Monday, 28 May 2007

Book off and die!

In life there are lot’s of things to be angry about slavery, poverty, religious intolerance the list goes on , personally I channel my anger for these through, development charities, how I vote, writing to my MP or the papers and yes blogging. However there are small things in life that get us as angry for which there is no agency through which to vent our rage.
Even admitting to being angry by this minutia is shaming but here goes.

I loathe booking fees.
Here is a list (off the top of my head) of things a gallery, concert venue etc needs to pay for to run events: staff, heating, lighting, water, insurance, rent or similar, licences for performances, local and national taxes, security, repairs, publicity and on and on. Why then is buying and booking the ticket the only thing added on to the cost of entry. There’s no “surly gallery attendant charge”, or “can’t get a simple order right vague Goth bar staff tax” nor even “wears all black with complicated jewellery and has too many needless foreign trips and long lunches gallery curator” fee.

So why a booking charge? In the old days if you wanted to buy a concert ticket you could queue at the box office and pay your money for no extra fee. Or if you lived in sticks like me you could go to EGS records in town, and pay some cash. To aid our transport to the bright lights of Sheff or Leeds EGS also put on a coach for which they added a modest charge.

Compare this today, most concert venues don’t have box offices, even if they do they still levy a booking fee, so most times you have to buy over the web where for no reason you are stung for extra amount for your ticket. Sometimes this amounts to upwards of 20-30%. We recently bought Glastonbury tickets at around £150 now Mr Eavis with his strange beard includes the cost of his dodgy bogs, litter collection, generators for the stages, stewards etc in the ticket price but not the cost of booking it, even though you can only buy them over the web. He won’t for instance stop milking and pop inside his farm house for your tickets if you turn up to pay cash. Don’t get me wrong I’m happy to pay the whole cost of the show and a fare mark up for profit, but booking fees smack of profiteering. Now the usual excuse is that the Credit card companies charge the venue for using their system, but this is nonsense when you can only buy tickets over the web, again the electricity company charge for “juice” but there’s no sur-charge for utilities.

Another insidious thing, a favourite with cinemas is the booking fee per tickets scam which is their way of saying “yes you want to come see the latest block buster, we will not only have bad projection, deafening sound, over priced snacks but even before you get here. we are going to wee in your metaphorical popcorn by charging 20% extra to listen to a load of recorded messages. Oh and when you do turn up the ticket machine won’t work so you’ll have to queue up at ticket booth anyway and pay £1.50 more than those who turned up on spec.

Take the Hayward gallery (great exhibition see here for my review) but what’s with the booking nonsense. I tried to book on line but this didn’t work (I couldn’t remember my pass word) why can’t you buy stuff without logging in?

Now the online booking fee is £1.50 I think per ticket. So because of the password nonsense I have to book over the phone. It’s a premium number and I’m put on hold and have to listen to how great their online booking system is arrggh! Now when I get through apart from the women insisting on trying to post me the tickets (it was the day of the event) it goes fine apart from the £2.00 booking fee! So let’s get this right you charge me while I am on hold and then have the gall to charge me more just for ringing up.

Later at the gallery you still have to queue for ticket pick up (admittedly not as long as the on spec crowd) and then I had to wait 3-4 minutes while they printed mine out.

Let’s look at parallel problem: postage fees. Bearing in mind most tickets are online and so have to be posted why is postage extra when most tickets are bought within national boundaries. Also what post office do theses people use, even taking into account special delivery rates the cost of a ticket, an envelope and postage are usually 60% higher than if you or I queued up behind the smelly women who wants to register a car with no id, money, or intelligence. I know because I’m a pedant and I checked, I took the ticket and envelope into the PO asked about special delivery and the ticket that had cost me £4.60 extra should have cost around only £2.40.

So let’s review booking fees are a rip off, promoters should include the whole cost of the event in the price of the tickets, if they want to over charge could they have the good grace not to do so blatantly.
How can we fight this, short of not going out I don’t know may be you’ve some ideas? So where was I ,ah yes tipping…….


Coventry Blogger said...

Do you feel better now, having got that off your chest?

BLTP said...

Yes, it's bugged me for years it's just nonsense and there's no real reason for it. Just good old fashioned greed.

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.