Every summer, I take the fam to see Ringling Bros. circus. The kids love the show, esp Drew who has been ga-ga over elephants since the first time we saw them three years ago. The tickets are expensive, but not outrageously so - compared to sports tickets, they're an absolute steal. The AAC is a great venue, and we always look forward to the whole bit.
Except for one part: TicketMaster.
If you're going to buy tickets to the circus (and many other events) online or over the phone, you are going to have to deal with TicketMaster, which is easily the biggest rip-off in the entertainment industry. And just think about all the giant rip-offs there are in the entertainment industry, right? I mean, from bands touring with one guy from the original line-up to Robbie Knieval, there is no shortage of rip-offs out there. TicketMaster, however, is the worst.
First, their crapola Web site: Would you like to pick your seats from among those available in a section or price range? Well, too bad, because the TicketMaster site doesn't let you do that. Instead, you choose a price and the site shows you the "best seats available". Are they really the "best available"? Hell, I don't know, because that's all you get to see. If you don't like those seats, you have to go thru the entire process again, and more often than not, you'll see the exact same seats.
Beaten yet? Oh, it gets MUCH worse.
Once you finally give up and take the "best seats available" (I will bet you $500 that I see better seats unfilled at the performance we go to, and not just a few), you're ready for the real screw job.
How about some fees for you? Let's start with a 10% "convenience fee" PER TICKET! Then, let's tack on a $3 "processing fee" PER TICKET! What, the "convenience fee" doesn't cover the processing by these crooks?
Wait, we're not done.
Then there's a delivery fee. I didn't even look at the mailing prices. I, instead, chose to print my tickets at home. All TicketMaster has to do is email me a .pdf, right? How much effort is involved in that? Not much, esp since I got my email within 3 minutes on Sunday afternoon. Not a lot of human-power expended on this. Yet, for reasons I cannot even begin to fathom (oh, wait, yes I can - the reason is TicketMaster is out to gouge as much dough out of me as possible), I have to pay $2.50 PER TICKET to print them out.
Tickets and a parking permit, which cost $195 face value, wound up costing me $223.
Listen, if that's the price, then that's the price. What absolutely chaps my posterior is this is not the price. For the privilege of using their automated systems and never asking them to expend one second of a human's time, I have to fork over $30 to those crooks at TicketMaster.
I hate those guys. I wish I could avoid them.