Convenience charge?

I’m sure all of you have Ticketmaster horror stories.  (Anyone who has ever bought a ticket through Ticketmaster, that is.)  I needed to get a ticket to an event last night.  As usual, the only way to get it was through Ticketmaster, and, as usual, the entire process was annoying from beginning to end.

As I was paying, I was noting the various extraneous charges that increased the price from the face value (which includes the tax, of course) to roughly 25% more than that.  The one that struck me was the “convenience” charge.

Convenience?  Convenience?  Who decided this system was convenient?  I’m old enough to remember the days when you called, on the phone, and got an actual person, who was associated with the group, or at least the theatre itself, and could tell you what tickets and places were available on what days.

OK, I’m old.  But leaving aside issues of efficiency and greater profit margins, what was the person smoking when they decided that this system was convenient?  In order to find decent tickets, at decent prices, I had to look up, individually, every single performance, and then search for tickets, separately, in each price range.

And, of course, every time I searched for tickets (I wasn’t told what tickets were available, mind you, no, the system decides what tickets it’s going to offer me), I had to go through the ReCAPTCHA process (which we were just discussing here).  And, as my wife, looking over my shoulder as I went through this delay every single time asked, why?  It certainly doesn’t provide any security at all.  Yes, I know that you are only supposed to get one of the words right, but I’m fairly certain that, in all the queries I did on the system, there were a few where I got neither of the words right.  (Several of them were just blobs.)  So why is it there?  I suppose it is partly security theatre, and partly it is so that Ticketmaster can get a little goodwill for supporting the book transcription project.  (Of course, Ticketmaster isn’t supporting the project, you are, whether you want to or not.)

Spare me from convenience …

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  • http://arik.baratz.org Arik

    It’s so you can’t scrape their prices off of their web site, they don’t want price aggregators and comparison sites to know their offerings.

    – Arik

  • http://www.BeyondSecurity.com Aviram

    Rob, I think you missed the point.

    They are saying it’s convenient *for them*.