Czechs haven’t quite, quite, got this consumer interest thing just yet

So, bit of a cold and slightly rainy afternoon, a spare 90 minutes away from the keyboard can be taken, ah, why not, a swim!

Except, the two town swimming pools are closed in July.

Staff holidays.

Well, yes, obviously, why didn’t I think of that?

22 comments on “Czechs haven’t quite, quite, got this consumer interest thing just yet

  1. Happened every year in my home town ’cause there were no school swimming lessons and they had to shut some time

  2. I lived in Budapest for a while in the 90s, and used to love all the different thermal baths there and the great outdoor swimming complex on Margaret Island in summer. Are there any thermal baths in Prague?

  3. ‘You are the 104,397th person so far to ask, and I keep telling people like you that there’s no call for it.’

  4. After 50 years as a socialist republic, old habits die hard. At least the town has swimming pools, unlike many British towns where they have been closed and redeveloped.

  5. @ Kevin Lohse
    My town has a Conservative-dominated Council and we have an indoor swimming pool open the year round and a Lido which is open in the summer. My mother-in-law’s city is almost blue-baboon territory and does likewise. My old home town is Labour-controlled and had closed the baths (in my youth one building housed public baths where those in houses without a bathroom could wash and a swimming pool) last time I was there.

  6. It’s very difficult to make a profit out of swimming pools. In private and public sector leisure centres, swimming pools are a loss-leader. Ergo, exactly what the public sector should be providing – ie something the private sector at best struggles to provide.

  7. @ Theo
    When I was a kid, the public baths were a charge on the rates to which I never heard a single objection. Arguments about losses on the municipal buses, the cost of council housing, schools – sure – but nary a word about the baths or allotments

  8. “It’s very difficult to make a profit out of swimming pools.”

    It’s quite hard to see why that should be. Go to any pool & the majority of the users are youngsters. There a lot of money to be made out of play/entertainment venues for kids. But, of course, there’s the insistence on building vertically sided tanks with rules against jumping in & splashing. To favour the odd fitness freak plodding up & down in one of the lanes. Freeform shape with a beach & possibly an island. Wave machine, maybe some plastic floating stuff for rafts, boats, whatever. Supervisory staff to keep it child-safe. Should be able to coin it.

  9. French restaurants often close for lunch, and close for a month in tourist season.
    Hotels can close at 9 pm.

  10. @ Bob Rocket

    There was one at Romford, 20 years ago. I presume it’s still going.
    When I was a kid we used to go the Whipps Cross Lido. I think it died due to lack of funding. Of course the area’s now got the Olympic facilities at Stratford. At a cost of millions. And about as child unfriendly as you can get. A bloody great white elephant dedicated to athletic excellence hardly anybody’s interested in.

  11. BiS
    Capital costs are high, and running costs (energy, filtration, staffing – opening hours are often 0630-2200 – materials, monitoring) are high too. The level of faecal matter has to be constantly monitored – the average large pool can have up to the equivalent of a couple of large turds. And there’s a limit to how much people will pay for the service. Leisure centres charge c.£4 for an adult swim, but the cost can be more like £6. They recoup costs with parking charges, over-priced coffee and snacks, fitness suites, personal training, massage and other add-ons. Standalone pools don’t make a profit. I did some work on this when I was with PwC.

  12. It’s the same here in The People’s Socialist Republic of Australia.

    There are some lovely ocean pools in the north of Sydney, nice and safe for young families. They are a very pleasant way to spend a weekend afternoon in the summer.

    Except the council close them for cleaning on a Sunday. https://thingstodo.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/recreational-areas/south-curl-curl-rockpool/south-curl-curl.pdf

    Why Sunday? Overtime, innit.

    Up the workers at the expense of the ratepayers.

  13. I buy intex pvc pools, 18 feet across and 48″ deep, the goofy looking blue bags with the blow-up balloon ring on top. They last 4 or 5 years here in Canada’s Rockies where they get broiled in summer and frozen stiff in winter. I buy them the year before I need them on sale in the fall or off season for about $CAD400,00 each. I have upgraded skimmers, pumps and filters and a crawling cleaner which last twice as long as the pools, or better.

    I can’t do much more than dip in them but I can say to hell with shit and piss tainted public pools full of someone else’s screaming mutant children. Bonus, my oldest son taught me that old fashioned folding aluminum lawn chairs will not harm the pvc bottom and given me a floating beer cooler and snacks tray.

    Life is good.

  14. Here in the US we call them water parks, and they mostly seem to be doing quite well. This summer the local pool was closed because someone complained about the ADA accessibility and the city was ordered not to open until it was fixed. Temperatures of 45C with no place to go swimming. The curajus state in action (inaction).

  15. @theo
    Keeping a fair sized swimming pool in a decent state is one of my daily chores. And in a previous life I’ve built a couple hundred of them.
    But your input/output figures rather prove my point, don’t they? For some reason, the adult fitness freaks begrudge the price of a couple of beers to indulge in their obsessions. Doesn’t surprise me. Most people in that camp expect other people to pay for their activities. Coz fitness is a virtue or summin’. So f**k the fitness freaks. Build for kids. Parents won’t baulk at 6 quid to keep their rug rats occupied for a couple hours. That’s less than the cost of a MacMeal. Maybe you let the adults in in the quiet periods.

  16. @john77
    “When I was a kid, the public baths were a charge on the rates to which I never heard a single objection. Arguments about losses on the municipal buses, the cost of council housing, schools – sure – but nary a word about the baths or allotments”
    Perhaps they fell to Mount Rushmore syndrome?

  17. Brave Fart
    I remember getting severe sunburn at the lido on Margaret Island back in the early 1980s, caused by

    1) A pleasant cool breeze on a ferociously sunny day and

    2) The ever-present shortages which resulted in communist-era bikinis being made with very little fabric

  18. @ anon
    More likely the approval of the “deserving poor” by those who realised that they were ratepayers and the enthusiasm for the attempts at working-class self-improvement by the old-fashioned Labour trade unionist.

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