Monday, January 25, 2010

The Ticket Master

Maybe it’s just me, but lately it seems like ordering event tickets online is getting more difficult than ever before.

I remember when you used to have to either purchase by phone or go stand in line at a physical location; so when websites like started popping up, being able to
see your favorite team or band became a lot easier and more convenient.

Now, buying tickets online is about as convenient as a root canal.

I understand that these sites have to take necessary security measures because there are too many crazy people out there and identity theft is a serious issue, but after a recent incident, standing in a line… for hours on end… in the rain, doesn’t seem like such a bad idea anymore.

Since my poor Wife has been putting up with so much glorious playoff football recently, I wanted to do something nice and take her to a concert downtown. I went to online to order the tickets without a single inkling that I was about to embark on a spiraling decent toward madness.

Everything started off nice and easy as I found the concert event page and selected two tickets in the section we wanted to sit in.

So far, so good.

Then everything began to fall apart when I was asked for my login name and password. Two immediate problems with this request: (1) I set up my account with this particular ticket site when I was in college (the first time I was enrolled, over 10 years ago) so forgive me for being a little fuzzy on that information. (2) There is a little ticking clock at the bottom of the screen serving as a constant reminder that you only have two minutes to complete your order.

So now I feel like MacGyver trying to disarm a bomb while at the same time combing the recesses of my brain for my password info.

It should also be noted that I now have so many online accounts that I’ve actually started a written list to help me remember what password goes to what website. Of course you can’t have the same password for every account because some require five letters, some require six, and some require five to six letters with a number included.

You know, for your convenience.

After I had tried every password I could think of, I finally conceded and hit the dreaded “forgot password?” link. This took me to another page where I had to enter my e-mail address for them to send me a new, generic password since I am apparently too dumb to remember my own.

This meant that I had to open a new web page, go to my e-mail account, login, and keep hitting refresh until I finally received the new password. Naturally the clock on my original page ran out, so I had to go back to the home page and start over because you get the “warning, page expired” notice if you just try to hit the back button.

I learned that one the hard way.

Once I had reselected my seats and successfully logged in with my new idiot-proof password, I was greeted by my new favorite security device, the word verification tool.

It’s the little word box that pops up before you can proceed to your desired page that presents you with some odd combination of letters or words that have been distorted and you have to retype them correctly to move forward.

And the word phrases never make sense. It’s always something like:

aardvark rain


tulsa indigo


immortal goat cheese

I was almost home free but I remembered that I was going to pay for our tickets with a brand new credit card instead of the card that was already listed on the account. You would think that were would be a simple “add another credit card” option, but my laptop legitimately began laughing out loud at the very thought of something so accommodating.

Nope, I had to go to the “edit account settings” link and add the new card information and I was just about done when the clock ran out again.

At this point, there were so many tears in my eyes, I could barely see the screen anymore.

I went back to the home page, found my event, selected my seats, logged in my password, typed in the word verification phrase, clicked the check-out button, accepted the $14 worth of “convenience” charges, and finally bought my tickets.

The whole process took a half hour out of my day and probably a few minutes off my life but after what I just went through, I can guarantee that I am going to enjoy every minute of that concert.

It may be the last one I ever attend.

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