Happy happy joy joy III (and Ticketmaster still sucks)

The last couple days convinced me it was karma that my middle daughter ended up going to college in Nebraska. For reasons detailed below, it looked liked there might a temporary blackout here in today’s on sale for Springsteen’s March 14 appearance in Omaha. Figuring a town in Nebraska wouldn’t be subject to the blackout, I contacted my daughter.  While she wasn’t going to be in the town where she goes to college (which doesn’t have a Ticketmaster outlet any way), she was spending the weekend with a college friend from Lincoln, which has multiple Ticketmaster outlets. Thus, the two girls were standing in line for me this morning and got the two reserved seat tickets I requested.

To be safe, I ducked out of a meeting to see if there was a delay in online sales here. Turns out there wasn’t and I got two reserved seat tickets myself. One of the two pair will likely go to a friend at work who may not have gotten tickets. Ultimate result is that the wife and I will Springsteen and the E Street Band in Omaha March 14 and then in St. Paul two nights later.

The blackout concern arose when the same friend at work noticed Thursday that the page for ticket sales said: “Sales to this event have been restricted to the regional selling area during the first 15 minutes of the on sale.” I have no problem with this and, in fact, it was something I’ve said in the past might work to keep at least some tickets out of the hands of brokers. The problem is the page didn’t indicate what constituted the regional selling area.

I sent an e-mail via Ticketmaster’s “Contact Us” section that simply asked what made up the regional selling area for the concert. Two hours later I got a canned, five-paragraph reply that basically said there may be a lot of demand for tickets for certain concerts so sometimes “ticket sales are limited to fans who live within a certain radius of their local venue.” Of course, the response didn’t say what that radius was for this concert.

I sent a reply pointing out to customer service (quite the misnomer) that the response was nonresponsive. Six hours later, but still on Thursday, I got a reply that said, “We do regret any inconvenience you may have experienced in connection with your recent ticket purchase” and that it was going to contact the promoter for clarification and would be back to me shortly. Now, more than 48 hours after receiving that e-mail and more than 12 hours after tickets went on sale, I’m still waiting for that information.

And while this may not be Ticketmaster itself, the person handling ticket sales at the location my daughter went to wasn’t a prize either. Among other things, she said there were no reserved seats for the concert and no “lower level” seating — the two things I told my daughter I wanted.  There is/was reserved seating and I said “lower level” based on experience with other venues.  Turns out the nomenclature at Qwest Center is “lower bowl.”  Had we not talked on the phone while she was waiting in line, who knows what kind of tickets my daughter would have got.

No wonder there’s so many problems with ticket sales to popular concerts. Economic forces have left the process in the hands of an unwieldy, unresponsive and ignorant corporate structure. While that will be nothing but a distant memory for me come mid-March, you wonder how many real people lose out to ticket brokers because of the process.

Trust none of what you hear
And less of what you see

“Magic,” Bruce Springsteen, Magic

2 comments to Happy happy joy joy III (and Ticketmaster still sucks)

  • Patti Martinson

    I trust you paid a reasonable price for the tickets? I heard how Hannah Montana tickets went through the roof because of ticket brokers.

  • Tim

    The tickets were all bought at face value through Ticketmaster so the only real issue about the reasonableness of the prices at this point is the fees Ticketmaster tacks on.

    (I’m late in replying due to all the fun I was having making sure my blog could actually be seen from its new host.)