Firefly Pointer Fiberglass Jacket: "Convenience" charges and other concert fees getting out of control

Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Convenience" charges and other concert fees getting out of control

I recently saw The Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. I've been to the venue before, I saw Nine Inch Nails there a few years ago. They did an epic show that knocked my socks off (No, no socks on their parts again). The stage show was quite impressive. 

 Anyways I like to go to concerts. I consider it my favorite past time and go to shows on a regular basis. I need to have music in my life. I have found this to be true. But unfortunately I need to have water in my life too. Sometimes I wish I could just live off of music like it was some sort of IV, but that's beside the point. 

 When I went and saw the Chili Peppers a couple of weeks ago my water bottle was taken away and I wasn't allowed to bring in my back pack. I didn't make a stink about it but didn't like it. Security at concerts is really no different from going through the TSA at the airport. And it's getting worse all the time. So it inevitably came to the moment where I absolutely needed a refreshment. I left the show to wait in a long line (of course) and catch a glimpse at the menu. $6.50...for a cup of water. I instantly felt like some sort of Scroogish penny pincher but boy...that was a lot for water. They literally take an Aquafina bottle of water and pour it into a cup, which is barely big enough to hold the water. The poor guy pouring it has this regretful look on his face, as if to say "Yes, I know it's expensive." It was weird, like a mutual understanding of disappointment. I didn't make a fuss about the amount, but I was certainly thinking it. Ouch! Was what I think I said as I went back to my seat with a toppling over cup of water. 

 This has definitely gone up in price since I started going to concerts. (...which was admittedly over a decade ago). But still, this seems outrageous. This isn't even the worst part with exorbitant concert fees.  "Convenience" charges are getting to the point where they cost half the price of the ticket...and you can't escape them. And they charge this fee PER ticket. Some argue that you can just go to the venue and avoid having to go through Ticketmaster to get your tickets. First of all, to the best of my knowledge, that is untrue. Some venues are the exception and you can go to the box office to buy them. But that seems to be rare these days. Not to mention, who does that anymore? Don't get me wrong, I'm a nostalgic fuck, I love to think of romanticized Riff Randell style concert ticket camp outs. But things just don't work that way anymore. The internet rules everything now. I have a love hate relationship with it. has the most useless article "How to Avoid a Convenience Charge at Ticketmaster" which basically just tells you to have your ticket mailed to you differently to save money. Ticketmaster isn't the only guilty party for charging over the top fees. Not to mention most sites will re-direct you to Ticketmaster. They make it seem as though they sell tickets through their site but just link you to Ticketmaster. If they sold tickets directly from their [the venues] site this could be avoided. I know that Ticketmaster is providing a service, but the fees are still too much. They are also tacking on other fees which is making it even more questionable and ridiculous. Check these out: "Convenience charge tax", "Facility charge" and "Order processing fee." If there's going to be this charge, why not blanket it all under what we assume is the "convenience fee"?

 There's been a few times where I couldn't quite afford a concert ticket because the convenience charge was too much. And if you want the tickets mailed to gotta pay for that as well. Printing them is free, but it used to be the other way around. Mailing or printing should not cost anything. These days I have resorted to printing tickets to save money. I consider the actual concert ticket as the most important memento for a concert. I have over 50 displayed in a shadow box at Rock and Roll Headquarters. I still keep the ones I printed out myself...but it isn't the same. I'm only 27 years old and I often find myself saying "It aint what it used to be." No wonder young people feel so old, with so much change in such a short span of time. Everything concert wise has changed (along with a great deal of other things) since 9/11. I would argue that concerts are among the worst aside from trying to get on a plane.

 How many places to you get pat down and have them go through your things? I can only think of a few. It's getting to the point where you need as much money for a concert ticket to see The Who as you would for a plane ticket to Vegas. With the same amount of security. It's pretty widely known that these fees are unavoidable. According to my internet research these charges "are added on whether you buy them in person, over the phone, or over the internet." I found no real advice on how to avoid them. The sad verdict: you can't.

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