Saturday, November 7, 2009
I am not against the idea of a convenience fee for online purchasing anymore than I'm against paying a shipping charge. I wouldn't doubt that Ticketmaster incurs costs that they need to recover when they operate a large and widely used website, which requires constant updates and a 'round the clock development team to keep it running. I understand all of that. I appreciate the option to not have to leave my house to buy tickets and I would expect to pay a little extra for the convenience.
What I'm not ok with is not having the choice.
To set the stage, Weezer is coming to town. Chicago is one of like 8 cities they are playing on this short little jaunt across America. Granted, their new album is pretty mediocre, but they are still one of my all time favorite bands (probably second only to the great Elvis Costello). So of course, I'm going to go. Plus, it's one of the few bands Kristen actually likes enough to go see live, so any chance I can get to share a concert with her, I'm going to take.
Yesterday, I call the Aragon Ballroom box office. I ask my standard questions (do you accept credit cards, what kind of extra fees do you impose, etc.) and then finally ask "Do you still have tickets for the Weezer show on December 1st?" "Oh, those tickets can only be purchased by Ticketmaster, we aren't authorized to sell them."
I no longer have the option to purchase tickets straight from a venue and avoid the outrageous convenience fees. I don't want this convenience, therefore I don't want to pay for it. It's not inconvenient for me to go to the box office, it's 15 minutes from my house. Dejected, I go to the TM website and put in the order, just to see. All told, after the convenience fee, the venue fee, and the tax, the tickets are about 20 bucks more than they should be. Outrageous, but still, I can manage. I click through to the final step. And another fee of $5.60 has been added to my order. An order processing fee. To me, this seems like it should be something covered by the other 8 dollar convenience fee. The service TM is providing is to take, process, and deliver on my tickets. Can you imagine going to McDonald's, ordering a Big Mac, and then they set it in front of you, in a glass case, but in order to unlock said case, an extra 3 dollars is required? You would freak out!
Beyond that, when you go to the delivery options for your tickets, there are 6 or 7 choices. Very speeds of mail delivery, at various costs. A mail option for anytime up to 48 hours before your event, which is free. And something that I could not believe.
The option to print your own ticket, FOR 2 DOLLARS AND 50 CENTS A TICKET!! To use your own ink, paper, and printer! They send you an e-mail, with your printable tickets, and you print it. And they make $2.50 a ticket.
Listen, I need the 4 of you that read this blog to all tell your friends that we need to fight against Ticketmaster and their unfair ways. I'm not in any way looking to deny them the right to charge convenience fees to those who want the convenience. But they must provide an option, on every show, of a way to get tickets without those fees for those willing to suffer the inconvenience of something like riding a El train 10 minutes and walking two blocks to pay with cold hard cash.
In summation, as a total pussy, I'll be paying all of these fees and going to the concert. But, I'm going to write a strongly worded letter to Ticketmaster, for them to throw in a big pile and then respond with a form letter. That'll show them.