Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Evil Empire

Warning: This post is yet another rant about the evil evil powers that be at Ticketmaster. On the bright side, I my anger has been slightly appeased by the introduction of caffeine into my system, and my acquisition of tickets to see Trey Anastasio play with the Baltimore Symphony, which has high probability of rocking. Woohoo!

Flashback to about two hours ago, when I checked email and got the OK from my sister to order tickets for my beloved childhood favorite, Annie! which is playing in Baltimore the weekend my grandmother is visiting.

Step #1 - In order to view prices and availability of seats on Ticketmaster, one must go through half the process of ordering tickets. It took me approximately 20 minutes to decide that we would prefer the matinee (which is for some reason more expensive than the night version for this show by $5 a ticket...) This because I searched for what is supposedly "best available" and "upper balcony" for both show times, which involves going back to the main search page four times and pretending to buy tickets.

Step #2 - Being a music lover, I have had to succumb to creation of an account with the evil empire in order to puchase tickets before, but it was unable to find my email address in the system. I attempted to create a new account, and due to a snafu with the number of characters in my chosen password, my connection timed out. For the first time.

Step #3 - I had to go back to the main page and re-create my selections, then attempt again to create an account using a password that matched the criteria which was not noted on the form, but mentioned after one had attempted a password. I thought I successfully created the password, and my connection timed out. For the second time.

Step #4 - Re-create selections, login with previously created password, and it doesn't work. For the third time, I attempt to create an account, and manage to do it with more than a minute remaining before the connection times out. "The email address you have entered already exists in our system," the page reads. Grrr... I click on the "Login" button and enter a few possible passwords. None work, and the connection times out just as I hit the "Forgot Password" link. Third time.

Step #5-Go to email, get temporary password. Re-create selections. Login. Success! Then it says "Enter credit card number previously used for this account." ARRGH! My credit card was replaced about two weeks ago, and I no longer have the number handy. I click on the "Delete previous information" button as the timer clicks closer to zero. I begin entering my new personal information, hit submit, and the thing, of course, has timed out. For. The. FOURTH. Time.

Step #6- I think at this point that it will be easier to drive to the box office downtown and purchase tickets there. I even begin plans to stop at a nearby bar after the business is settled. But the box office closes at 3pm and it is already 2:15. Probably cutting it close since I am not properly dressed for public viewing.

Step #7 - Re-enter the ticket info, and login successfully. Three $50 tickets cost $202. Evil ticketmaster has charged an additional "convenience charge" of $10.50 PER TICKET (yes, this is over $30, and the site, as noted, was decidely INconvenient); a $2 facility fee; $9 for parking PLUS an additional $2 garage facility fee. That little orphan better be singin' her heart out, and I expect to see real helicopters when Punjab makes his heroic rescue. I am bitter, but happy to finally have a confirmation number. Because I am sure there will be no problem actually recieving the tickets. Sure.

After my hellish ticket purchase, I decide to relax with coffee and click on my Phish Update email. This is where happiness returns again to my little world (but bitterness for Ticketmaster remains.) You see, I have recently registered my actual email address with Phish for the updates. For the past ten years or so, the updates have been sent to what is now more of a junk account. Result - I missed out on tour tickets for the entire summer because I missed the updates. It is a source of much saddness and regret. But today, the update noted that Phish's band leader, Trey, will be performing in Baltimore, and a "small number" of tickets are available. Not expecting much (Phish tickets are known to sell out in under a minute), I clicked the link. I found the event and was redirected to Tickemaster to search for seats. Wonder of all wonders, it found seats!! Mircale of all miracles, I successfully logged on and purchased tickets. Totally unsurprisingly, I was charged $9.60 per ticket for this convenience, plus a few other fees amounting to a total of over $15 per ticket. Evil.

But at least I will sort of see a Phish show on this tour.


Mel said...

Good Lord, Ticketmaster is a beast! I feel your pain!

BTW -- You know Punjab isn't in the stage version of Annie, right? I just saw a high school production of it a couple weeks ago. The movie really improves the second act!

NICKI said...

I have never seen the theater version! Well, as long as Carol Burnette is in it I will be happy...

Danielle Mari said...

AND no matter how many times you uncheck every box that forces you to agree to Ticketbasta** updates, you'll still find your inbox frequented by them.