PITTSBURGH, PA - This past Friday (Dec. 17th), my friends and I stood by our phones waiting for the clock to strike 10am so that we could start calling Ticketmaster in hopes to purchase tickets to the Winter Classic Alumni game. For those of you who don't know what that is, the Winter Classic is a hockey game played outside in the snow/cold. This year it is being hosted in Pittsburgh at Heinz Field, home of the Steelers. Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the Washington Capitals - our biggest rivals. The game takes place on New Years Day, but the day before, on New Years Eve, they are having a special alumni game featuring some of Pittsburgh's greats - Paul Coffey, Ron Francis, Bryan Trottier, Larry Murphy and most exciting of all the one and only Mario Lemieux. These tickets were going to be sold for $25, we were excited!
10am came and we started calling Ticketmaster. We got busy signals and we kept trying, also while trying on the website. We kept getting errors. Not unlikely since Ticketmaster is a horrible business anyway. Well, after about 10 minutes we knew there was no hope. We finally found that tickets were sold out. Within about 20 minutes, however, my fiance's brother posted on Facebook that he hated scalpers and a link to Ebay where Alumni game tickets are now being sold for $400+. I hope the people of Pittsburgh will keep a good head on their shoulders and not buy these tickets. If we buy these over-priced tickets then that will just keep encouraging scalpers to keep doing this.
Why isn't scalping illegal across the country? It is the poster-child for swindling and the ultimate display of greed. Now the people of Pittsburgh - the real hockey lovers (I can guarantee the people that are scalping are not fans) - can not see their heroes play. When will Lemieux and Frances ever take to the ice again? Why are these imbeciles allowed to do this? There are many more listings on Ebay today than there was Friday, so a good amount of tickets are going to go unused.
This happens to any event. I've heard that there are "bots" that will somehow override the system at Ticketmaster and get in there and buy up more than the set amount of tickets per purchase. Who are the people that are doing this? How can we stop? Even standing outside at the actual venue the night of the event should be illegal.
There is a difference between being a greedy bastard and buying up tickets so nobody can see an event and trying to re-sell a ticket that will go unused. Sometimes you buy an amount of tickets and someone backs out so you want to resell it. Fine. That is perfectly fine - as long as you are selling it for the actual purchase price that you bought it for, not gouging the price up double or quadruple.
What can we do to make this greedy practice stop? Well, we can all stop buying these overpriced tickets, but some people don't have the dignity and self respect for that. They are willing to pay $2000 for that Hannah Montana concert which will then in return make the scalper happy and he will know next time a pop kid comes in to town they can do it again because people will buy. Simple solutions would be to either 1. Have the venue its self sell the tickets, and not go through a third party (that charges an additional fee almost half the price of the ticket) like Ticketmaster, and that venue box office will only use phone and walk-up windows to sell so they can better keep track of who is buying. The internet is an ok invention but I don't think it should be used for everything or 2. Make scalping illegal with great fines and sites like Ebay will have to monitor closely what people are actually selling instead of leaving it up to people to report it - maybe this will create a couple jobs that you don't need special skills for?
Whatever the solution may be, there has to be one. We have to stop letting people get away with this petty crap. It only inflicts anger and rage into an already pissed-off society - so why let it continue?