"Six Flags: A Ripoff"

Tuesday, October 2, 2007 6:02 PM
Read this little article: http://seekingalpha.com/article/48738-six-flags-a-ripoff

Is he describing how you feel about the parks. ;)

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007 6:23 PM
I don't know -- when you go looking to have a bad time at a park, you generally do. He obviously did.

First off, as he admitted he got in free because someone brought him. He goes on and on about how he would've spent $200 on tickets otherwise, and Canobie is cheaper, but the fact is... he didn't. And if you want to look for discounts, you can find them very easily. That's the Six Flags marketing strategy right now -- have high gate prices, but keep your name out there by plastering coupons everywhere from Coke cans to fast food doors and counters.

As for water, why did he buy it then? You can get a free cup of water if you don't want to buy the bottled water.

For the ice cream, why did he as a family buy four different cups of it? Why didn't he get one of the largest ones for half the price (and the same amount of ice cream)?

I'd also like to point out that as for his comment that he could've gotten on more rides for a cheaper price somewhere else, I'm sure that is true -- but the park wouldn't have the same level of ride as Six Flags. He keeps comparing SFNE to Canobie. SFNE has what keeps getting rated as the best steel coaster period, as well as another nine coasters. Canobie has three, and while one of them is a classic, the other two won't exactly get you going.

If he only wants quantity and not quality, I'd suggest going to the local Wal-Mart and riding the round-and-rounds for a quarter near the entrance. For that price, with no waiting, him and his family will be able to get 400 rides for the same cost as a single $50.00 non-discount ticket to Six Flags, and they won't have to pay for parking either.

You know it was bad when a four year old looks at you and asks if you can "go to the other place next time" because you spent all of the time that you had with your family complaining about what a horrible day it was, and ruined their times too. A four year old isn't going to know that the price of the ice cream was too high or the water was.

To me, this is like saying that you could go to a Major League Baseball game and complain about the prices and sightlines compared to going to a Minor League Baseball game. There will be differences, but those differences will come based on what you are paying for.

Sorry for the quick rant at this, but people that do things like this really annoy me. The one good thing -- at least he'll never stand in front of me in line at NE.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007 6:34 PM
I dunno... I mean look at how much HOLIDAYWORLD puts into maintaining their wooden coasters - 3 very aggressive wooden coasters. Look at how much they put into keeping the park and bathrooms clean!

And look, parking free, soda free (dont even bother mentioning the FREE sunscreen!).

Six Flags has made leaps in terms of being nice to people (with still quite a few exceptions) but they still need to look at overall quality of the day for what you pay.

Anyone ever hear that old Knoebel's commercial...
Knoebel's - Kfun
Kparking - Kfree, Ketc....

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007 7:27 PM
He was probably pissed because SROS is closed. He sounds like an Ahole to me.
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Tuesday, October 2, 2007 7:46 PM
I know I wont be stepping foot in SFNE anytime soon. While I loved SROS, I would much rather go to Canobie Lake anytime Im in New England again. The Cannonball has the same ranking on my wood coaster list as SROS does, and Canobie has a much nicer atmosphere. But I am extremely biased, I grew up in New Hampshire and went to Canobie every summer I was there, the Cannonball is my first roller coaster (at age 2) and I have so many good memories there. Im so glad that others do too because clearly the park has been able to survive Six Flags coming into their market.
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Tuesday, October 2, 2007 7:55 PM
Sounds like a pretty typical experience to me.

Of course, many enthusiasts will enter the gates of a typical SF park with their expectations turned down to zilch so playing the "he should have know better" card is to be expected. I agree with the author, instead of trying to play the system and try to have a fun day at SFNE despite the prices, enthusiast style, I'd rather just go to Canobie and not have to be hassled with it.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007 8:51 PM
Saying someone sounds 'like an ahole to me' well, I dunno bout that. I'm not a very well 'worded' person, and I'm sure I come across as a total jerk sometimes - especially when I get a little 'motional on this board.

All the things he said were pretty much true. That's not exactly a great day...

I've been to that park 2 times. It was middle of the road as far as Six Flags goes. It was no where near the nightmare of SFOG (minus Mindbender of course), but it wasn't like my home park Great America.

The 2nd time I went there, my aunt and myself got in the back seat of Superman. The ride op came and literally bounced up and down on my lap bar. I told her right there. I was hurt, I mean real hurt.

When I got off I went to first aid, where I was 'inspected' by a rubber gloved EMT (and no, he wasn't that cute). I was swollen and hurt for the rest of the night. I filled a complaint form. Refused to take an ambulance to the hospital, we only had an hour left to ride. I spent most of the time sitting and trying to smile. I was kicked in HS, so I knew it would get better. Took a few days!

There's a general 'touch of the crazies' at any Six Flags park... *** Edited 10/3/2007 12:56:48 AM UTC by J7G3***

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007 10:16 PM
I was waiting for him to mention about how expensive Flashpass is but it wasn't mentioned at all. I wonder if he didn't know it existed? As for the high prices, yeah $3.50 for a bottle of water is a ripoff but he paid it anyway. He should have just went to a water fountain or gotten a cup of water for free as someone else mentioned.
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Wednesday, October 3, 2007 12:19 AM
He complains about paying $25 to park... well, he didn't have to get VIP parking. Granted, $15 is still too much, but why did he get Preferred?
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Wednesday, October 3, 2007 12:49 AM
I still don't think that anyone can seriously say that this is a 'typical' experience. I would guess that 99% of the people who get free tickets to go to an amusement park would not find a way to hate everything about it. He *very* easily could have said that it was neat how Six Flags does the thing where season pass holders can bring in their friends for a day for free. Then, even if you add up his Premium Parking ($25.00, could've paid $15 as noted, but CHOSE to upgrade), food he said was $36.00, a water was $3.50, and ice cream was $20.50. So, his entire day cost $85.00. That's $11.00 cheaper than his trip to Canobie, not counting any food.

Now, add in that he could've done regular parking and chose to just get a cup of water, and suddenly he's at $71.50. Again, I ask did he need four ice creams when three of them were smalls? If I'm remembering my prices, a small is $4.50, a large is $6.50. So, he could've done two larges for $13.00 and saved money.

And again, this isn't to point out the difference in cost to install and maintain as many coasters as SFNE has compared to a park like Canobie.

Also, the comparison between operations at SFNE and Disney was completely and totally unfair. If you compare Disney to Canobie, sure you have higher capacity rides (it doesn't matter how many people are working them, so much as it matters how fast the lines move, really) but you also have higher ticket prices -- $71.00 for a day at Disney. That doesn't include the price that you need to pay to either stay at a Disney hotel or to park. So, by arguing this, he could have saved $84.00 by going to SFNE instead of Disney (not factoring parking). This makes Canobie an even better deal, since he immediately would have saved $184+ by going to Canobie. And, since again, according to his whining article it doesn't matter what the rides are, just how many times he can get on them, then Canobie should be instantly comparable to Disney in the rides department.

Don't get me wrong, there are definitely still things that you can fairly complain about at a Six Flags park. From just this year alone, I have been to a couple and have been disappointed that not every ride was open, line jumping is still not very well enforced, that their food lines sometimes (often?) take forever, and their food quality is sketchy a lot of the time. But complaining that you "had" to pay money for things that you clearly didn't, and then unequally comparing the park to other parks (as someone else mentioned, the prices of Canobie, the operations of elsewhere) just bugs me.

He came to the park hoping for a bad time so that he could write about it and found one so he could condemn the chain in an article. Canobie doesn't have stock, so that would be a worthless thing to do. I saw another article this year from a journalist that said that he went to the park not planning on writing about it, but the staff was so amazing that he wanted to thank them. I think that was about Great America. That journalist didn't go to the park expecting Great America to be as cheap as Indiana Beach. He went in with realistic expectations and they were surpassed that day.

Six Flags didn't surpass my expectations this year, but I am pleasantly surprised to admit that unlike in years past, they also did nothing to make me feel bad for bothering going.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007 9:24 AM

thecoasterguy said:
He went in with realistic expectations and they were surpassed that day.

That's the problem. Unless you're a coaster nerd you may not know you have to lower your standards to rock bottom when visiting certain parks. My expectations for a visit to SFNE are very different from my expectations for a visit to Canobie are very different from my expectations to a day at Disney. That's because I'm hyper-informed on the histories and trends and reputations of the parks. The GP for the most part isn't, nor should they be or have to be. There may be an understanding that the level of experience at EPCOT may be different from that at your average SF park but the details of that are going to be lost on your average Joe walking through the gate, at least compared to your average enthusiast. *** Edited 10/3/2007 1:27:22 PM UTC by matt.***

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007 10:02 AM
I agree with this person. The park is a ripoff. Any drink is really expensive at Six Flags, and also is the food. The Powerade I bought from the park a year ago was $3.50, and it was the 20 oz one, and not the 32 oz one. The parking is also too high. You are already paying that high price to get in the park with parking, and than you get even higher prices in the park.

As for having 1 person per ride, I think it really depends on the ride. There are rides that I think need 2 people, but they only have 1 at my Six Flags park. The people I feel sorry for is the people near SFGAdv. I hear there's nothing near the park to eat out at.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007 10:06 AM
Sounds like an average day from an average consumer to me.
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Wednesday, October 3, 2007 10:12 AM
This guy's a wonk.

CF parks do the same single-operator for multiple kiddie ride setup he describes in certain areas of their parks, has the same ridiculous prices for bottled water and I'll spend $7 at Cold Stone Creamery all by my damn self at the mall.

He can cut-and-paste his series of complaints for practically any corporate theme park and make the same point.

But it is the first time I've heard the 'rideops aren't seating me fast enough' for kiddie rides. Ya learn something new every day...

-'Playa

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007 10:42 AM
Hes not talking about Cedar Fair though. He is talking about his experience at Six Flags vs his experience at Lake Canobie. And mostly from a parents pov.
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Wednesday, October 3, 2007 10:45 AM
Someone one said about SROS being closed. What is the status of this ride? I heard somewhere before that it is down for the season, but is that true or just a wild rumor?
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Wednesday, October 3, 2007 10:48 AM

CoastaPlaya said:
I'll spend $7 at Cold Stone Creamery all by my damn self at the mall.

I just read the article and was going to say the same thing myself. His complaints are what they are...whatever. But the Cold Stone example was one of the poorest to choose.

$20.50 for 6 scoops of ice cream? That's pretty close to what it is outside the park. I'd have expected it to be much higher inside the park.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007 11:00 AM
You fellers got this one all wrong! This guy hit the nail on the head...and I think he speaks for a lot more people than the enthusiast community cares to admit. His experience mirrors my experience at countless regional themers...and those of family and friends who no longer care to frequent such parks...whether Six flags or Cedar Fair.

He can cut-and-paste his series of complaints for practically any corporate theme park and make the same point.

And this is the problem...

Regional theme parks are simply not fun for a lot of people. The experience sucks. I could tolerate it when I was young and childless...when the next big coaster meant something to me...now I'm not willing to sit there an accept piss poor staffing as acceptible.

This guy speaks for a general public that enthusiasts fail to understand. This is the reason the parks are constantly struggling along with their stock prices. Find a way to please this guy...and their fortunes will turn around! There is an argument to be made that this guy cannot be pleased...while the park maintains reasonable profit margins. If this is true...the whole business model is doomed in today's economy!

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007 11:29 AM
I think the guy makes a lot of valid points, but his comments draw attention to the fact that not all Six Flags parks are equal. I’ve only been to SFNE once, but I got the impression that it was more of a thrill park catering to a teenage crowd than it was a family-oriented park. When I saw that he brought a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, I thought, “No wonder he didn’t have a good time.” SFNE is not Canobie, and it’s not Disney.

These are the types of people Six Flags needs to be winning over, but Shapiro can’t wave a magic wand and remake parks like SFNE that were built up under the Burke years. There are definitely parks where Shapiro’s touch is coming through, but I don’t know if SFNE is one of them. And maybe it doesn’t need to be, considering that Canobie Lake and Lake Compounce are the regional competition. When this guy’s kids are in their teens, I guarantee they’ll want to go to SFNE with their friends, because it just offers more thrills than those other parks.

But in the end, this guy wants the experience to match the price. Six Flags needs to be winning these guests over at all their parks if they want to stay on the right track.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007 12:13 PM
If you head to a Six Flags park with no idea what rides are there (nor any intention to ride most of them), how much it will cost, or what clothes you should wear it doesn't make the product bad -- it makes you a bad consumer who is willing to blindly purchase something. It would be like if you bought a Hummer, and then complained that the Hummer you bought doesn't have the same gas mileage as a hybrid while also stating it isn't as fast as a Ferrari, so you got ripped off.

If this person explained that he understood that the differences between Six Flags and Canobie (ride product being the big one), but he was disappointed aspects of the visit and then discussed those, that would be a much more fair assessment. That wasn't done.

Think about it -- If he gets free tickets for The Heartbreak Kid and takes his kids to it, and then buys popcorn and soda for them, does he have the right to complain that the movie wasn't appropriate for his kids and that the food cost too much (more than Six Flags last movie I was at)? Would this be a reason to state that movies are struggling at the box office because it didn't appeal to him?

NO. It means that someone who is doing a bad job of being a consumer is complaining that the world doesn't center around him. Bash corporate parks all that you want, but they obviously serve a section of consumers who do want to go there or they wouldn't exist.

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