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Saturday, July 17, 2004


Ticketmaster Blues

Spa Creek Sunset
No new photos today, I'm afraid - you'll have to settle for a "stock" image I took last summer. I spent my Saturday on various missions for our household and for myself. I had planned to go to the Firemens' Carnival tonight, it's last night, to shoot some more, but Sandy and I decided to go out to dinner together - a good decision. You can't spend too much time with your spouse. On the other hand, there are a few more local carnivals this summer.
Meanwhile, Sandy and I will celebrate our 24th anniversary this Tuesday! Also, Wednesday will mark 26 years from the day Sandy and I met. She was 22 then, the same age our daughter Leah is now.
When I asked Sandy what she'd like for our anniversary, her answer was to see Phantom of the Opera when it plays in Baltimore next month. So I jumped onto the Internet today to score some tickets. My Google search, "phantom of the opera baltimore 2004", led me to a Ticketron website. On the surface, it seemed nicely laid-out, but in reality, it was a nightmare to use.
We like to go for Saturday matinees, and I thought I'd get really good seats for this one, but every time I'd check for, say, orchestra seats on a given Saturday, there were none left. The instructions said to try again, this time specifying "best available." Trouble is, there is no selection for "best available," just "Orchestra," "Middle Balcony," or "Upper Balcony."
But it gets better - there isn't any way to get back to the schedule of performances to try to pick another date and time. So back to the very first web page to start again.
I tried every Saturday matinee in August and September for orchestra seats, then middle balcony seats, but no luck. Finally I settled on two tickets in the nosebleed section for August 28th, $62.50 each - ten measly bucks less than orchestra seats - what's that about?  Not what I was hoping for, but beggars can't be choosers. And hey!... there's an option to have them send an email with an attachment for me to print out my tickets. Cool - I can give them to Sandy with my anniversary card.
So I takes my choice and I pays my....
So what's the "Order Processing Charge" as opposed to the "Convenience Charge?" And what is a "Building Facility Charge?" They don't say. And why don't they pay me for printing out my own tickets and saving them the trouble and cost of mailing them to me?
For the priviledge of using this "service", I paid more than a twenty percent premium.
Next time, I'm schlepping to the box office!

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