Friday, September 4, 2009

Ticketmaster

Recently I bought tickets to see Snow Patrol, and was reminded that I really can't stand ticketmaster. I know I'm not alone in this. First of all, after you jump through all the hoops to find your tickets they challenge you with the world's most impossible captcha... I have such a hard time making out what those random letter strings are that I have found myself asking to be given the 'visually impaired' option instead.

To show you that I'm not exaggerating, here's a real captcha that I borrowed from ticketmaster...


Ok, the first word is bertram. Odd, but readable. What in the world is the second word? Is that first letter an 'r' or a tiny little 't'? What about that smudge in the middle? Or at the end? Is that half of an 'o'? Oh, but there's a dot hanging out above the 'n'... is that some kind of hint that there should be an 'i' in there somewhere? Aaaargh!!

Once you get past this part they start with their countdown timer... here are your tickets, do you want them? You have 8 seconds to decide... then... enter your credit card information... do it fast... you only have 53 1/2 seconds to do this...

This is the really hard part. When I bought tickets recently Fiona was hanging around, and I had to leave the computer unattended while I went to get my credit card. As soon as she saw her opening she swooped in and started randomly hitting keys... I'm yelling from the kitchen, where I'm trying to find the credit card that earlier she removed form my wallet and hid inside the rice krispies box... "nooooooo Fiona, please don't touch Mama's computer" and all the time the timer is counting 39... 38... 37...

I retrieved the credit card and returned to find that Fiona had attempted to complete the transaction but ticketmaster luckily hadn't accepted my name as "poookinuggg" so I was given another chance. Except now Fiona had realised that I was really trying to get something done, and was really really trying to "help" by hitting any key she could reach.

I managed to beat the deadline with a correctly spelled name and seconds to spare, and it told me my credit card would be charged, blah blah. At this point I just want it to be over. I'm battling with Fiona who is now repeatedly opening and closing my cd drive, and I need to move this computer out of her reach before it suffers permanent damage. I know how much the tickets were, it told me that in the very beginning when I asked it to only search for the very cheapest seats, so I'm just trying to get it done without further incident. And I thought everything was good, until I received my tickets and receipt in the mail today...


$31.03 in additional fees?! On top of tickets that only cost $55 to begin with?! Are you kidding me?!! Curse you Ticketmaster, curse you and your sneaky charges. But HAHA... I didn't pay $5 a ticket for the privilege of printing them at home using my own paper and ink, instead I requested that you mail me real tickets, which costs you money for paper, ink, envelopes, and postage, but bizarrely is the only ticket delivery option that they do not charge you for! I consider this to be a small victory for me in the shadow of a much larger victory for the great evil that is ticketmaster.

Can we band together and stop them? Or should we all just accept the fact that soon they'll be taking one of our kidneys as payment for the 'convenience' of buying our tickets from them?



6 comments:

david said...

Ye can't let them win, a 40% "convenience" charge is a bad precident. What happens when you buy a car or a house or even a banana? It will spell the end of the world.
Also your capcha reminded me of this;
http://www.xkcd.com/632/

Cathy said...

Half the time I can't even do the blogger secret words right. I would be hopeless at ticketmaster. Luckily I guess I am not cool enough to go to any events. That charge SUCKS. It is criminal. There is no other alternative for buying tickets, right?

Ali said...

Lou I totally agree with your hatred. I was trying to buy Idlewild tickets ysterday, but while I could afford the ticket, I couldn't afford the extra charges. I am going to beat their stupid system though - to the music hall box office!!!

Louise said...

Hi David... I'd try to beat them, but I'm too tired. I need Michael Moore to do a shocking expose or something...

Hi Cathy,I have trouble with those too, that's why I try to sign out as little as possible :-)

Hi Ali, I'd totally go to the box office... if there was that option. Unfortunately you can only use ticketmaster. Makes me SO MAD!!!

Shock said...

First, Google has acquired reCaptcha: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/09/teaching-computers-to-read-google.html.

Second, Pearl Jam the band took Ticketmaster head on in the 90s and lost. If they can't beat'em, we can't either. If you can't beat'em, join'em.

Louise said...

Hi Shock... well, if Pearl Jam can't do it, then I guess there's truly no hope. Sad!