Apparently, the legendary Phipps Plaza Santa Claus is borrowing a business practice from Ticketmaster this holiday season.
The Buckhead mall’s popular head elf will be charging parents a $15 service fee when his advance online reservations begin on Oct. 7 at 12:01 AM at phippsatsanta.com.
Explains Santa’s surly spokeselves at santaatphipps.com: “In 2008, we experienced almost 500 ‘No-Shows and/or Multiple-Bookings’ (families who booked more than one appointment but only showed up for one without canceling the second). In an effort to eliminate this and make sure as many families get to visit with Santa each season as possible, we will be charging a $15 appointment fee at the time you book your appointment online.”
Of the advance fee, $10 will be applied to your picture package and/or DVD purchase. The other $5 bill “will cover website services, the appointment system and credit card fees,” according to the Website.
Santa makes his grand entrance at Phipps Plaza on Nov. 7.
Santa aficionados are encouraged to make reservations early. The photo ops on St. Nick’s knee routinely sell out far in advance. Some frazzled parents also will no doubt recall that the Phipps Santa’s popularity has caused the mall’s website to crash in past years as a surge of reservation requests overloaded the North Pole’s computer systems.
In other words, Merry Christmas.
So parents, what’s your take on Santa’s service charge? Is it an extra unnecessary expense in a recessionary holiday season? Or should parents have been more responsible last year and not wasted St. Nick’s precious time?