Redefining Convenience

Champions Cup tennis was coming to Boston and I wanted to see it.  So did most of my tennis team, my parents, and my son.  My tennis team wanted to see the first match, which guaranteed us Bjorn Borg on the court.  My parents and son wanted to see the Championship Final, no matter who was playing.  I volunteered to get tickets for both events.  To get tickets for the Final, I had to use Ticketmaster.  I went online, selected the event and the price range per ticket, and Ticketmaster chose the seating location.  If you don’t like the location, you can try again, but you’ll get the same tickets.  Oh, and they’re going to tack on a $9.35 convenience fee and a $2 processing fee.  To each ticket.  I didn’t like the location so I decided to take an extra step and call instead.  This way I could talk to a human.  Wrong!  I got an automated voice menu with the same procedure:  when do you want to go, how much do you want to spend, here are your tickets.  If you don’t like them you can reject them, go through the entire selection process again, and get offered the same tickets.  If you reject them twice, you are notified that if you reject the third offer you will be disconnected.  I hoped the third time I would be offered different tickets.  I wasn’t.  I was disconnected.  Back online to take what I could get, unhappy with the seat location and the price.  Thanks, Ticketmaster!

A week later I had a final headcount for my teammates and went online again to order more tickets.  I was prepared for the lousy experience and obnoxious fees, but this time I needed 11 tickets, and Ticketmaster has a limit of 8 per transaction.  And if you go in again to order more they’ll cancel everything, even the order you already placed.  I understand this is to thwart scalpers, but an alternative suggestion would have been helpful.  Luckily I had received a brochure in the mail and I noticed a number to call for Group Discounts of 10 or more.  Good thing I wasn’t ordering 9 tickets!  I spoke to Sarah, a real human.  She was friendly, helpful, and thorough.  She called me back when I had questions.  She told me how to view the seating chart online so I could pick the seat location before buying the tickets.  I didn’t have to pay the $9.35 processing fee because I offered to pick them up at the box office and she said that was fine but she would be happy to mail them.

To sum up:  Box Office:  real human, participated in selection process, positive experience.  Ticketmaster:  no human interaction, no options, no fun.  And I got to pay Ticketmaster a total of $36 in “convenience” fees.  I guess it’s convenient for them to charge customers for nothing.


5 thoughts on “Redefining Convenience”

  1. Ah, Ticketmaster: nameless, faceless, unaccountable – not a pleasant way of doing business. After close analysis, I decided the moral of your story is that to get any kind of choice and reassurance about good seats, make sure to go with ten people, at least. I’ll try to remember that next time…

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