Monday, April 09, 2007

Scalped

I love this time of year. Temperatures claw their way into the 50s, the Red Sox return to Fenway, and the scalpers awake from their long winter hibernation and bloom like daisies. I've long hated scalpers, probably dating to the time I headed to Fenway on my lunch break from my cushy state job and a scalper trying to move a $20 seat for $60 told me "A guy wearing a suit oughta be able to afford that." My reply: "I got this jacket at Marshall's."

I don't know why I was complaining. A 300% markup is about standard. And I don't so much mind that, since I think the market should be allowed to price itself.

What makes me angry is the uneven enforcement of the state's antiquated ticket scalping laws, plus the fact that the scalpers operate in plain sight of police officers, probably because the scalpers are mobbed up, something documented by the Boston Herald a few years back.

You might say they officers are there to keep the peace and not police scalpers, so I offer my au contraire moment: I was trying to get rid of a single seat to a September 2003 Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway. The markup was running around 500% that day -- tickets going for five times face value.

I agreed to sell my $27 ticket to a girl near the Kenmore Square T station for $60, until an ogre of a man came over and asked if I was selling it for face value.

Me: "Sixty."
Him: "Face value," showing his police badge.
Me: Stunned silence.
Him: "You're going to sell that ticket to her for $27, because scalping is illegal."
Me (to the girl): "You're getting a deal."

The ultimate insult came a moment later. "Don't worry. I'm not going to arrest you. I can tell you're not a professional."

Of course not. The professionals were the guys less than half a block away with stacks of 50 tickets who the police never hassle.

Will it change? A Boston police captain was quoted this week saying this would be the year they cracked down, but I'll believe it when I see it.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Mrs. NB said...

You're a loner, Dottie, a rebel.

April 09, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny you bring this up - I just had this conversation with my G/F yesterday.

Who is hurt by scalping? Isn't it the natural process of capitolism? If you bought a ticket for $30 - so can anyone else. If the event sells out and someone else wants a ticket - too bad. OR they can buy a ticket for a premium.

In other words - I really THOUGHT about buying 10 shares of Google when they went public for $100 a share. But I didn't. Now that there are no more brand new shares... I have to buy a share for $469.28 (current trading price). That's a $370 premium! SCALPERS!

Clearly I'm on a rant - but I am so sick and tired of my government "protecting me". Let me spend my money how I want to. Even if I want to blow it on the crappy Red Sox.

April 09, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't blame "the government" here - blame the red sox management for pressuring the police department to cut down on "non-professional" scalpers, while ignoring the guys who do it for a living.

April 11, 2007  

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