Yesterday the Yankees won for the 10th time in 12 games. It's an impressive run, and many Yankee fans are excited that they are almost caught up to the Red Sox. But once again the customer experience at Yankee Stadium let me down, and I'm not sure I want to return until the stadium staff changes its policies.As I have mentioned in a previous blog post, the Yankees organization has put silly policies in place that cut off its nose to spite its face. My latest example: Yankee stadium has a policy that says no laptops or backpacks are allowed in the stadium. On paper, that seems like an somewhat sensible rule, until you think about it.
What two customer groups are the Yankees actively courting? Businesspeople and tourists. And what do they have? Laptops and backpacks. In addition, Metro North just opened a train station and the Yankees encourage fans to use mass transit. So most people will have some sort of bag with them, and nowhere to put it.
Had the Yankees thought through the policy, it wouldn't be such a bad experience. When building the billion-dollar stadium, someone should have created an area (even outside the actual building) for people to lock up their bags to comply with the policy. Not so. Now, the only option the staff give you when they turn you away is to go to a sketchy bowling alley around the corner and test your luck with the lockers there.
Are you kidding me? Lockers in a bowling alley? People are paying hundreds of dollars to see a game, and you're going to tell them to store their stuff in a bowling alley? Not cool.
But even worse, the Yankees have no policy for "handbags." So if a woman has a bag that she claims is her purse -- no matter how big it is -- the staff will let her take it in. And some of the purses these days can fit multiple laptops and are much larger than backpacks.
So if the Yankees are citing "security" concerns, then it's ridiculous, because any contraband or hazardous materials can easily be brought in through one of these bags. And it's flat-out discrimination. Men can't bring in bags, but women can.
I heard from a few people that the organization is "reviewing its policies" in relation to the handbag situation, but won't budge on the laptops/backpack deal. To me, it's ridiculous. Obviously no one thought about the customer's point of view.
The whole vibe I get at Yankees stadium is that "it's a privilege for you to be there." They sell enough tickets that if someone gets upset about a rule or dumb policy, there are plenty of other people still willing to pay to see the game. I think Yankee fans are selling themselves short. Steinbrenner family or not, they deserve to feel respect from the organization that they show so much love (and money) for. Nothing will change unless the fans stand up and be heard.
Lets go Mets!