4.04.2007

FUCK TICKETMASTER

For the past year, the archaeological community has been abuzz over the Tutankhamun exhibit touring the US for the second time since the initial show in the 70's. Being that I harbor latent Indiana Jones fantasies (don't we all?), I really wanted to see this show. Fortunately, the last US show date was at the Ben Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, which is a driveable 6ish hours down that venerable strip of godforsaken asphalt, the Pennsylvania Turnpike (or as we eastern road warriors call it, "the Penna"). In addition, my best friends from college, also harboring deep Indy proclivities, would be able to drive up there from northern Virginia and meet us for a weekend of viewing the closet contents of dead Egyptians and drinking heavily afterward. Things were looking good.

I was put in charge of purchasing the tickets for the show since I had a credit card and the Franklin Institute was selling all advance tickets through Ticketmaster. The date we all agreed on was Saturday March 24, with Friday and Sunday being travel days.

It's a testament to my absent mind that despite writing this date down several times, it wasn't until after I'd purchased the six tickets (over $200!) that I realized I'd booked for Friday, March 23 instead. Fuck. Ticketmaster flat-out doesn't do refunds and getting ticket dates swapped is about as easy as convincing Anne Coulter to rock a porno with Gloria Steinem and Al Franken. I phoned Ticketmaster Cleveland and talked to Lisa, who opened with the surliest "Thank you for calling Ticketmaster. How may I make your day exceptional?" I've ever heard. Honestly, I think after a few dozen repetitions of that line I'd want to curbstomp puppies too. Lisa clearly wanted nothing to do with making my day exceptional, barking at me "Ticketmaster is under explicit orders from the Franklin Institute not to swap showtimes or offer refunds." Okay. My next phone call was to the Franklin Institute, where I met a very nice young man who informed me that Ticketmaster handles all advance ticket sales so I need to talk to them about it. He went on to say that he was confused as to why Lisa said Ticketmaster was under explicit orders from the Franklin Institute not to swap ticket dates, because the Franklin Institute issued no such orders and any advance sales are purely under Ticketmaster's control. I pored over Ticketmaster's policy section until I found some small print: "show time date changes can be made under extenuating circumstances, at Ticketmaster's discretion."

My next phone call was to Ticketmaster Philadelphia, to avoid getting Lisa again. A southern gent named Lloyd asked me how he could make my day exceptional. I asked him if I could get some show times swapped. He took my information and told me that he sees I've already called a Ticketmaster locale and gotten an answer to my question. I said yes, but the answer was wrong, because Ticketmaster is the sole handler of the Tut advance sales and the Franklin Institute issued no orders concerning the swapping of showtimes. There was a long pause, and then Lloyd said "welllll, we do make exceptions for extenuatin' circumstances. May I ask why your circumstances are extenuatin'?

It was at this point that I lost all shame. I broke down crying and managed to bust out a story about flights getting swapped and impossible to make it on Friday and having this planned for months and friends coming in from across the country and I'm a dirt poor student and I can't afford to buy these tickets again and oh Lloyd can you please help me? Lloyd, sounding rather alarmed, tried to calm me down and then typed out a petition to the person who has to approve such things, and promised to call me back within 20 minutes.

Sure enough, 20 minutes later Lloyd called me back and proudly informed me the petition was accepted, then swapped my showtimes right there on the phone with me. I hung up and congratulated myself on a job well done, despite a small loss of dignity in the processs.

My question is this: why does Ticketmaster make it so difficult to swap show dates for events that are months in advance? The prices didn't change from one day to the next and both days were available for bookings. Ticketmaster wouldn't have lost any money on the sale, since I still wanted the same number of tickets. Once I managed to get my petition approved, the swap took 3 minutes, if that. Instead of taking the easy 3 minutes to change my order, they flat-out lied to me, and expected me to buy the tickets all over again and write that first $200+ off as a total loss. Customers shouldn't be forced to (literally!) beg and plead for a fucking petition. Ticketmaster easily wins my vote for shittiest customer service.

3 comments:

Justin said...

Believe me, I know about bad customer service.

The other day went to the Cheese Cake and the Tall One wasn't there.

So, this ridiculously attractive girl, waits on us, AND SHE DOESN'T EVEN PROPOSE!

It made me feel sad.

Crappy service.


j.

Justin said...

I guess I kind of over reacted.

She was hot, but there are other fishes in the sea right?


j.

Christina said...

There certainly are, Justin.

However, a rising global demand for seafood and not enough implementation of environmentally sustaining fishery practices might put a crimp in your plans.