I know I should feel obliged to blog about today's topic: the ridiculous service fees and convenience charges that can jack up your concert ticket price by 15-20%, or even more. More than that, I should feel outraged. Instead, all I can think about is my phone bill.
You probably know what I mean. You sign up for a monthly service plan at a quoted figure, and a lifetime of buying stuff kicks in and you think, yeah, they say $60, but when you add tax that's more like $65 or so. Then the bill comes and you've got multiple fees and additional taxes you've never heard of, can't decipher, and can't do anything about. After a while, it's easier to just accept that the cost of your monthly service plan is closer to $80 than the $60 you expected. It's the cost of doing business.
With tickets, whether to concerts or sports events, I now use the same approach that I bring to, say, a 99 Cent store. You don't really expect to get anything for 99 cents. And when an ad says "cars available from 10K" you know the 10K car is probably powered by a large rubber band. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised: I bought tickets to see the Red Bulls at their lovely new soccer-specific stadium last fall and I got the tickets online. The fee was less than NY sales tax would've been, and by simply printing out the tickets I saved a further handling charge.
But usually, you have to expect about a 20% surcharge when all's said and done. Unless you're buying on StubHub or one of those other resellers, in which case you prepare to pay what in the old days you would've paid a scalper standing outside the venue. A scalper who is the only one left with tickets and who can name his price.
So what's the solution, if this is just the "cost of doing business"? Well, you're not gonna like this, but the solution is - stop doing business. I'm a lifelong Yankee fan but I have refused to buy tickets to their games since the early 90s, when the prices first started achieving escape velocity, at least from my financial atmosphere. Want to see Lady Gaga's latest musical show but don't want to pay a week's salary to do it? Then go see a moderately priced singer/songwriter at Joe's Pub, or some similar place where the next Lady Gaga may be emerging. You can support a deserving artist, have that great live music experience, and maybe have enough money left over to pay that damn phone bill.
Got a ticketing tale of woe? Or a solution? Leave a comment.