cleaner, possible alterations, purchase of replacement ribbons for the ones that fell off during the last PCS, etc.) Edit: And I also didn't include the cost of childcare -- $50 for the evening minimum.
Eighty bucks per person still seems a little steep.
Our bosslady Jacey here at Military.com’s SpouseBuzz thinks I’m over simplifying this whole thing. She says there’s more to a ball than what I see as an overpriced plate of food in a fancy venue and the chance to gawk at what other people are wearing (oh come on, you know you do it too). She says $80 is the price of building unit morale. She says the events are about seeing your spouse letting his hair down with the guys with whom he’s been fighting. Can you even put a value on that stuff?
I'm sure the volunteers who are organizing the ball have thought through this whole thing. When they picked a venue they knew it would jack up the price. I want to believe that they have some sort of knowledge about how much people are willing to play.
Some spouses I've talked to said they are used to paying a lot for the ball -- they said it doesnt bother them anymore because they've been doing it for so long.
But this whole thing has made me wonder – at what price point do people no longer want to come to the ball? How much are you willing to spend before it’s just TOO expensive?
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