I have six vouchers for pairs of general admission concert tickets, a payout from the class action lawsuit Schlesinger vs. Ticketmaster. They are sitting inside my Ticketmaster account, waiting to be used before their 2020 expiration date.
They might be waiting for a long time.
On Tuesday afternoon, I squinted and scrolled through pages of eligible shows organized without regard to geography. One looked good, but it would require a hotel room and possibly a flight. The few in Southern California looked like a waste of time.
Finally, I stumbled upon a rare gem on the list. Duran Duran and Chic at Irvine Meadows. Hell yes!
Duran Duran was my first favorite band and, because my taste in music hasn't changed much since kindergarten, they remain close to my heart. I've seen them live twice, both times as an adult, and the shows surpassed my expectations. Then there is Chic, Nile Rodgers' disco legends, whom I've never seen live.
I would totally drive out to Orange County for this show, I thought. Those tickets are mine!
I went through the ticket buying process, inserted my voucher code and got a message that my voucher and this show were not going to work together. I grabbed another code from my account and tried again. The message was the same.
I started complaining and then felt bad about it. I've been going to concerts for 25 years now and have seen so many shows that I can't remember them all. Some blur together. Some don't even register in my brain until my husband says, “Hey, remember when we saw [Band X] at [Venue Y]?” Undoubtedly, some of those tickets that qualified me for the class action settlement involve bands whose sets I won't remember unless I stumble across a memento or scribbled note somewhere inside the old childhood bedroom that my mom keeps bugging me to clean out.
Yes, this concert-going habit is an expensive one. But I've also been working in some music-related capacity since my freshman year of college and that comes with a major perk: guest lists. I've handed over a good chunk of money to Ticketmaster through the years, but I also can't ignore the fact that many of my concert experiences happened because someone added my name to the list.
In fact, those two times I saw Duran Duran? Both times I was there as press for L.A. Weekly. So not only did I see my childhood favorite band for free; the concerts resulted in paid work.
Maybe I should just buy the Duran Duran/Chic tickets. After all, general admission is only $32.50. That's not so bad, right?
I clicked through the site again. Yeah, the tickets are $32.50, but that's before each ticket is marked with a facility charge of $8, which seems a bit ridiculous. Why don't you just add the facility charge to the ticket up front and make the list price $40.50? There's also a $13.60 service fee. Keep in mind that these are added to each ticket. So, now, those two general admission passes that were $65 at face value are $108.20.
Isn't that how we got here in the first place?
On Wednesday morning, I scrolled through the list again. It's smaller now and the choices left are even less enticing that ones that popped up the previous day. I wouldn't go to a Rascal Flatts concert if it were free and on my doorstep.
In the end, I'm left with more questions: Is it wrong to complain about free ticket vouchers? Did Ticketmaster learn anything from the class action suit? And how much do I really want to see Chic, anyway?