There are certain things in life that are recommended but not required. Tipping your waiter, sleeping eight hours a night, deodorizing your sweaty body in hot weather. And of course, the most culturally savvy recommendation of the bunch -- paying the full $25 admission fee to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
That is, until now.
Visitors to New York City's art haven can technically pay whatever they want to get into the storied collection, though The Met's chosen signage has made this caveat somewhat opaque. Until recently, signage at the museum's entrance put the "recommended" aspect of the $25 entrance fee in a notably teeny font, arguably misleading visitors.
A couple lawsuits and one Groupon debacle later, the notoriously confusing lingo surrounding The Met's recommended admission price has finally changed. Although, not all that much. The long contested "recommended" price is now only "suggested." So instead of feeling like you should absolutely, definitely pay the $25 without being a total miscreant, you'll now face a slightly softer, passive-aggressive whisper in your ear, nudging you ever so softly to pay.
Will the linguistic shift save you money on your next museum visit? Only time will tell.
Perhaps more meaningful than the death of the storied recommended price is the additional signage to be displayed around the museum entrance, explicitly stating: "The amount you pay is up to you." Now, like a subtle form of psychological torture, The Met cashiers will wait with bated, judgmental breath while you fumble in your wallet wondering how much you should be paying and what kind of subtle psychological warfare is underway.
Only, you shouldn't feel that guilty about not paying the full $25. A 1983 New York State law mandates the public should be admitted for free at least five days and two evenings per week. On top of that, the museum receives annual grants from the city without paying taxes or rent, and has a $2.5 billion investment portfolio. In fact, the sale of admission tickets only covers 11 percent of its operating costs.
So feel free to save some of that $25 for a post-museum snack.
News of this newfangled signage comes shortly after The Met revealed its new, rebranded logo, which was met with a less-than-lackluster public reaction. Hopefully the updated ticket signs will be met with a more enthusiastic response.