I just received an email in my inbox from Hale Centre Theatre. And, first, kudos to them for spelling theatre the correct way. Second, I've seen a show there. It was good. And it was Into the Woods so...double kudos for making Into the Woods good. I didn't actually want to leave at intermission or gouge out my eyes. I totally just cracked myself up there for a second because it was only after I'd written that sentence that I remembered that, in the show, the stepsisters are blinded by pigeons.
So, in my email was an advertisement. The title of the email was "Perfect stocking stuffers from HCT!" and, I'll admit, I was super intrigued. Stocking stuffers from a theatre? What are these stuffers and, yes please. I'll stuff my own stocking if I can fill it with theatre merchandise. I opened the email to find several images. On my screen they were all stuck together nicely but it doesn't work out so well here. Still, I think you can get the idea.
It begins with, "Stuff their stockings with year-round cheer," so, at this point, I was still pretty excited. What are they offering? Key chains? Shirts from past shows that they have a surplus of and are currently collecting dust in the dressing rooms? Signed programs?
"The perfect stocking stuffer. Gift certificates from Hale Centre Theatre are good for single show tickets and concessions at the theatre." Okay. Hold the curtain. Because I was under the impression that everyone got lip balm and lint rollers in their stockings. Side note: When Troy and I got married, I thought that duct tape and zip ties were great stocking stuffers. He thought that DVDs and CDs and books were great stocking stuffers. Needless to say, my stocking rocked that year and his, well, did not. It's because his family opens all their Christmas presents on Christmas Eve and the only thing left on Christmas morning is the stocking so it has to be kind of good. My family opens nearly all of ours on Christmas morning and the stocking is like an appetizer to the five-course meal that's still to come. We've met a stocking compromise that works well for all involved. STILL. Even that very first year when I opened music and books and he opened a bungee cord and chapstick, I did NOT open a gift card to see a show. What people are these that put shows in stockings? I tell you what. If I was getting theatre tickets for Christmas, they would be the very last thing I opened. The end all. The big shebang. And our Christmas budget is such that that would be all I got--except for the stocking which, quite certainly, would consist of a Sobe drink, a new toothbrush, and maybe a chocolate Santa.
I'm trying to imagine what kind of budget we would have to have for me to find show tickets in my stocking. What else would I get after that? Diamonds? A new car? The deed to a theatre on Broadway?
I'm glad there are some people who have the means to throw tickets into a glorified sock--I just can't believe that the good folks at the Hale Centre would think this is the norm.
So. No. The theatre isn't selling key chains or t-shirts or socks with show quotes (although that would be cool and I would so buy those). They're just selling gift cards and tickets, like they always do, and expecting rich people to remember that they haven't purchased their $75 stocking stuffers yet.