Bus Stop Dave

davidayersHere’s a little story. A boy goes into a sweet shop and says to the shopkeeper, “A bag of dolly mixture please.” The shopkeeper replies, “Ten pence please, young man.” A week later the boy returns to the shop. “A bag of dolly mixture please.” “Twenty five pence please, young man.” “But that’s more than double last week’s price.” “Holiday season, son, holiday season.”

Ridiculous, isn’t it? And it would be just as ridiculous if it was the cost of a service for your car or a sofa for your lounge. A good or a service should have one price and not a price that varies according to demand during the year. If only this were true of holidays and charter flights!

In August you can pay more than double for the same holiday in September. A Thomas Cook holiday to Mallorca costs 78% more in August than in September.

In a recent poll 33% of parents said they would definitely take their child on holiday in term time to avoid huge price rises. Only 30% said definitely not. The fine is £60 per child, rising to £120 if not paid within twenty-one days but a family of four can save about £626 on an all-inclusive break in the first week in September rather than the last week in August! Who is the villain of this piece? I’m not confident that it’s the parents.

Tour operators rabbit on about ‘supply and demand’. This is apparently something which, in their industry, can fluctuate like the English weather. How a family on a normal budget can plan a holiday under these circumstances is beyond me. The only thing parents can do, it seems, is to book ahead – preferably while they themselves are still at junior school.

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