Gary the Gare
Erika's birthday is coming up, followed by Christmas and I haven't purchased a single present. But Coldplay is coming to town in February. Now, you may not know this, but Erika and I don't often go to concerts together. This isn't a big deal, she's just not as into it as I am. She's a good sport about it, but it's not her deal.
But then, like a crystal light shiny across a murky sea tainted by the stale blasts of ever-increasing sludge from the careful disdain of a thousand oil-soaked ducklings, we went to see Keane together last Spring. Oh what a night that was. What joyful bliss on a fresh meadow. Granted, I had to compromise a bit of snobbery in going to see a band that at the time got a lot of radio play. The concert was mainly frequented by business-types who only like what Mtv tell them to like, but I was able to sacrifice such arrogant thoughts with good grace. The result was that both Erika and I had an incredible time at the show (a first in our relationship (our concert going experience to that point was either Erika coming to see bands she didn't care for at all or vice versa)).
This time was one I hoped to recreate at some point in life. Coldplay was such a possibility. All the factors were there (some even moreso, i.e. Coldplay is the second biggest band in the world, so there are literally millions of non-musicocentric people who like them and would be at the show), leading me to believe that this would be the birthday present of the era.
Then ticketmaster showed up. I understand that Coldplay is the second biggest band in the world, so their tickets are going to be fairly pricey. 35 bucks a pop is double my usual spending, but I figured it is worth it to have such a night of shared enjoyment with my wife. So I headed into Angelo's to pick up some tickets. The lady at Angelo's is very nice and helped me in my cheapskate ways to find the cheapest possible tickets (the aforementioned 35 bones). She knew of my reluctance to shell out so much cash (via credit card), and told me of the five dollar building fee per ticket. I thought, I'm sure $35 times 1 billion people is probably enough to cover building fees, but what do I know? Then, there was a $13 per ticket convenience fee. What convenience am I getting?...
$13 is $5 more than I make per hour and this is for each ticket. For that kind of convenience, when I think that I want tickets to a show, ticketmaster should pick up the brainwaves and immediately dispatch some sort of messenger who will come to my house and pick me up in a helicopter. Then, we would go to the venue (in this case the Pepsi Center), so that I can sit in each of the seats that I am considering buying, so that I know that I will have chosen to optimal viewing seats. Then I will purchase the tickets on the way back to my house. Upon getting out of the chopper, the messenger hands me a delicious pizza and wishes me a good day.
But here's the convenience that $13 a ticket gets me in real life...NOTHING. When I buy a ticket from any other vendor or venue, there is no convenience charge. If I get them online, maybe there is a charge to cover the shipping of the tickets, but even that is rare. I realize this is nothing new, but ticketmaster is really a fine example of human depravity. They do what they want because they own big concerts. Fortunately, I don't want to go to many big concerts, so I can thumb my nose at them and say, "Ticketmaster, I refuse to buy tickets to your concerts because you completely miss the point of making music and take advantage of people. Good riddance." Then they will say...well nothing, because they will be too busy making billions of dollars off of people who are willing to spend $60 a person for three hours of enjoyment (That's $20/hour. An amount I am not willing to spend on any kind of joyful entertainment). So anyone who wants to not change anything, join me in my boycott of ticketmaster (didn't this already happen on a national scale when I was 10 years old or something?)