3 July 2023

Special place in hell for ticket scalpers

| Ross Solly
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Taylor swift concert poster

The closest many Australians will get to Taylor Swift was trying to get tickets. For hours. Image: Taylor Swift Instagram.

There is a special place reserved in hell for ticket scalpers.

Of course, I am an angry and bitter old man, having spent five hours sitting online waiting for tickets to Taylor Swift. Waiting in vain, as it turns out. And I wasn’t alone.

Once upon a time, we would camp outside ticket outlets for days, waiting for the window to slide open, presenting the opportunity to part with (usually) a lot less cash for tickets to the big event in question.

Be it concerts or sporting events, people in sleeping bags gave up days of work to sleep rough, content in the knowledge they were close enough to the front of the queue to be guaranteed a ticket when they finally went on sale.

Those days are long gone. Technology has meant we can buy tickets from the comfort of our living room, but it has also meant we don’t have the certainty we had when we knew we were 98th in the sleeping bag line.

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My story was a common one. I was on the site for my daughter, who loves Tay Tay, and used all her persuasive skills to convince me it would be time well spent, sitting with the ticket page on my phone open, staring at a line streaking across a page and refreshing every 10 seconds.

Just to paint the picture …

On the day in question, I had to drive from Sydney to Canberra to host an ACT post-budget function. I pulled over to the side of the road, jumped on the ticket website, and off I choofed.

Two hours later, I arrived in Canberra, and there had been no improvement in my quest for Taylor Swift ticket glory. With my daughter’s pleading ringing in my ears, I sat at my table, phone open, trying to focus on my task at hand while petrified that the moment when I had to step away would be the moment I finally entered ticketing heaven – the waiting room!

It never happened. Every time I could return to my phone, I was still stuck where I began. My quest was set for failure.

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I know others who put more skin into the game than I did. Multiple screens, all logged in to the same page, multiple family members and friends – no stone was left unturned in the pursuit of tickets which were easily the hottest in town.

All power to them. It’s a level of devotion that deserves reward. Sadly, only a few were. There were tears of joy but many more tears of despair and frustration. I had no tears, but I did return home with my tail between my legs. Fortunately, my daughter was very understanding.

But was I operating on a level playing field? I have no problem with the families using multiple outlets, but I have a huge problem with the scalpers who use computer bots to game the system.

Somehow they managed to get their hands on a lot of tickets, judging by the number that quickly turned up online at exorbitant prices.

To their credit, state governments quickly enforced laws which meant the price ticket sellers were able to ask for was limited. It’s a tough battle to win, there is no uniformity throughout Australia, and the people behind the schemes and the computer bots are usually at least one step ahead of us mere mortals.

I will keep trying. After all, what else could I be doing for five hours?

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devils_advocate10:46 pm 04 Jul 23

Strikes me as odd that politicians will fall over themselves to legislate or declare the concert a major event to prevent scalpers profiteering

But do nothing when pensioners freeze or starve to death in their homes because of gas companies and grocery stores profiteering

Priorities I guess

I thought the majority of riotact writers and readers were atheists. I can they go to hell if it doesn’t exist?

Ticket scalping only works if there is a market. If someone is prepared to pay well over the already ridiculous price for a ticket then the system will continue. If everybody just said I’ll buy the songs and listen to them ad nauseum at home for a one-off cost then the scalped tickets (and maybe even the regular ones) will have no value. After all, “Tay Tay” doesn’t care – she makes her millions either way.

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