RANT: The extreme inconvenience of Ticketmaster’s mandatory “convenience charges”
by Johnny K
So the other day I purchased a ticket to an upcoming concert (Infected Mushroom, if you’re just dying to know) for $30. Of course, as usual, I knew there’d be other charges on top of it and some of these, like the $1.50 “facility charge”, I really have no qualms about paying. What does get me spitting venom, however, is the $9.75 “convenience charge” that is so bluntly – and bravely – tacked on. I mean, that’s 33% of my ticket price right there! So where exactly lies the convenience that could warrant such a major appendage? A quick research of convenience charges became a pretty enlightening experience: it seems that these entities were originally added on to tickets when one was to receive them in some manner other than the venue’s box office – snail mail, email, ticket outlet, etc. However, if you actually got off your lazy ass and drove to the venue to pay in cash this fee was waived, as there was clearly no “convenience” provided.
I hope you’ve noted that I’m writing in the past tense here and for good reason: these days, it simply doesn’t matter whether you walk 14 km on your hands to get the tickets directly from the drummer’s grandma – the fee still applies. So why is this? Well, the simple answer is because the omnipotent deity of ticket creation that is Ticketmaster wills it so – and who are we, the minions, to argue with them? After all, since they exclusively sell tickets to the majority of shows, we simply have no alternatives – no matter how much we moan and cry. Unless everyone protests simultaneously (which, having done the math, I found to be about as likely as finding a camel in Alaska), and forces them to lower their costs, this is something we’re just going to have to somehow continue digesting – and likely witness getting more and more expensive. But how much longer before we reach a breaking point?
Having thought all this before even proceeding to the last stage of checkout, imagine my surprise when I found out that at that point they added yet another fee – a $4.35 “order processing fee”! You’ve gotta be $#@&ing kidding me! Just slap me in the face and then spit in it, why don’t ya? What’s more, although we are given a number of ticket delivery options, the easiest and most convenient one would be an e-ticket that we can print ourselves. You’d think that this would be free of charge since it actually involves no paper, printing or even manual labor but no, this one will actually run you another $2.50! The best part of this is that they actually have the audacity to write beneath it that this is the method they “recommend”. You don’t say? The most expensive option that puts even more coin in your bulging pockets is the one you would prefer us to use? How thoughtful – thanks for the tip, TM!
So let’s do a roundup here of the extraneous numbers: $1.50 + $9.75 + $4.35 = $15.60, or 52% of my original ticket price. Add the $2.50 e-ticket delivery and that shoots up to 60%! Is it just me, or is there something seriously and horribly wrong with this picture?