Saturday, January 29, 2005
My wife being a fan of U2, I got up this morning to foolishly try to buy tickets to their upcoming concert online. I didn't feel like standing out in the cold outside the United Center at the crack of dawn for countless hours, and thought "Hey, it's 2005... online purchasing is the way to go."
What a friggin' joke.
At first, things go more or less smoothly, though the '10:00 AM sale time' doesn't actually start online until 10:03 (at least according to official U.S. time). I select the number of tickets and pricing options, then click Submit.
Next, I have to go through a ridiculous vision screening test, and identify some mangled word. Apparently people with poor eyesight are no longer welcome at rock concerts. I actually failed the first attempt, but luckily managed to pass Round 2, and was on my way... to wait "in line."
Not too bad... I can wait 3 minutes. But wait... the page refreshes and it goes up to 6 minutes. Hmm, that's odd. Maybe I didn't see that right the first time (I failed the first vision test, you know). OK, six minutes... not going to get the best seats, but should be decent, right?
I seem to be going backwards in the virtual line. No cutting! Cursing is useless, as the next refresh informs me my wait time will be in excess of 15 minutes. No longer intending to purchase anything, at this point, I stick it out, just to see what happens.
15 minutes later, I get treated to
Internal System Error
The back button takes me to the Ticketmaster home page, in case I want to play "Wait Around For Nothing" again. Sure, I'm up... may as well. Oh, but wait... all shows are now sold out.
Great system. The only satisfaction is that I won't have to pay the $10 "convenience fee" to those jerkasses.
the wolf adds: Almost makes you pine for the days when your only option WAS to wait out all night for tickets. I remember, with fondness, doing this at the (former) Rosemont Horizon on a couple of occasions. Yes, it was a long night, but with a bunch of friends, beer and a bottle of Southern Comfort, it was easy to confront. And the best thing about it was that the police were there, kept everyone in line, no one got out of hand and we ended up with tickets. No "convenience" charges, no hassles, no problem. Since I am not a Luddite, I don't blame the process--I blame ticket vendors failure to appropriately embrace that process. Then there is the penchant for scattering the best tickets (anything closer than row 30) to radio stations, ticket brokers and other slimes...well, the days when the average fan could just prepare for a show and buy tickets are gone. Might explain why I haven't been to a major concert in 3+ years.posted by Max Power | 10:33 AM