I’m a procrastinator by nature. I like to say I can’t help it, and then cite the results of my Meyers-Briggs personality test to back it up (ISTP). For those of you who are curious, here’s the definition of the P part of the ISTP-type… note that I was way (way) over on the P-side of the scale. The procrastination thing actually correlates quite nicely with my whole “lives in the moment” nature. Now, theoretically, one could just say I’m lazy, but I don’t think I am…I usually just get so wrapped up in whatever I’m doing at the moment that I am generally not thinking about what may or may not be happening at some point in the future (I guess you can ask my former bosses if they think I’m actually lazy). I am also somewhat self-aware in that I know this about myself, so I generally don’t make plans to far out in advance or tightly schedule my activities because something always comes up. However, occasionally I act, voluntarily or involuntarily, against my general nature, and that has the tendency to backfire on me some… ok, most of the time. And generally, in order to rectify whatever it was that backfired, I have to pay some additional charge (or pay in my time by missing something/having to wait longer than would normally be necessary)… I call this the stupid tax.
Stupid tax case in point #1: Ryanair. Ryanair is a budget airline out of England? that flies all over Europe. Their fares are very, very cheap. In order to keep the face value of their fares so low, Ryanair has become truly masterful in the art of additional charges…checked bag fees by weight and size (with different pricing tiers), having to click through a dozen potential add-on charges (who knew they sold luggage?) before one can check in online, having to pay for any food/drinks on the flight…etc. Now first let me say that I get it. There’s no other way to have such low fares and make money as a company, and if one manages to abide by all the rules he can fly around Europe for peanuts. Companies like Ryanair are perfectly set up to take advantage of the inherent nature of people with personality types such as mine. My favorite Ryanair additional charge, and the one where I had to pay my stupid tax, is their policy that one must have a printed boarding pass prior to check-in. Now for those of you that fly primarily in the US you’re likely thinking this is no big deal…just get to the airport and print your boarding pass as you check-in from one of those very helpful self-service kiosks. No problem right? Sadly, no, there are none of those wonderful kiosks in either London Standstead or Ibiza (I’m not sure if this is universal in Europe, just confined to the airports that primarily serve budget airlines or just bad luck on my part). Well you say, if you can’t check in at the airport and get your boarding pass there, just check in online and print it out at home before you go? Exactly…but here’s where Ryanair gets smart/sneaky… you can only check in online and print a boarding pass prior to four hours before the flight departure time. The even sneakier thing, and this is where Ryanair got me (facepalm), is that even if you check in online at the appropriate time, you still can’t print your boarding pass after the four hours to departure time deadline has elapsed. I checked in online the night before my flight expecting to be able to go to the internet cafe down the street in the morning and print my boarding pass. I got up, did my usual morning routine, then strolled down to the internet cafe only to arrive at the print your boarding pass page on the Ryanair website approximately three hours and fifty-five minutes prior to my departure time. D’oh…there’s my impeccable timing again…just working for the downside in this instance. The total stupid tax charge for the day: 60 euros ($80), plus some back and forth between counters located at different ends of the terminal for the necessary paperwork (I would laugh and say typical European bureaucracy at work, but try getting a building permit from the City of San Francisco).
Stupid tax case in point #2: Space Tickets (ha, that sounds way cooler than what it actually is). Space is one of the large nightclubs in Ibiza. The club had their season opening party on a Sunday night…starting at 4:30 PM Sunday evening and going straight through dawn (closing was 8:00 AM on Monday morning). The opening parties are big, big events, and the Space opening party was billed as one of the biggest. Not unexpectedly, ticket prices to the opening parties can be quite pricey. In this case, Space opening party tickets came in a couple of flavors:
– 60 Euros. Entrance must be before 8 PM. One drink complementary.
– 65 Euros. Entrance must be before Midnight.
– 55 Euros. Entrance must be after 3 AM.
I had already had purchased a combination ticket for both days of the Ushuaia (another club) opening party (Saturday from 3:30 PM to 6:00 AM Sunday morning and Sunday from 3:30 PM to 6:00 AM Monday morning). The Saturday party their was absolutely amazing, and I definitely wanted to see the headliners playing at Ushuaia on Sunday (Fat Boy Slim preceded by Groove Armada). Based on the previous night, the opening act would come on around 6:30 PM, Groove Armada would take over around 7:45ish, and Fat Boy Slim would come on around 9:30 and play until at least 1 AM. I was in a bit of a quandary as I wanted to see the folks at Uishuaia, but the main DJs at Space would be playing from 11 PM to 3 AM, and the Space party was the big event going on that night (i.e. way more people were going to be there). So lovely readers…what did I do (besides make the wrong decision of course)? I went with ticket option three, $55 Euros for entrance after 3 AM. I figured I’d go to Ushuaia, see the headliners, get a bite to eat and have a couple of drinks with some general relaxing to gear up to over to Space (Ushuaia and Space are right across the street from each other so no real logistics to work out transportation wise). Boom, decision made and I’m off to Ushuiaia to get there by 6 PM. Here’s where the general nature of my personality gets in the way… I have an absolutely amazing time at Ushuaia, the DJs rock the place and I end up falling in with a really good group of German folks (we all met each other at this party). The problem is that when the show ends, we all want to keep partying together but none of these folks has gotten a ticket to Space (nor do they really want to go due to the different music). My general rule is to never break up an amazing time (bird in hand), so we all find another (free) place to keep going and head there for a couple of more hours. Of course, I never did make it to Space, but the night was spectacular. 55 euro stupid tax for over-scheduling myself… you’d think I know better by now?