Don't Go Out on Valentine's Day

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Feb. 14 2013 12:09 PM

Why You Should Never Go Out to a Nice Restaurant on Valentine's Day

Fancy restaurant on Valentine's Day.
Fancy restaurant on Valentine's Day

Photo by Michele Piacquadio/Hemera/Thinkstock

This is a pretty obvious, basic economics point, but elementary supply and demand says you should never ever ever go out to dinner someplace nice with your partner on Valentine's Day. The fancy Valentine's Day dinner is a double-whammy. On one hand, demand for such meals surges, which raises prices. Yet sometimes paying peak-demand prices is just what you have to do. There's a reason everyone wants that Caribbean beach vacation in the wintertime. The true problem with the Valentine's Day dinner is that quality is likely to take a dive.

Any restaurant knows it's likely going to be flooded with customers who are extremely unlikely to be repeat business one way or the other. That could be folks who just don't have the financial resources to eat at comparable establishments frequently, or it could be couples with kids and little time to dine out. Either way, it's a special occasion. Which means it doesn't much matter how much your customers like the food. They'll enjoy the rare upscale night out anyway, after all, but probably won't become regulars no matter how much they like it. Meanwhile, they're not going to have a good sense of what the competition churns out on a regular night so won't have a genuine basis for evaluation anyway. You'll likely get a prix fixe dinner composed of the highest-margin possible items at slightly inflated prices, plus a below-average evening in terms of attentiveness to the cooking and the service.

Advertisement

Which isn't to say you shouldn't do something. But do something casual and fun (my wife and I will be getting some Chinese food) and do the fancy dinner some other time.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The End of Pregnancy

And the inevitable rise of the artificial womb.

Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in New York City

How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Took Control of the Entire Porn Industry

The Hot New Strategy for Desperate Democrats

Blame China for everything.

The Questions That Michael Brown’s Autopsies Can’t Answer

Foreigners

Kiev Used to Be an Easygoing Place

Now it’s descending into madness.

Technology

Don’t Just Sit There

How to be more productive during your commute.

There Has Never Been a Comic Book Character Like John Constantine

Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?

  News & Politics
The Slate Quiz
Oct. 24 2014 12:10 AM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM Amazon Investors Suddenly Bearish on Losing Money
  Life
Outward
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM Why Is an Obscure 1968 Documentary in the Opening Credits of Transparent?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 6:55 PM A Goodfellas Actor Sued The Simpsons for Stealing His Likeness. Does He Have a Case?
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:47 PM Don’t Just Sit There How to be more productive during your commute.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 23 2014 5:42 PM Seriously, Evolution: WTF? Why I love the most awkward, absurd, hacked-together species.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.