Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Joining the club

Ticket-buyers for concerts and events always have been rather inelastic in their consumer habits, as the economists would say. Put another way, they'll pay almost anything.

Welcome, then, to a discussion of Ticketmaster.

I went online to check out the price of a couple of tickets to an upcoming concert at a local amusement park. The tickets were about $80 and $60 each. Yes, that's a lot of money, but at least you know you'll get a professional show, and the band only comes around every few years.

For the $80 seat, care to guess what the "convenience charge" is? About $12.60. Each. Then after you give your credit card information, an extra few dollars is quietly tacked on to the order just before purchasing. The $60 seat reduces the convenience charge to a little more than $10.

So, I took the cheap way out. I went to Macy's, found the Ticketmaster outlet in the midst of a large collection of women's intimate apparel, and bought it. The convenience charge is still there, although the add-on charge at the end wasn't. I didn't find it all that convenient, either.

So, I had to pay an extra 17 percent for my tickets, and I had no alternative. I don't think the box office at the amusement park is even open for such purchases.

No doubt about it. I'm in the wrong business.