Mad, Beautiful Ideas
Scalpers Ruin Another Concert

Here in Pullman, Washington State University’s, Mom’s Weekend is practically around the corner. As part of the festivities, Elton John is going to be holding a concert for nearly 11,000 people. The problem is, it looks like maybe a thousand or so will be Cougars and their Mom’s.

That’s right, in just under 4 hours, 10,885 tickets were sold, with barely 700 being sold through the Beasley Colosseum Ticket Office. The rest, went through the TicketsWest website and telephone system. From the reports in the story above, students who were trying to call and go online were being denied. Busy signals and unresponsive websites were the order of the day.

Craigslist is full of people selling tickets, almost always as an auction. EBay is just as bad. But, I can hardly blame the scalpers.

Oh, sure, people are pissed about it. And understandably so. Ticket prices on the after market are going to end up nearly five times what the face value was. But the same thing happens for all the big shows, even Hannah Montana was impacted, and some states decided to try to do something about it.

I detest scalpers. But I have to acknowledge that we are the reason they exist. People are willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money for things that are in demand, be they concert tickets, video game systems, Tickle-me-Elmo’s, whatever is in high demand and short supply people are going to buy up a ton of them to resell at many times original retail price. But, they can only do it because people will pay it.

The web has made their job easier, especially when it comes to concert tickets. Sure, they all use Captchas, but when there is money to be made, people will learn to break them. Is it worth states trying to make scalping illegal? Maybe, but there are a lot of things that are illegal that people get away with every day.

The only real way to put a stop to scalping is for people to stop buying resold goods. To refuse to pay several times the face value of a good just to have it. Refusing the play the scalpers game is the only way to beat them. It’s too bad I lack the faith in people to refuse to play that game. No, here in America we have too much disposable income, and we always have to have. It doesn’t matter what it is, we always have to have it.

Maybe I’m just being a pessimist. But I’ve seen it all before. And I know I’m going to see it again. Scalping works because some people just have to have, and will pay any price for it. I just don’t expect people to change, so I don’t expect things to improve. I know how to stop it, but I can’t do it alone, and I’m not sure there are enough like minded people right now to do it. Here’s hoping.