It has happened to all of us: you sidle up to the ticket box at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, ask for an adult ticket, and the person behind the counter says, "That’ll be $25, please." Your broke-ass friend visiting from out of town and sleeping on your futon looks at you with panic. "I thought you said," the friend says ina low breath, "it was a recommendation donation." Well, the Met is a recommendation donation. You can give them a penny if you so chose. And failing to make that clear is why the Met is being sued.
The New York Times reports that two members of the Met are suing the museum for misleading the public about their "recommended" donations. The two members, Theodore Grunewald and Patricia Nicholson, financed a survey of 360 visitors to the Met. A whopping 85 percent of visitors surveyed did not realize the ticket price was optional and thought they were required to pay.
Part of Grunewald and Nicholson’s complaint is the ticket signage inside the Met: the signs do read a price of $25 for adults, but in smaller letters, it says "recommended."
A spokesperson for the Met dismissed the lawsuit to the Times as frivolous, presumably whilst wrinkling his moustache and declaring "Pish tosh!" But if this lawsuit makes the Met stop guilt tripping broke tourists into donations — go spend money in our shops, bars and restaurants, please! — then I’m all for it.
Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.