Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Six Flags Eagerly Anticipates Another Year of Losing Money

The turnstiles are spinning, the gates have opened and patrons from around the world are visiting one of over forty Six Flags theme parks near them. But this year, there is a strange excitement flowing through the halls of the corporate office in Oklahoma City; it is the anticipation of another record-breaking year. However, this corporation celebrates a unique economic principle --- they are a loss leader.

"We didn't just come to this position without some hard work and determination," said Gary Story, president and COO of Six Flags. "We strove to ensure that for another year in a row our debt has been pushed back, our overall losses grew and prospects look dim for almost every park."

General Managers around the country have gotten ready for what looks to be another disappointing season in sales. Del Holland of Six Flags Magic Mountain commented, "Well, instead of adding an attraction that would attract families, we wanted something almost identical to what we already had 15 of --- a roller coaster."

When asked by ARN&R why SFMM had not looked at a "flat ride" or "dark ride," such as the successful Scooby Doo attraction drawing guests at sister parks, Holland said, "What's a flat ride? That doesn't sound Xtreme!" He continued, "We know that sending riders upside down seven times will be like nothing they have ever done before. Unless, of course, they have ridden Viper . . . or X."

Some of the competition is surprised at Six Flags's approach to corporate management. "Frankly, we can't see where they get all this money," said Dick Kinzel, President & CEO of Cedar Fair. "They lose capital every year, yet the banks seem willing to supply them with an endless supply of cash." When asked if he had considered deficit spending Kinzel said, "Well, we would have liked to have gotten our new 25 million-dollar coaster for free, but somehow that just didn't seem possible. I guess our investors are just different from Six Flags's in that they demand a profit each year and that we pay off our long-term debt, or at least that we have some semblance of a plan, however half-baked, to be profitable. They're real sticklers like that."

Six Flags Chairman and CEO Kieran E. Burke told ARN&R about some of the exciting things the chain had up its sleeves for the coming season. "We have added special machines that create storm clouds above our parks," he said. "So, while it is sunny at Cedar Point, it will be hailing over Worlds of Adventure and if the sun shines over Disneyland you can be sure it will be raining above Magic Mountain. It is just shows that extra step Six Flags goes to to ensure that fewer people come through our gates than the competition. We chose Kentucky Kingdom and Frontier City as the ideal Six Flags properties and are molding our other parks around the cleanliness, service and staff training programs they utilize. For example, our employees will urinate on the floors of every water park restroom every morning even if patrons have not done so, and on certain 'bonus days' they'll defecate too! All of this will guarantee that Six Flags makes even less money in 2003. That's our promise to both our financial backers and customers."

Six Flags investors could not be reached for comment.

Enthusiast's Wife Sighs Audibly

According to reliable eyewitnesses, Lili Chenowith, 34, sighed audibly this evening. At the time, Chenowith was standing in front of her husband Nate's "Coaster Shrine," which consists of dozens of amusement park postcards, books, onboard ride photos, videos, toothpick sculptures, and merchandise from the Absolutely Reliable Online Shoppe. Confirmation as to whether the sigh was directed at the items themselves, or was in regards to something else, could not be ascertained by ARN&R. However, Chenowith was also seen shaking her head each time she passed the shrine during the afternoon, lending credence to experts' belief that the sigh is indeed a direct response to her husband's collection.

Nate Chenowith himself could not be reached for comment on the matter. According to friends, he is currently in the midst of a three week Coaster-Looking-At Tour, during which he drives to twelve different states to view coasters from the road while imaging how cool they will be to experience on his three week Coaster Riding Spectacular in June.