Published: January 17, 2008 at 10:44 AM
Hmm . . . our Six Flagging pals, seeing that their six-packing days are done (this describing the too-many years they courted their pre-21 audience and the reason that "those meddlesome teenagers" always seemed to need to wear bulky coats even on the warmest days) hit upon the singularly unique notion of -- yipes! -- selling their product to a brand new audience: families! With kids! And parents! And not a buncha Gawddamned teeny-boppers with annual passes and lack supervision. Not only, but also: they want to be family friendly, but . . . IT'S NOT EASY! JEEPERS! IT'S GONNA COST US . . . REAL MONEY!
OK, so all y'all who know me know that I’d rather do the punch-drunk boogie with an unveiled Leah than get all biblical on you, but a little Matthew (24:6 - 8, for those of you following along at home) seems appropriate right about now:
" . . . See that ye be not troubled: for these things must needs come to pass; but the end is not yet.
"For nation shall rise against nation, and (magic) kingdom against kingdom . . .
"But all these things are the beginning of travail."
Aw, but this isn't simply Biblical travail (global floods, plagues of toads, and all of the eschatological frivolities that Universal does so well). No this is much worse: stockholders might get antsy! Dang!
So, here it is, as it is always: you (meaning, probably NOT you, but the bean trust as S. Flags, Inc.) want to rebrand yourself after years of slow decline. You (more than likely) didn't listen to those annoying little people on your payroll (the people who design, build, and run your parks) who tell you that yes, this plan is (here in the new age of the 21st-or-so century) a good (probably the only) way to keep the lights on and the retail locations busy, but that this plan will take time, money, and the courage to see it through. You (again, hopefully not you) pay lip service to this tribunal of factors and OK it . . . and then, to engineer a classic example of "creating irony through half measures," don't have the courage to spend the money over time to give it all a satisfying trail.
The irony part: you cheap-out (and wimp-out) causing you to NOT do the things you know in your bean-counting heart-of-icy-hearts do, but do the opposite: less dough, fewer family-friendly attractions, and fewer in-park personnel to actually, you know, make the parks actually worth visiting by families. Or even the Six-packers, for that matter.
Well, heck, why bother? Valencia NEEDS more space for condominiums, anyway, as do Vallejo, St. Louis, Atlanta . . . dunno about Gurney. Theme parks are so much less profitable than cutting and running.