MasterCard loves me. I called to increase my credit limit as we are buying a Jacuzzi and I was buying a large block of group tickets for friends to see Clay Aiken perform at The Mann Center in Philadelphia. Sometimes they ask why you want a credit increase. What would I have said? Soaking my head and soaking my heart?
I had to go to New York City on business this week (wouldn't you know it Clay was in NYC as well but never stopped by my hotel for some reason). I'm sure my MasterCard bill came while I was gone. I'm sure my husband will write little notes all over it. And they will have a lot of these "????????" There are memberships to venues that I'll never visit again. There are tickets, upgrades, group tickets. Airfare to North Carolina when I don't even have a ticket. And that doesn't even include the ridiculous price I paid for four Red Sox broker tickets. One time before when I bought broker tickets for a Joyful Noise concert, I had my son intercept the Mastercard bill. My husband is smarter, he just pays cash for his little Home Depot extravaganzas. "I know I just needed a hammer but I bought this really great ladder to go with it."
Planning for the concerts is a lot of fun. On my message board, there is a section just for tour planning. It's appropriately named the Stampede because that's what happens when a tour is announced. The locals recommend hotels, ticket groups are created. "Hey, I need a roommate! It doesn't matter if I've never met you before!!" I think there are times when I've got hotels reserved in more than one city on the same day.
The funny thing is when I describe following the tour to different people. My husband gets the camaraderie part but doesn't get the whole seeing multiple shows of the same concert part. I need to show him the video of Clay's hilarious improv stand up comedy that is interwoven with the music. Maybe that will show him that no two shows are alike.
But there are the others who were like me a few years ago. Professional women who love their job, love their husbands and kids but yearn for something just for them. I had that very conversation with our head of sales just yesterday. Marketing and sales have a symbiotic relationship and in some companies don't get along. I get along with our head of sales famously well, she and I have become friends. We worked a tradeshow together yesterday and took a late lunch. She and I were both tired and talked about what to do to rejuvenate ourselves. I started to tell her about the concert trips. From the beginning and meeting other professional women (and men) 4+ years ago and developing close friendships to the traveling around from city to city enjoying life, each other, Clay and his music. I talked about seeing different parts of our country as well as learning about problems in far flung corners of the world like Uganda and Afghanistan. Then I described becoming aware of limitations in programs for children with disabilities and how the Bubel/Aiken Foundation is trying to change that-basically, the whole Clay Nation experience. Her eyes were wide, her jaw slightly dropped. She got it. She said "That is sooo great." It made me long for something like that for her and grateful that I have Clay and Clay fans in my life.
So, with ticket buying out of the way in the next few weeks except for upgrades and party planning, everyone will settle back into their routines. Then July will arrive. And the buzz coming from the message boards will be palpable.
Aside: I wrote this blog on the morning of April 26th. When I came home that evening, my husband had opened up the Mastercard bill and there were nine “?” next to charges. I guess I know him pretty well.....
I remember when Mastercard asked people to create their own "priceless" commercial. Unfortunately, they also gave the general scenario that you had to use but if they didn't I was going to send this in.
VOICEOVER:Filling up the tanks of a caravan of cars $200
VIDEO: Cut to line of cars of people of all ages/genders wearing Clay T-shirts laughing and filling up their tanks.
VOICEOVER: Ticketmaster charges and hotel bookings for four nights in four cities: $1000
VIDEO: Cut to a pile of Clay Aiken tickets being handed out and same group of people checking into a hotel
VOICEOVER: Convincing your husband that you can take a week to follow Clay Aiken's summer tour with 30 of your closest friends? Priceless
VIDEO First show woman dragging suitcase and camera to get into one of the cars, waving to husband who is shaking his head and smiling and then to Clay rocking on stage to Back for More with crowd doing first pump and that same group of people having the time of their lives. Last shot is the same caravan pulling out of another gas station showing license plate that says "I'd rather be at a Clay Aiken concert". Instead of the license plate number, you see the Mastercard symbol.
And yes, I have one of those license plate frames.