Monday, April 02, 2007
So, if you decided that you might want to go to a concert or play, what do you do? You probably would try to buy on the first sale day if it was a favorite artist or you might just check out Ticketmaster in a casual way to see what show was playing near you. No stress, no big deal if you get the 25 rows up in the side section as long as they aren't too far back. My daughter and her friends were thrilled to get tickets in the rafters for Christina Aguilera because they were at least not in the back of the venue. After all, that's what Jumbotrons are for. Who wants to sit on the floor when the crazy fans are standing up anyway. The real joy is just being at a concert, hanging with friends. Right? RIGHT? Well, not exactly. . In fact, the Ticketmaster Tango for Clay Aiken tickets is all about stress and you don't even get dipped by your partner in the end.
You see buying tickets for a Clay Aiken concert is pretty much a religious experience for members of the Clay Nation. There are fanclub presales, venue presales, Ticketmaster sales, upgrades (because 9th row on the floor is just too far away). Everyone has a system and yet many venues and sometimes the Einsteins who run the website behind Clay's fanclub have found ways to mess with even the best system. And don't get me started on the lower than life drug dealers of the ticketworld...the brokers. (With the exception of course of the one broker site that I use for Red Sox and Clay tickets... Mouths "thank you")
For those not familiar with the Ticketmaster tango or worse the pre-sale polka, it usually starts off with scheduling yourself in a meeting or conference call when you really are going to be buying tickets. If the pre-sale is early enough, many take the morning off or for me, it is the convenient “I'm working at home until the plumber, cable guy, young hot gardener, divorce lawyer” arrives.
The best laid plans of mice and minions don't always work out. My group gets on a conference call and agrees ahead of time how many tickets we need. This way everyone can call out what they pull up and then we buy the best of all of them. It helps if people can't get through, it buys the best of what we find and we also don't overbuy. Sounds simple and foolproof, right? RIGHT? Well, not exactly.
You see as you sit there with your breakfast in your throat on a return trip, hitting refresh every so often (but not too often so the evil Ticketmaster doesn't lock you out), you have to pass the first test. After you tell it how many tickets you want, you have to read a nonsense word that is scrambled to get past automatic programs even though the automatic programs are automatically programmed to read scrambled words...automatically. They have made it even harder.
It's like taking your driver's license renewal eye exam looking through a transparent zebra while attached to an electric chair on a timer. It's also a bad omen when you get words like lastrow and callabroker .
I've gotten some great tickets in a Ticketmaster tango. But there was also the time when the fanclub put up the wrong password. I was so frustrated that I backed the car into the garage door. Or the ticket sales that don't start on time. You would think they would just reschedule it to another day, right? RIGHT? Well, not exactly. They just throw it up any old time and you better hope your butt is near a computer at that time. And if you make it past the transparent zebra word challenge, you then have to determine if you like your seat. Now, I've never seen front row tickets but even third row tickets can be iffy if they are so far to the side, you find yourself in the next area code. If you think the zebra word scramble is hard, try reading the tiny numbers on a seating chart. And these venues who didn't learn the alphabet and put rows AA and AAA in front of the regular rows. I need AA after that battle.
There are some venues that don't use Ticketmaster. Instead they use a local ticketing company that has a mouse powered Commodore 64 as a server.
We always ask them if their system can handle us. They always laugh at the absurdity of our question. Then we crash their server in five minutes, in one case causing it to give credit card confirmations to the wrong people. They don't laugh anymore. Don't even get me started on phone orders. In one phone ordering presale, we crashed the entire phone system so that orders were being taken on the personal cell phones of the venue box office people. We hate to say we told you so, but we told you so.
Why do we do this? Why do we risk blood pressure, boss fury, credit card debt? Because there is absolutely nothing in the world that compares to Clay Aiken live. You get the voice in live setting, where he excels. You get the comedy show that is like a free bonus because he has such a quick wit and bawdy sense of humor. And he's touring again this summer. Mastering the Ticketmaster Tango is like grabbing the brass ring. And I like where that ring has been lately.
Posted by Corabeth at 7:03 PM