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The Price of Hashing

Wow . . . 14 continuous days without hashing. For me, that’s a record. But hey, I saved $22, which is what I would have spent on hash fees had I gone to every possible local hash during that time.

We pay $5 per person to hash here in Tucson, Arizona. The fee, which covers the beer and snacks consumed by the pack, goes up to $6 for special events where anything more substantial than chips and pretzels are provided after the circle. These fees are typical for American hashes. Some U.S. clubs provide premium or microbrew beer and consequently charge more; some buy the cheapest piss they can find and charge a buck or two less. Five bucks a hash is probably close to the international average, too, based on my experience hashing in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

But I wanted to blog about interhash event pricing this morning, since I recently attended two such events – the Las Vegas HHH’s Anniversary Weekend in April, and in May, the USA Nash Hash in Tombstone, Arizona.

The event in Las Vegas cost us $75 each, not counting lodging for visiting hashers. Included in the fee was a hashpitality suite at the hash hotel, all the Pabst Blue Ribbon beer you could drink from the hotel bar, a goodie bag, breakfast munchies Saturday and Sunday morning, and three hashes, each with beer and food afterward. Not a bad deal for the money.

USA Nash Hash was more expensive . . . about $150 apiece not counting a camp site or motel room (since there’s no hash in Tombstone, everyone was a visiting hasher) . . . but the price included four hashes, transportation from the campground to the different hash venues, plentiful food, keg beer in various colors and strengths, and a substantial goodie bag. Once again, a great deal for the money.

What interested me, though, were the different pricing approaches taken by the organizers of the two events. The Las Vegas Anniversary Weekend was firmly in the hands of pricing fundamentalists: everyone, even local hashers who could only get away from work or family commitments long enough to attend one of the three hashes, was expected to pay the full $75 fee. USA Nash Hash organizers took a more lenient approach: out of state hashers paid the full fee; in state hashers paid a reduced fee; and local hashers who couldn’t stay for the entire weekend were allowed to pay on an a la carte basis, $10-$15 per hash, with no goodie bag.

Since I planned to spend the whole weekend hashing in Las Vegas, I was happy to pay the full registration fee. With USA Nash Hash, though, I knew Pick’n’Flick and I would only be able to drive down for the Saturday morning hash, so we were delighted when the organizers announced per-trail prices.

Both hash weekends were successful, and both were fun. I’m glad I went. But I have to admit I was disappointed so many Las Vegas hashers didn’t show up for the anniversary weekend; after all, I went there to see old friends. From the defensive attitudes of the organizers, it was obvious there’d been a falling out in the Las Vegas HHH over the pay-the-full-fee-or-stay-home pricing decision. I suspect some local hashers stayed away to make a point; I suspect others simply couldn’t afford to pay $75 for what amounted to three hashes and a T-shirt. USA Nash Hash organizers wanted to pump up attendance with local and in-state hashers, and they achieved that goal by offering reduced weekend fees and per-run prices. There was only one problem with their plan: at some point word of the special prices being offered to Arizona hashers leaked out and created some resentment among out-of-state visitors. Oops.

So. The downside to the Las Vegas pricing model is less than full support from local hashers. The downside to the Tombstone model is the perception on the part of out-of-state visitors that they’re being gouged in order to support freeloading locals.

I’ve organized a few small-i interhashes, but have never been involved in putting on a national or international event. Still, I’d be willing to bet that this issue comes up all the time. I’ve been to two world interhashes, one in New Zealand and one in Australia. The rego fees for each were in the $200 range. Did the organizers of those events offer reduced or per-event prices to local hashers? I don’t know, but I’m certain local hashers asked them to.

Really, I’ve got no business second-guessing interhash organizers’ pricing decisions. They’re the ones doing all the work. If you want to play you have to pay, and they’re the ones who get to say how much you pay. I know, though, that if I ever organize another interhash event, I’ll follow the Tombstone model, and, if any organizers are reading this, I hope you do, too. Just keep it quiet, okay?

I’ll just finish with this:

  • Chiangmai InterHash rego: $200
  • Airfare from Los Angeles: $1400
  • Lodging: $400
  • Incidental expenses: $500
  • Being there: priceless

 - Flying Booger

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