OK, SO PERHAPS that's a bit harsh. But at the time I drew this conclusion, it seemed an eminently reasonable proposition. After all, for the privilege of buying a ticket to a sporting event, I had paid a markup that amounted to a 26 pc premium over the actual face value of the ticket itself. As such, I was a bit annoyed, and it slightly dampened the joy I had at getting the best seat in the house for the sporting event I plan to attend.
This may seem surprising to Loyal Rant Readers, given that I am traditionally accepting of the idea that businesses are in business to make money. Indeed, I would be the first to agree with the idea that the folks at Ticketmaster, most of whom I am sure are good and decent people, ought to be compensated for the services they provide, and at the terms they reach with the venues they represent. After all, I'm not a Communist. Still, it is one thing to pay a legitimate markup for a product and another to have that legitimate markup broken down into a series of duplicitous, wretched, egregious and downright insulting charges and fees, said charges and fees described in such a manner that I feel like I'm being treated like an idiot.
To be blunt about it, I would be fine if Ticketmaster just listed the $8 I paid to buy the ticket through them as a "customer surcharge" or some such. However, I am not at all fine with the said $8 being broken down into a $4 "convenience charge," a $1.75 "delivery" charge, and a $2.25 "order processing fee." Like I'm not going to fucking notice that I'm paying $8 -- which, as I mentioned, was a 26 pc markup -- for the privilege of buying the ticket through Ticketmaster. Or Ticketshafter, which is punny. Yeah.
OK, first things first -- what the hell is a "convenience charge?" I mean, I'm sorry, but it isn't exactly all that convenient to have to pay an additional $4 for the privilege of buying a ticket. For the love of Christ, call it something reasonable -- an on-line ordering fee or something. Hell, call it a "mandatory and arbitrary customer charge" for all I care -- just approximate exactly what it is that I'm paying for.
While I'm thinking of it, could someone at Ticketmaster explain to me why I was charged $1.75 for the privilege of printing out my own ticket using my home computer, while I could have received the ticket through the mail for no additional charge? I mean, clearly I missed something here, because I was under the impression that buying the ticket on-line would result in an additional net cost to Ticketmaster of roughly, oh, $0.00, while their cost of actually stuffing the ticket into an envelope and mailing it would probably cost $1. Yet for some reason, I'm being charged $1.75 for delivery when no actual physical delivery took place. Couldn't this be rolled into the "convenience charge?" That actually was convenient.
Finally, what's with the $2.25 "order processing fee?" I mean, are you kidding me? What processing? It's not like anyone has to do anything extra. I mean, it's one thing if you want to recoup the cost of the merchant transaction fee you'll have to pay to the credit-card issuer. I couldn't blame you for that. Yet the description of this $2.25 "order processing fee" makes me feel like a schnook.
You know, here's an idea -- why not just charge me $8 in one line item for your costs associated with acting as the ticket agent? I mean, I understand you have to keep the lights on and pay your employees and ship up God knows how much cash each quarter to corporate. I'm cool with that. Also, I just realized I indirectly own a tiny percentage of your operation through some investments I hold, so why not just be honest about it? I'm a shareholder! You can be honest with me! Hell, given that I'm a shareholder, boost it up a couple bucks if you want!
Of course, I do want the good people at Ticketmaster to realize that I do sympathize with them. It's not like you haven't heard any of this before. In fact, I imagine the company is kinda like North Korea -- it's got of plenty of good people, it's just that the ones at the top are evil and sadistic. As a result, I am guessing that this whole scheme about "convenience charges" and "order processing fees" was dreamed up in your marketing department, and that there is absolutely nothing you, the good rank-and-file employees of Ticketmaster, can do about it.
However, maybe you can find out just who came up with the idea of adding useless and pathetic fees, and exorcise their office. Because whoever did is clearly not human, but was rather shit out of Satan's festering bowels for the sole purpose of acting as a wicked scourge upon mankind. You'll need a Bible -- you've heard of it, it's this old book -- and some votive candles. Let me know how it goes, and I'll be glad to provide an update to my vast audience of influential readers. Well, OK, my decent-sized audience of influential readers. Dammit, I'm ranked in the 300,000s on Technorati, that's got to count for something. Anyway, thanks for listening.Posted by Benjamin Kepple at April 10, 2008 10:00 PM | TrackBack