“4/6/24 Kitchen Table Kibitzing: Hotels Significantly Increase Prices for Solar Eclipse, Celestial Event Leads to Price Gouging”

I’ve seen a few solar eclipses in my time, and I’m planning to watch the upcoming one as well. However, I won’t be shelling out $7600 for a compulsory two-night stay at the Ritz Carlton in Dallas to do so.

According to Ben Blatt of the New York Times, hotels are exploiting customers’ desire to witness the eclipse to an unprecedented degree. The Super 8 hotel chain, usually an affordable choice for travelers, has around 300 locations within the path of the eclipse, and 100 of these are already fully booked for the event. Shockingly, about 45% of Super 8s within 25 miles of the eclipse’s center path are charging at least double their usual rate. Even more outrageous is the Ritz-Carlton in Dallas, which is currently charging $7,600 for a two-night stay during the eclipse, compared to $1,329 one week later.

This practice is euphemistically referred to as “dynamic pricing”, which is essentially price gouging. And don’t expect a refund if the weather turns out to be cloudy. Some hotels have even cancelled existing reservations due to alleged “overbooking”, only to re-charge customers at up to a 500% markup.

While I appreciate astronomical phenomena, I question whether a solar eclipse really justifies such exorbitant prices. It’s not a supernova or a quasar, and you’re not even supposed to look directly at it. Yet, it’s being touted as an incredible bonding experience for Americans.

I’m skeptical about this so-called bonding experience, and I find it hard to believe that people are willing to pay $1000 for a stay at a Super-8 roadside hotel without even a continental breakfast included. I’m also not a fan of the “bucket list” mentality that seems to be driving this frenzy.

According to NASA, there are at least 2 solar eclipses per year somewhere on Earth, and total solar eclipses occur about once every year or two. So while witnessing one depends on your location, it’s not exactly a once-in-a-lifetime event.

I find it hard to believe that in other countries, locals would be charged the equivalent of $7600 for a two-day hotel stay to witness an eclipse. It seems to me that this is just another way for hotel chains and their wealthy directors to profit at the expense of ordinary people.

In conclusion, while I hope everyone enjoys the eclipse, I’ll be spending my evening celebrating the Phillies finally reaching .500, with a pre-eclipse dinner.

Source: dailykos.com

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