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Ticketmaster And My Experience With the Conveinence Charge

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So, I bought some concert tickets this weekend. This is always a rewarding experience. As you know, all Ticketmaster on-sales happen on Saturday mornings at 10:00 am. So, I had to get up at 9:30 am to go downstairs to the computer. Perhaps you don't understand, 9:30 am is not when I wake up on weekends – not ever. So, I roll downstairs at the crack of dawn for my Smashing Pumpkins tickets. Knowing that their business model is retarded deeply deeply mis-managed*, I was prepared with a computer, a land line, and my cell phone.

I got through and got my tickets. Two tickets at $50 a piece. Total – $145. Now, I wasn't offended by this because I know the Ticketmaster mark up. It is why I see one concert a year now instead of ten like I used to. Here is what hurts; that the $45 is called a 'convenience charge'. There was nothing convenient about my experience. The good news, though, is that I am the kind of guy who comes with solutions instead of problems.

This is my solution, every three months a model shows up at my door. She is topless and has a bottle on wine in one hand and an upcoming concert roster in the other. She hands me the wine and the list. She then proceeds to vacuum the family room. I choose a couple of concerts. She thanks me and sends me the tickets with an invoice two weeks later. Sexist? A tad, but worth every penny. That, my friend, is what I would like to see for $45!

*addendum. I mentioned above that 'ticketmaster's business model is deeply deeply mis-managed'. Obviously, charging 50% transaction charge on every ticket is brilliant business. They are good at the business part, just not the customer experience part. Here is their major problem. All shows in a market go onsale at exactly 10:00 am on Saturday mornings. In a market the size of Denver, on any given Saturday there is a Pepsi Center concert on sale, several pro-sport team events, Red Rocks concerts, Fiddler's Green concerts, etc. So, Red Rocks holds about 10,000. The Pepsi Center holds about 18,000. Fiddlers is about 8,000. The football stadium is 60,000 seats… so you get my point.

As a result, every Saturday at 10:00 am approx 25 to 50,000 seats worth of events go on-sale at exactly the same second. This means, approx 25 to 50K people are calling in at 9:59 am. Needless to say, their phone lines tie up and their computers crash. Why aren't these on-sales staggered? If not throughout the week, then throughout the day. The IVR should say this: If you are calling for an event at Red Rocks, ticket sales begin at 10:00 am. If you are calling for an event at the Pepsi Center, ticket sales begin at 11:00 am. If you are calling for something lame like Cher, just kill yourself.

Hell, you could even do 30 minute intervals. I mean, when Dave Matthews comes, his shows sell out within four minutes every time. Why should I have to fight that crowd when I am just trying to get Cher tickets?

Imagine if you went to a restaurant and they said 'we are open all week, but you can only order at 10:00 am on Saturdays'. Or, how about an airline. Imagine if you could only book flights you wanted from 10:00 am to 10:05 am, then they would be sold out. Think how your freeway would look if every single job had a shift start time of 10:00 am.

One last bonus I forgot to point out. When you order tickets, Ticketmaster offers you the extra privilege of printing up your own tickets. Yes, you can save them three bucks, and waste your own paper and toner. However, they charge EXTRA $2.50 for that. Seriously, these toner cartridges cost me $40 a piece and they want to charge me to use my own toner and stamps. That one totally mystifies me.

Anyway, thanks for reading, death to Ticketbastard.

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