What does the Z Deli have to do with Broadway?

A couple of weeks ago, I made my daily trip to the Z Deli
on 8th Ave and 49th St., which is just a block away from my office.  I got my
usual mid-afternoon snack of Red Bull, a cup of ice and some vanilla wafer
cookies (Mom, please don’t comment . . . Just let me eat like a 12-year-old boy
already, ok?).  I went to pay and the cashier rang me up wrong.  I
asked, “Are you sure that’s $4.50 because the sign below the Red Bull says
$3.95.”  She made a face like she had just seen a cat get run over by a
bulldozer, sighed, and then screamed annoyingly to a subordinate to check the
price.  She was wrong.  She didn’t say anything, corrected the
mistake and charged me the right amount.

A few days later, there I was again, with my Red Bull and wafers (Mom – zip
it), and a different cashier rang me up . . . wrong.  I asked, “Are you
sure that’s right?”  The cashier paused, and then up walked you-know-who.
She looked at me and said, “Ugh.  He always does this.”  I
looked at her like I had just seen a cat on water skis.  I was so
confused, because she was wrong both times.  I said, “But I was
overcharged.”  She said, “Whatever” and walked away.

And then you know what I did?  I paid the wrong price for the goodies
because I really didn’t care that much, and then I walked away . . . and never
walked back.


Because in New York City, there’s another deli on every block.

I counted it up, just for kicks.  That woman’s ‘tude cost that deli about
$10 – $15,000 a year in Red Bull, wafers, slices of pizza, batteries, paper
towels and all the other stuff that I’d buy within the course of one year.
I bet if that owner knew what this woman in need of anger-management
classes was doing to his customers he’d have some ‘tude of his own.

So what does this have to do with Broadway?

Just like there’s a deli on every block, there’s another show on every block .
. . And more importantly, there are so many other entertainment options on
every device known to man available to your potential customers.  If you
think you can afford to pee-off just one person, you may just lose them to Netflix, the net or their cousin Nancy . . . forever.

And maybe the Z Deli can afford it.  But the theater can’t.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.