Market forces, I never realised just how powerful they are. Allow me to explain.
You fancy watching a film, so you go to your nearest cinema. Since Kirkcaldy doesn’t have one, you go to Dunfermline, which is not the most accessible.
If you’re lucky enough to own a car it can make things easier, but if like many people; you don’t, then you’re relying on buses – it takes two from Kirkcaldy town centre. And you’d need a leave a good while before the film starts and then face the prospect of getting home at about midnight.
Worse still, you now find out that after doing this for the last few years, that the cinema operator Odeon is happily charging you more than it does customers in the more affluent Edinburgh city centre and Dundee branches. Same film, same time, same company, but YOU pay more than the others.
The consensus seems to me that Odeon can charge what they like since there’s no other major provider in Fife. Which brings me to the point; market forces.
Step back in time a few years to when Kirkcaldy last had a cinema. In late 2000, staff at the ABC Cinema on the High Street were told by owners Odeon that it would soon close.
The whispers were that Dunfermline’s shiny new Odeon wasn’t getting the number of customers they’d hoped, hence the feeling was that the closure might have been a bid to get footfall up.
In the final month the frustrated ABC staff were given a poster by the company, to be put outside encouraging Kirkcaldy customers to catch two buses to go to the Dunfermline Odeon. The fact that the poster spelled Kirkcaldy wrong just rubbed salt into the wound.
Back in the present, Dunfermline Odeon is your nearest multiplex. The prices are high, but you never really noticed until now because you have nothing else to compare them to.
So what can we do about this? Well, there are two things we can do.
Firstly you can sign the Fife Free Press’ petition to urge a cinema provider to come to Kirkcaldy’s proposed site at the old swimming pool on the esplanade.
Yes, that option may well take a while to get in motion, so here’s the second thing you can do in the meantime.
Next time you fancy a trip to the cinema, check the prices between the Odeon in Dunfermline and Lothian Road in Edinburgh.
It might be quicker and cheaper to get a cheap day return train ticket (£8.30) and just go to Edinburgh than a bus ticket to Dunfermline (£10.70 return).
And while you’re crossing the Forth, compare the Lothian Road Odeon prices against two other city centre cinemas which are also within walking distance of the stations.
You may find, as we did during research for last week’s story, that the other cinemas’ prices are even cheaper.
Knowing that, you’ll be able to get the best value for money and decide for yourself if a trip to the Odeon provides that or not.
And if not, any cinema that doesn’t get your custom can only really blame market forces.