Friday, April 15, 2005

Surcharge My Ass

I wanted to go to a show tonight. This band, Phoenix is playing. Some of you may have heard of them. A bunch of French young men who’ve gotten together to play what the young folks like to call the “rock n’roll.” Though I’ve heard some young people call it “electronic,” which I assume is like the rock n’roll. I have no idea why I’m talking like that. Forgive me. I have what I like to call a “minor migraine.” So I took about a million little brown pills, what I like to call Ibuprofen, to assuage the burning upper back pain and that fabulous dull headache. No really. I’m sorry, I’ll stop with the whole “I like to call it,” ‘they like to call it” bit.

So I go to the good ole’ Smith’s to buy some tickets. Advertised price on the website: $12 in advance, $15 day of show*. When I get there, I pull out my debit card, already to pay, knowing what I’m getting myself into and what to expect as far as price goes. I say to the girl in the spirit of hustle or be hustled, hoping she’ll sell them to me for $12 instead of stupid $15, “So what, how much are they anyway? $12?”

She says she doesn’t know, but looks it up on her ancient computer (so it could be wrong, really, because it’s so old and decrepit).

“Okay, actually it’s going to be $22.75.” She turns, looking a little frightened, because honestly, I’m ripped. I AM RIPPED. I work-out like, 3 times a week or something. Plus, she too realizes how absurd this price is.

“$22.75?!” I repeat, stupidly, like an annoying old lady with poor hearing, clutching her hat, gloves and handbag in arthritic hands, all hunched over. You can imagine me yelling something like, “Speak up, young lady!” But I don’t. In reality I look large and threatening. It’s my demeanor. I really project when I’m angry. “Are you serious? I just looked on your website and they were advertised for $12.”

“Did you look today? They sometimes go up the day of the show.” She’s projecting too, but projecting the innocent little Bambi deer-look. I almost feel bad for being so annoyed. And honestly, I haven’t been that rude. It’s not like I told her to go to hell and punched her out or something.

“Yes I looked today. Just a few minutes ago.”

To make a long, stupid story short. The price difference was because of the SURCHARGE. She explained that there was a $7.75 surcharge. So I told her "surcharge my ass" and "go to hell" and then I left. I don’t LOVE Phoenix, the band, that much. I like them. But not $22.75 much. I’d have to get two tickets, too, because I was obviously going to take my lover, Stoker**, with me. Also, it’s not like I have no experience with surcharges on concert tickets. I used to have to explain them when I worked at the Graywhale and we were a Ticketmaster outlet. But $7.75 is OUTRAGEOUS.

I’m telling you this hilarious, sad story because I’m calling for swift and sudden change in the concert ticket industry. How many shows can a person go to a month or a year if every ticket is already between $12 and $30 in addition to a surcharge? Like two, or something (and I’m not talking the $100 ticket prices for acts like Bob Dylan and David Bowie. These are small, indie-type acts. It’s a joke, not to mention, absurd). Most kids are in college anyway and we’re already dumping thousands of dollars into our music addictions. I have news for you, I am not made of money. Money does not grow on trees. My parents are not ATM machines. Stoker is not an ATM machine. My credit union’s ATM machine is not an ATM machine. I mean, does not give away free money. So I say someone should make one of those free online petitions to require that ticket outlets start listing the damn ticket prices with the surcharge already added in. No more of this false advertising.

*A $3 increase just because IT’S THE DAY OF THE SHOW? What? Why? Whose idea is this? Who do I have to speak to to get some service around here? I mean really people. Do they do this to increase sales so people will buy their tickets way in advance so the show is more likely to sell out? What’s going on? And speaking of, I’d say hours before the show should be considered ‘in advance.’ So whose definition of ‘advance’ are we going by, anyway?

**And yes, he’s afraid of my muscles.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, castigate the sales girl. I'll bet that teaches her.
Ripped? Huge? But you're so waif-ish!

Gary said...

You can often avoid the Smith's service charge by getting tickets at the event or at the venue's ticket office.

Aries327 said...

Thanks for the advice. I was actually really nice to the girl (Anonymous -- and by the way, I know who you are) and no, I'm not ripped, that was a joke. I took literary license for the sake of excess, which is a simple equation and perhaps the cheater's way, to create humor.

First of all, I didn't tell her to go to hell. I usually don't tell anyone that. That was also a joke. Secondly, I had her call the venue to see if they sneak in a surcharge at the door. Sometimes they do. This was the boring part of the story and I left it out because I wanted to.

The venue only had a recording and so I couldn't find out whether they would sneak a surcharge in. Also, I was really annoyed that the promoter would raise the ticket price $3 on the day of the show just to encourage people to buy their tickets in advance. I didn't go.

So no castigating the service girl (who says 'castigate' anyway?) except for in my imagination and last I checked, that's not a crime.

Plus, I'm not a waif and never have been. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Dear aries327: I loved the line "My credit union’s ATM machine is not an ATM machine" because I know you and I think you're hilarious!

You = fantastic. Keep doing your thing, man. Or should I say, ripped woman.