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Bottom-feeding: the ticket business

CBC has been doing investigation into the ticket-selling business. The results are ugly. It seems there are scalpers’ conventions and they allege one major ticketseller has sent reps to recruit scalpers who “cheat its own system to expand its resale business and squeeze more money out of fans”. Apparently this outfit – Ticketmaster – is listing resale tickets on its own site, taking a cut for the second time each ticket is sold. I guess they just can’t resist double-dipping. This kind of bottom-feeding scheme works for them for high demand concerts, where people want tickets badly enough to pay highly inflated prices for them.

I have never bought scalped seats for any show, event, or sports match. I just can’t imagine any event I might want to see badly enough to allow scalpers to profit even by a penny. I’ve heard that some scalpers have taken a bath since the Blue Jays tanked this year and if that is really the case and there are re-sellers out there stuck with baseball tickets nobody wants, I rejoice. It looks good on them.

These days it isn’t very often I want to go see a performer at a venue large enough that the big ticket outfits are even involved, so this profiteering scheme has little effect on me. Tuffy P wanted to see the upcoming Bruno Mars show and bought two seats. She was unable to get two seats together and wound up buying two singles. I’m sure the scalpers had scooped all the good seats. As it turns out she is going to be in Europe and will miss the show (and I can take it or leave it), so she gave the tickets to a friend who is a big fan.

I did buy a pair of tickets for the upcoming Colter Wall show at the Opera House and last year we went to see Shovels and Rope at The Phoenix but those were both general admission deals and we had no difficulty getting tickets. It turns out that when the music you love best resides firmly outside the mainstream, there are advantages.

Although there is plenty of outrage around this story, I don’t expect there will be any oversight which will curtail the activity. I think the only way to put a stop to it is if we all simply refuse to pay inflated prices for a ticket to anything, ever, no exceptions. As long as people are willing to pay to keep the scalpers in business, they will continue to thrive. In my opinion, scalping is a low-life, bottom-feeding activity and I would shed no tears if their business simply dried up and they simply went away.

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