Ok, now what?

SCA Inc. charges a $3 tax per event for people who attend but are not members of the corporation. I find this offensive because SCA Inc. does not bear the cost of putting on events; the local groups do. (So it's not like the higher admission fee you pay a museum if you don't belong.) There are some small benefits that the corporation provides to the hosting group, such as access to insurance, but the last time I ran the numbers this amounted to about $2/person/year. So, the tax is somewhere between price gouging (if you believe they have the right to assess a fee) and thuggery (if you don't).

I don't go to a lot of events these days; my local group doesn't hold very many and I don't travel for them. And I don't really want to be on the membership rolls of this corporation, so thus far I have been paying the fee. The presence of the fee does influence my decision to attend an event; if I'm waffling that can push me. (There is an "out" that is available to local groups, so charging the fee represents a decision on the part of the hosting group. A surprising number of local-group officers feel it is their moral obligation to charge this fee. To each his own. (I am speaking generally here, not about one group.) It's not the $3; it's the principle.

The corporation announced today that this fee will be rising to $5 per event.

My goal is to minimize the money the corporation gets from me while enjoying marginal participation in events. (This is not identical to maximizing money in my pocket because of the Pennsic non-member tax. Some of that money -- I've sent email asking how much -- goes to Pennsic, not to the corporation. I am willing to pay a higher price to Pennsic.) An associate membership costs $20, so now I have to figure out how many fee-charging events I am likely to go to in a year. Working against this analysis is the temptation to just say "screw it" except for Pennsic and free local events. I've been drifting away from the SCA (Pennsic is different; that's family vacation), and I wonder how much I care any more.

No decisions, just thoughts.


Additions from comments:

Sadly, the corporation has a long track record of poor-to-reckless financial planning. This is part of why I don't want to give them money; they have not been good custodians of membership dollars in the past. (They also never, so far as I know, corrected the illegal bylaws change that allowed them to assess this fee in the first place. But I haven't been reading recent BoD minutes/reports, not since they stopped publishing summaries online.)

A big factor in my participation over the last decade has nothing do with either the society or the corporation: Shabbat. (Well, two things -- also kashrut. It's a lot of trouble to bring my own food and keep it both safe and appealing for the day, so if the feast doesn't work for me that's a big point against.) Shabbat has two effects: first, going to any non-local event, and the occasional local event, costs me morning services (at least), and second, Shabbat restricts some activities that I would otherwise do at events, such as shopping or cooking. (And yes, I am waving my hands wildly around the issue of how I get to the event. I don't go to events (that I can't walk to) that Dani isn't also going to. If he's going to go I'll go along; no one has gone out of his way for me. This is the compromise we've reached for social activities on Shabbat, whether events, family visits, or gaming.)