Will that be cash or cash?

You won’t hear that line when you’re standing in line at the TKTS booth anymore, if the current test taking place at the South St. Seaport location is successful.

Yep, that’s right, the “trailer” (as it’s commonly referred to), will take credit cards when the new location opens in Duffy Square (a year and a half behind schedule).

My response to this adoption of credit card technology?  Welcome to 1983, TKTS booth!

Ok, sarcasm aside, I am thrilled that thousands of theatergoers will finally be able to pay with plastic instead of paper.  But why the decades of delay?  This is a perfect example of our industry lagging behind the technological times, and suffering for it.

In Influence (my favorite sales book of all time), Cialdini discusses credit cards in depth, and cites studies that demonstrate that just accepting credit cards and displaying a credit card logo got consumers to spend more money . . . in cash!  People spend more when they use credit cards, it’s that simple (NYC cabbies take  heed – you will get  bigger tips, so stop telling me your machine is broken).  Why do you think cruise lines don’t accept cash on board but only let you put expenses on your cruise charge card (one of my employees is on a cruise right now – I should ask for her expert opinion as to whether she would have ordered that many Daiquiris if she paid in cash).

Add that to the zillion other reasons people like to use credit cards (postpone payment, get rewards, avoid ATM fees, loss prevention, fraud protection), and it’s no brainer that it crushes the few potential concerns the naysayers have had:  transaction times might be longer (I’d like to see data on that, because it seems issuing changing and having a buyer dig out bills would take longer than a swipe), there is a cost (happily borne by the shows and TDF can probably turn a deserved profit), and my favorite . . . that paying with a credit card is too easy for the consumer and that they should have to go through some inconvenience to get this discount (as if standing in line for hours isn’t enough).

Here’s my response:  When people want to give you money for your product . . . take it!

Why make it more difficult?  Especially when you’re selling a product in an extremely competitive and economically challenged market.  Selling bottles of water in the desert and there ain’t an oasis in sight?  You can restrict your method of payments to gold bullions or tea leaves for all I care.  But selling perishable inventory without any other major revenue streams?

In 2008, the consumer’s experience and the ease of that experience is vital.  We can’t be snobs anymore and expect them to pick us over the countless other entertainment options in this city (it was only in the 80s that we started allowing people to know their seat location before making their purchase.  Can you believe that?  Who do we think we are?)

We need to get over ourselves.

In 2008, the consumer is in “charge”.

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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.