RE­FLEC­TIVE MO­MENTS

Concert ticket deals sting se­cret code buy­ers

Moose Jaw Express.com - - News - Joyce Wal­ter can be reached at ron­joy@sask­tel.net Joyce Wal­ter

The sale of concert/event tick­ets is a chal­leng­ing task, one not for the faint-of-heart nor for agen­cies that don’t quite know what they’re about. Nor is it al­ways fun for the buyer of those tick­ets.

When ma­jor concert an­nounce­ments are made, there is usu­ally a sec­ondary de­tail that is al­most as im­por­tant as the name For Moose Jaw Ex­press of the per­former/group — and that is when tick­ets will be avail­able for the buy­ing pub­lic.

In years gone by, two meth­ods were avail­able to buy­ers: a phone-in op­tion or go­ing in per­son to stand in line for hours to get the best seats in the house. With the ma­jor venue lo­cated out­side Moose Jaw, the op­tion was lim­ited to hav­ing a fast dial-up fin­ger, or even slower, or­der­ing via mail and hop­ing there would be tick­ets in stock by the time the let­ter reached its desti­na­tion.

Tech­nol­ogy has changed the buy­ing op­tions, with on­line sales be­ing the most ef­fi­cient choice — as long as in­ter­net servers don’t crash be­cause of in­tense buy­ing in­ter­est or hor­rors, power fail­ures af­fect­ing Wi-Fi op- er­a­tions.

While some buy­ers might not like it, the pre-sale of tick­ets for loyal lis­ten­ers, season ticket hold­ers for hockey teams in the venue or for fan club mem­bers of the fea­tured group, is a bit of a re­ward for those peo­ple who fit into th­ese cat­e­gories. There’s al­ways a “se­cret” code pro­vided to those in­di­vid­u­als, so in­ter­lop­ers aren’t able to take ad­van­tage of the early bird op­por­tu­nity.

Ticket sell­ers are naive if they think the “se­cret” code is be­ing kept a se­cret. Friends share with friends who aren’t in the se­lect cir­cle and those friends share with even more friends, so that when tick­ets go on sale to the gen­eral pub­lic, the seat choice has been thor­oughly picked over and picked up.

I ad­mit to tak­ing full ad­van­tage of the pre-sale op­por­tu­nity for sev­eral con­certs in Moose Jaw and else­where. But even with the code in hand, it is some­times dif­fi­cult to get the pre­ferred seats by the time I scroll through all the re­quired fields nec­es­sary to prove who I am and that I am en­ti­tled to buy two seats a few rows from the stage (hop­ing no one is rude enough to stand up in front of us.)

When I heard one of my favourite groups was re­turn­ing to Moose Jaw, I was right there on pre-sale day, com­puter ready for me to hit “buy” and com­plete my trans­ac­tion. By the time I man­aged all the steps, the best seats on the floor were 10 rows back, but two aisle seats were avail­able. Lucky me to get them and it was only five min­utes after pre-sale be­gan.

The tick­ets were quickly printed and stashed away in my safe place to wait nearly seven months for the concert date.

Then one day on the same week as the show, the venue of­fers a deal for the very concert for which I and hun­dreds of oth­ers paid full price. Buy three and get the fourth ticket free is the en­tice­ment — al­most like buy three tires and get the fourth one free. Only there’s never a rush to buy tires and no line­ups or se­cret codes for win­ter tires.

And un­like buy­ing a dress or shirt, there is no re­turn pol­icy for concert tick­ets. If it were a dress I could re­turn it for a full re­fund and then turn around and buy it at the sale price — tacky maybe but I know it is done. Friends in re­tail have told me so and there­fore I know it hap­pens.

No such luck at the concert box of­fice. The early birds got the worm, but the worm sud­denly isn’t all that tasty. So in­stead of en­joy­ing the concert to the fullest ex­tent, I will glance at the folks in neigh­bour­ing seats and won­der if they are among the stung early birds or johnny-come-lately buy­ers who got the four-for-three deal. Venue op­er­a­tors: is that any way to treat your loyal buy­ers? Just busi­ness, you say? Pity.

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