The Arrogance of the Rennie


I am getting really sick of the complaints by Rennies* when policies or events don’t go the way they want them to be. They throw fits like spoiled children, spread gossip based on misunderstanding or fallacy, and eventually make the same claim: “You’ll miss all the money I bring.” This threat of taking their ball elsewhere is the perfect example of the arrogance, ignorance, and lack of reality that besieges many Rennies. Their egocentrism and delusion has reached such a level that they can’t comprehend one thing: the loss of a single Rennie is negligible to the prospective gain (or loss) of regular visitors.

At the greatest, I’d expect maybe $3000 per season from an individual Rennie, which includes 19 days worth of food & drink, up to half an outfits worth of new garb or accessories, something from the craft vendors, and the pass itself. Most Rennies spend less… they bring/sneak their own food and drink, they already have full outfits and may only update a single garment or accessory a season, and most only buy minor crafts or a single larger purchase per year. Our entire family of four, at our greatest attendance rate, cost us about $3600 total ($100/day, $1300 in seasonal purchases, and the passes); excluding the toddler, that’s $1200/season per person.

A daily visitor, who only comes in once per season, not only purchases a full day’s worth of food and drink but also numerous crafts or souvenirs (as they won’t be back), expenditures on games, and often a piece or two of garb (hat, kilt, etc.). You could probably expect them to spend between $100-$500/visit. To understand this, the Maryland Renaissance Festival receives 15,000 visitors each day; even if these attendants were all tightwads that amounts to $1.5 million daily… or the equivalent of 500 Rennies at the greatest estimated expenditure per season.

In reality, I’d say that each Rennie’s seasonal expenditure is the equivalent of 10 daily visitors, so a loss of a single pass holder could easily be replaced by a dozen new visitors. Even then, that particular amount would account for a spec of dust in a drop of water in the ocean that is the MDRF income. Given that you’re lucky if you have a couple hundred Rennies at a large festival, if all of them up and quit that would be like losing 2000 visitors… which hurts but amounts to less than 1% of annual attendance for faires like Maryland.

In conclusion, I’m pretty sure any threats of “losing me as a customer!” are meaningless. If you hear a Rennie say something like that, tell them, “See ya!” and hopefully douse their ego and let them know their real place. They are just another patron, no matter how much they think they’re the center of their fantasy world.

*(For those that don’t know, a “Rennie” is a regular patron of a Renaissance Festival who often attends most of the season in costume or “garb”. Like many fandoms, they throw themselves whole-heartedly into their pursuit. Most have multiple outfits, know performers by their real names, know every song or act, and are as familiar with the festival and its inner-workings as any staff member. Sadly, many become full of themselves, considering them just as important and authoritative as paid employees, despite having neither importance nor authority.)