For a low-key and laid back out night with friends, many people turn to bowling alleys as a place to have a good time and engage in some leisurely competitive action that doesn't break the bank. You get to engage in a hands-on group activity, maybe throw back some drinks and watch bizarre animations that highlight how terrible, or great, you are at aiming a heavy ball at some pins.
But as a TikToker named Syd (@poorandhungry) learned, not all bowling alleys are priced the same. At least not when you're trying to reserve a lane as she was astounded at the quote she received when she phoned up a local spot she's frequented before to see what holding a spot for her and a friend would cost.
In a viral clip that's accumulated a whopping 1.2 million views, Syd went on a rant about the surge in bowling alley prices, and couldn't believe the price inflation going on at the business when a customer wanted to book a lane ahead of time, stating that the upcharge was around 10 times the amount when compared to just walking in and seeing if a lane was open.
Syd begins her video flustered and in shock: "Bowling alleys have lost their mind. I just called my local bowling alley which I frequented many times, to reserve a lane for a Friday or Saturday night pending availability."
"They said absolutely that will be $240. I said, um, I've been there before, I don't remember it ever costing anywhere near that. She goes yeah well I mean if you want you can just show up and maybe we'll have a lane or you'll have to like, maybe you'll have to wait...and then that will be cheaper. That will be our normal pricing."
"Or for the convenient price of 10 times that you can just pay for it and book it now. Mind you it's just a bowling alley. The service is like a 3 out of 10, cause they have little people that go to the lanes. 3 out of 10. The food stinks. The drinks are...they stink I mean, and you're just bowling for $240."
"Like on what, who, no! So yeah, sorry babe we're not going bowling this you're seeing this we're not going bowling."
Viewers who saw her post had a slew of different reactions. One person quipped, "Who owns them? Ticketmaster?"
Another person's comment seemed to suggest that they, too, have noticed a spike in bowling alley prices themselves, and they thought that this new trend would surely see an end to alleys in the future: "bowling alleys want to go out of business so bad"
There was another person who came up with a service package that they thought would justify the $240 cost: "For $240, that should get me unlimited bowling, shoes, drinks and food for at least 4 hours"
There were a lot of folks who wanted the TikToker to name the bowling alley, and while she said that she wouldn't name the place because she frequents it quite regularly, there were still those who had their ideas as to which place it was: "that sounds like a Bowlero bowling center"
Someone else said that she could've paid cash for a substitution instead hat would've provided a lifetime of bowling simulations: "you can buy a Wii and 2 controllers and Wii Bowl for life for that price."
It seems that Syd isn't the only person online who's complained about the spike in the cost of going bowling, however. One Redditor posed the same question on the site/s r/bowling sub when they bluntly asked just when in the heck did the pastime get so costly.
In fact, the lane reservation price they complained about in the post, which, as of this writing, was uploaded around 11 months ago, was similar to what Syd said she was quoted in her TikTok.
The Redditor wrote: "Bowling used to cost $7/game and then $5 or so for shoes. Now it's $25+/game and $10+ for shoes. The local AMF lanes wanted $200 for 2.5 hours of bowling for two people. Did the demographics for bowling change or has hyperinflation been localized just to bowling?"
However there were some folks who responded to the Redditor that they were still hitting up alleys that charged much cheaper prices: "Where are you bowling that it’s $25 a game?? It’s $4.25 a game here or $26 an hour per lane roughly."
Other people said that reading about the costs some alleys were quoting customers made them more appreciative of their local lanes. So maybe there are some old-school businesses that charge old school prices, you just have to find them.
What do you think? Have you been shocked at the cost of some bowling alleys? Or have you found lanes rocking prices you find to be fair?