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The Private Sector: Letters to the business editor, 5/7/02

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pirates games dear

In response to your recent Personal Business page poll about the Pirates, while many people suggest several factors for the decline in Pirates attendance, it boils down to a few simple reasons.

Going to a game is too expensive for the average Pittsburgher. Consessions are ridiculously high. Parking is too expensive. It's that simple. Comparisons to the costs of other ballparks are moot; this is Pittsburgh and people here, especially the true fans of baseball, don't have a lot of money and they like to spend wisely. Comparisons to the Steelers are also unfair -- the Steelers play a short schedule with a limited number of games and draw their fans from hundreds of miles away.

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The general opinion seems to be that you should expect to pay this much, and if you don't, you're a cheapskate yinzer with unrealistic expectations. But Pittsburghers know better, and they are not going to the taxpayer funded "Jewel of the North Shore." Not because they don't like baseball -- they love it. Not because they don't like the Pirates -- they never miss a game on the radio. They don't go because they can't afford it. Plain and simple.

If the Pirates cared about the true fans, they could make a few simple changes to fill up the seats. Full seats mean more people spend. Profit will come from volume -- not nickel-and-diming the fans!

1.) Make all the $9 through $18 seats a flat $10. And tell people about it. A good PR move would be to say that "the Bucs are giving baseball back to the people."

2.) Stop the ticket office shenanigans. Getting bumped up to a higher cost section, then seeing rows of empty seats in the section you wanted is not good business!

3.) Reduce concessions across the board. You can't make money on things that you don't sell. A person would buy more beers at $3.50 each than at $5.25. The same with the hot dogs and nachos and even peanuts! The fancy places like Primanti's, Quaker Steak, etc. can still charge what they want, but all the Pirates operated concessions should be dirt cheap!

If the Bucs did this, the park would fill up overnight. Because in the end, it's just baseball, and a ballgame with your kids shouldn't cost you three days pay.


Jobs moved overseas

Well, I guess it really was about the money.

I don't supposed anybody really believed that a dearth of IT talent in the USA was the reason so many IT jobs have flown overseas.

All this time the U.S. companies have been mouthing the same line about not being able to find talent comparable to that found overseas. Bull. They have taken the line that "It is easier to buy expertise than it is to grow it."

Let me see if I have this right: You can "buy" (and I use that term in its most pejorative connotation) 14 software developers for the price of one U.S. worker. Assuming the U.S. worker is making approximately $55,000, that works out to $3,929 per year or $10.75 per day. And I haven't even factored in the benefits of the U.S. worker. If it happens that I have overstated the annual salary of the U.S. worker, then the Indian worker is really making peanuts.

The other American (?) companies mentioned in a news article have been working this scam for quite a while, and will continue to do so.

I think the supreme irony would be that all the laid-off employees can now make serious inroads into the ranks of convenience store managers.

That'll show 'em!


Highmark and patients

As an employee in the health care industry and children's advocate, John Paul is right -- our community should be outraged at the unethical stance of Highmark and its unwillingness to meet patient needs and many times even approve services, especially for disabled children often denied when thorough testing was needed, while they still continue to raise premiums.

Customers need to look at their options and realize we all have choices in the medical coverages we choose for our families. There are countless stories. The community needs to listen and react before they need help and need a doctor for themselves or a loved one. After Sept. 11, our community needs to unite and meet the needs of patients as John Paul has attempted to do at UPMC with quality care and concern rather than simply being in the business to make a buck regardless of care provided.

Elizabeth Township

Convention center unprepared

I cannot believe the David L. Lawrence Convention Center is having shows when the site is not ready to accommodate the public. Nor does the center have its act together.

I went to the "Computer Super Sale" that was just held. My 2-year-old and I were there when the doors were opened. The treatment we received from the vendors was twice as nice as the staff's. I felt the convention center staff was uninformed and not very professional, giving incorrect information with attitudes of "Don't be bothering me with your questions."

I came there to see this Super Computer show. What I found was a "super disappointment." The exhibit hall where the show was being held was only half full. To my surprise, I find a "Golf Show" in the same area with the computer show. With what seemed to me a half empty exhibit hall.

So far no "Super Computer Show." After finding what I came to purchase, a monitor, I needed to leave and get my daughter home. Yet I also needed to get my new 21-inch monitor to my truck.

A new challenge had faced me. After negotiating parking and traffic, I now need to find out how to get this monster box and 2-year-old home. After asking several convention staff members for a "Customer Pickup" area, ha, no such animal or place. "Oh, not complete," from one source; I was told so many things from too many people. Yet I could not drive up in the Tenth Street area to pick up -- construction, construction workers and traffic. One source told me to go to the Ninth Street side. The staff must be laughing still. There is no Ninth Street side, only an alleyway between Ninth and Tenth streets.

The vendor, where I purchased the monitor, and I exchanged cell numbers and did our own discovery. We found access to doors, ramps and rooms to finally find an access way to place my newly purchased monitor in the back of my truck. A 21-inch monitor has a really big box, which could not be carried over 10 blocks away with a child. The access way was in that alleyway between the Ninth and Tenth streets. Construction equipment, signs and propped open doors were found in this alleyway. Access to the entire convention center, wide open for the world. Please do not let me get started on security; there was none. We could have pushed more than that 21-inch box into the back of my truck!

I could not believe the staff is so uninformed and unprepared, as I had found. Not to mention not being able accommodate the public for having such shows where equipment cannot just be carried out, yet needs to be picked up.

I may be the only person to speak out, but believe me, there were countless of unhappy patrons as well as vendors.

East Pittsburgh

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