My boys were playing baseball today. Just up and decided to play all by
themselves, which is a pretty big thrill for an American dad living in England.
OK, I’m a sports idiot, as
I’ve written before. But I like baseball, going to the odd game on occasion, or
pretending I know how to actually throw one to the boys now and then. I don’t,
by the way. But I’m better than they are.
I’ve long wanted to take them to a real game, with the National Anthem, the
seventh inning stretch, the food and the entire atmosphere. Some Brits just
can’t figure all that out, why we go to a game but don’t really seem to watch
it. I try to explain that at least for me, and those I know, it’s the
atmosphere. It’s just being out, with the game almost an excuse.
For once, we’re all back in the US during baseball season. I just realized
this. Like wow! I can take the boys to a game. Do they want to go to one? Do
they! So I’ve just booked tickets, to the Orioles versus Kansas City. My team’s
is Orange County’s Los Angeles Angles Of Anaheim, of course (sigh, will Orange
County ever have a team that just uses the county’s name?). But I’ll go with the
Orioles — plus, who wouldn’t want to go to a game at Camden Yards?
Barely booked is more like it. OK my stateside readers, I’m sure you deal
with Ticketmaster all the time. It’s an IAC company, and last year around this
time, I had the pleasure of interviewing IAC chief Barry Diller. If I were doing
it again, I’d skip all the questions about his plans for search and Ask.com. I’d
dive in on how he’s going to make Ticketmaster less sucky.
Jumping to buy a ticket from the
schedule, you get this option to search for "Best Available" ticket.
Perfect. They’ve never been to a game, so let’s splurge.
Best available turns out to be way out in a club box behind right field. OK,
I resign myself to they getting some atmosphere but no up close action. But then
I’m curious. I try again, this type specifically choosing the field box option.
Voila! Tickets for just behind first base are suddenly available.
Glad I checked. Now it’s fast action time, because every page has this timer
counting down. I’ve got two minutes to act, including reviewing my charges.
Apparently, just charging me a large amount per ticket isn’t enough. Each ticket
also has a $5 "Convenience Charge." What’s the convenience? That I was able to
book it online?
No, that’s not it. If it was, I wouldn’t be paying the $2 per ticket email
delivery charge. Two dollars per ticket, to email me the tickets? Are you
insane? I should be getting a discount!
Now we’re $28 into fees on top of the tickets. But kick it up to $31.50,
because there’s a $3.50 processing fee. For what? The convenience charges and
email delivery charges weren’t enough?
Sigh. Well, let’s just pay for them. That means making an account. Buying
anything from a US web site from outside the US is always fun. Ticketmaster
doesn’t disappoint. First, I make it through the CAPTCHA codes after four
attempts. The codes are not only hard for machines to read — humans have
trouble as well.
Next I have to choose a delivery option. I went for the email option. I did
this so quickly that I didn’t notice this was grouped as a "US Customers"
choice, as opposed to a "Canadian" option. Of course, there’s was nothing on the
next screen to make me think this was an issue. That’s because the next screen
makes you create a Ticketmaster account, where you list your country as
residence from options such as the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico or
I went with Other. That brought me to the billing screen which simply would
not let me change from being in the US. Nor would it handle my non-US address.
Instead, it kept telling me to pick a delivery option for my country — which,
as I then realized, wasn’t available.
As usual, I feel back on the cheat I have but other Americans abroad don’t. I
used my US PO Box, and the card was processed. Sometimes that works, and
sometimes I have to fall way, way back to using a card with a real residential
address of a family member in the US.
Still, we’re going to the game!