Times are tough in Spain, with new austerity measures prompting everyone, including businesses, to tighten their belts and stretch their wallets. After the government slapped a 21% tax on theater tickets, one theater in a small town came up with quite a clever way to avoid shelling out extra cash — he sells carrots instead of tickets, and then “gives” performances away for “free.”
The theater director was worried no one would come to see shows with such a hefty price on tickets and unemployment becoming more common. Since he didn’t want to see the theater go dark, he hatched the carrot plan, reports NPR.
“We said, ‘This is the end of our theater, and many others.’ But then the next morning, I thought, we’ve got to do something, so that we don’t pay this 21 percent, and we pay something more fair,” he said.
Then a light went on in his brain — produce and other staples of life are only taxed 4%. Eureka!
He looked out his window at farmland that surrounds this village, two hours north of Barcelona, and suddenly had an idea: Instead of selling tickets to his shows, he’d sell carrots.
“We sell one carrot, which costs 13 euros [$16] -– very expensive for a carrot. But then we give away admission to our shows for free,” he explained. “So we end up paying 4 percent tax on the carrot, rather than 21 percent, which is the government’s new tax rate for theater tickets.”
Things like cars and clothing jumped in taxes from 18% to 21% in September, but the carrot tax could be keeping this theater going, as well ensure that culture will remain in the town during economically uncertain times. Residents are onboard with the plan, as a banner at the entrance to the village touts the carrot campaign with the slogan, “”For the Health of Culture.”
It’s not just the town’s residents who are supporting the program, either — the campaign has been dubbed the “Carrot Rebellion” and shows are sold out due to nationwide demand.
If authorities come after the business for tax evasion, which it could do, or make it illegal to sell carrots at theaters, the theater director says he might just switch to another form of produce.