Don't Go Out on Valentine's Day

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

War Stories

The Right Target

Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.

The One National Holiday Republicans Hope You Forget

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.

Doublex

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

Use Facebook to Reconnect With Old Friends, Share Photos, and Serve People With Legal Papers

  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 23 2014 6:40 PM Coalition of the Presentable Don’t believe the official version. Meet America’s real allies in the fight against ISIS.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Lead Security Engineer Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Outward
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 8:38 PM “No One in This World” Is One of Kutiman’s Best, Most Impressive Songs
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 5:36 PM This Climate Change Poem Moved World Leaders to Tears Today
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 23 2014 4:33 PM Who Deserves Those 4 Inches of Airplane Seat Space? An investigation into the economics of reclining.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 23 2014 7:27 PM You’re Fired, Roger Goodell If the commissioner gets the ax, the NFL would still need a better justice system. What would that look like?