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The Facility Charge: Petty Thieves


In the summer of 1999, I got a call from one of my best friends, Andrew Norton. He had moved to Detroit the winter before and was here with his wife and kids to visits the in laws and wated to know if I could hang out. Sure could, and I made plans to see him Saturday afternoon when he called and cancelled at the last minute.

At a loose end, I was wandering towards the city when I walked passed my neighborhood Sam Goody, and went downstairs to the Ticketmaster. If they had a good ticket to the Yanks, I’d go, if not, I’d go to Central Park. It was July 18th, a gorgeous summer day, and I got eleventh row behind homeplate, sitting next to the scouts, Giuliani (before he was the Mayor!) to my right, Pat Morita to my right. And in front of me, David Cone pitching a perfect game on Yogi Berra day.

Cost of the ticket, including handling fees? $70.

Today, the same ticket would cost $1500.

Sure, that is exceptionally high, so let’s get a little more realistic. In 1995 a four row ticket to Tom Petty cost $40. In 2014 it cost $350. In 2000 an average nosebleed ticket was $20 ($100 for Barbra Streisand but let’s forget her for a moment), in 2015 it is $100. Plus handling fees, another 25% on top…

So figure prices have risen by around 500% plus an additional 25% handling fees… plus, and I think this annoys me more than anything else… $1.50 facility fee. It is the facility fee that really stinks.

Yes folks, you pay for the ticket, you pay to be given the ticket and then you pay a fee for going into the place where they are holding the concert. How they expect you to go to a concert without, actually going into the concert hall, I have no idea but look at it this way, Madison Square Garden have added $25,000 to their bottom-line every single night for absolutely nothing.

Look: I don’t mind being taken for a sucker, it comes with the territory. If I don’t want to buy a ticket to a gig, I am free to pass on it. And I am sure the world at large feels much the same. But even so, racking on a fee for nothing is upsetting, they are like a thieving bartender who short changes you a little because you won’t noice it.It is petty thievery, It degrades us both.

The other day I went to buy a ticket To Earl Sweatshirt at Best Buy, online the price was $41.25. So I went to best Buy and it was $31.25. The $1.25? Really, it is a little pathetic.

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