Friday, March 20, 2009

ShowTickets4Locals.Com ARRESTED 3 members?!??

[UPDATE, 1:08 p.m. PT: Just got a blast that they've got Manilow seats available for tonight. What, not enough premium members wanted them? Or are members just scared they'll get arrested?!?]

I've laid off the free-show-tickets outfits around here for more than a year. In fact, I've removed them from the upcoming edition of my Random House guidebook because I didn't want to get unsuspecting tourists in any sort of trouble.

But what came out of ShowTickets4Locals.Com yesterday

The e-mail sent out to their members had a subject line of "What Happened Today With Manilow." Of course, I had to know! So I open it -- I usually delete email from ShowTickets because I just don't want or need free seats at Magic's A Drag -- and find a headline that reads: "Weeding Out The Cheaters."

I'm not going to show you the entire screed because it's really badly written. But from what I can glean, they offered free Barry Manilow seats to their "premium" members, those who pay an annual subscription. (Some members pay for dibs and better offers; free members usually get to see Magic's A Drag over and over and over again.) But some of those premium folks -- "you know who you are," they are scolded -- told their non-paying members about the deal and some non-paying members and even non-members replied to the offer.

"How did the Free Members find out about the tickets when we never sent them an e-mail blast? Seems we have some members who all work in an office together, and only one person pays for Premium status. When a show like the Manilow show is available, that person alerts all the Free members in the office that tickets are available, and they all start to call in for tickets. We also found one family member will pay to upgrade to Premium status, and alert all the other family members who are Free members when tickets become available. Some people who called us for tickets were NOT EVEN MEMBERS AT ALL! They were instructed by friends who were members to call and ask for free show tickets."

OMG! We never could have predicted THAT happening!

So anyhow, as I understand it -- this is where the email gets convoluted -- they had to take tickets away from those members who didn't qualify for them and redistribute them to those who did. Which seems sensible enough, except that this greatly upset the "ST4L Management." From now on, the note indicates, they will assign seats to premium members first as the situation demands and if a free member calls in before they're supposed to, they won't be put on the list.

Sounds good to me and I'm not sure why they didn't come up with that sooner, but this is where the note goes off the rails. Free members are warned that if they do this wrong, they'll find themselves not on the guest list when they show up for the show. "
You will be turned away, and if you make any type of commotion, security will escort you from the property," the Scum of the Earth is forewarned.

If that was it, I probably wouldn't be blogging this. But it's not, of course. The note suddenly takes an even harsher swerve with this:

If you claim tickets and attempt to sell them on internet web sites like Craig's LIst, you WILL BE PROSECUTED. We have already had 3 different members arrested for selling tickets in the past month, and we will villigently continue to catch the few bad apples."

OK. So:

(a) It's vigilant, not villigent (memo to GritsToGlitz.Com's Vocabulary Vixen!)

(b) I don't believe them because the logistics involved with getting the police to a casino to catch not just any scalper but one of their scalpers seems beyond realistic and it would require so much legwork on the part of the ST4L folks that it would be easier if they knew such a deal was going down to just yank the offender from that night's list. If it's true, show me the arrest reports. They'd be public record, so you don't have to worry about violating anyone's privacy.


(c) How does that work, anyway? You don't get your tickets until within about an hour of showtime and you wouldn't know about it until earlier that day. There's time to post a Craigslist notice about it, sell it, get the tickets and meet the buyer at the theater to hand off the seats? And this improbably sequence worth it to all involved? And three offenders have been caught in the past month? What, is Metro in on some sort of sting operation?

The note finishes up with more threats. Here's part of it:

If a box office contacts us and says you were causing even the littlest commotion, you will be deleted from our membership and your IP address will be banned from the system preventing you from ever rejoining under a different user name."

But I like the way it closes, with a plea to free members to "do the right thing" and upgrade to premium status. "There are a few spaces available," they write.

Come on, now. Nobody believes that crapolina. There are as many spaces available as there are people willing to pay for them and you know it. So that's at least two lies embedded in this email. I do wonder how they can be so righteous about obeying rules and doing everything so honestly and maturely when their own missives are full of anger and absurd fallacies?

And, also, I must ask you free members who are always being scolded, is all of this really worth free tickets to Magic's A Drag?


Troy in Las Vegas said...

"There's time to post a Craigslist notice about it, sell it, get the tickets and meet the buyer at the theater to hand off the seats?"
Simply- Yes.

"There are as many spaces available as there are people willing to pay for them and you know it."
Marketing 101 - The Law of Scarcity

Briguy said...

C'mon, Steve. It's obvious they're trying to scare people into becoming premium members!


briguy - no duh. and we're here to bust 'em when they lie and make threats they can't back up.


Am I terribly gauche for having enjoyed "Magic's A Drag"?

Anonymous said...

Every free show I've seen at the Hilton st4l has been in the back 5 rows. Hardly a scalpers paradise. /Katie

Amy said...

Vegas Style Guy, if I'm not mistaken, Steve hasn't seen "Magic's a Drag." I think that disqualifies him from passing judgment on either the show or you. :)


katie: yeah! I hadn't even thought of that! how does someone even sell these tickets if they can't say what row they're in?!? And Derek (StyleGuy), no i haven't seen it. it's just a funny name. i should go, although i'm sure not taking Amy, that snitch.

Heather of Troy and Heather in Las Vegas said...

Troy and I have seen Magic's a Drag because...well we will see anything for free. You get what you pay for.

Mark said...

Love both ST4L and Houseseats. Got Nathan Burton today and Blue Man tomorrow. I'm willing to laugh nonsense like that email off since I enjoy the service. That said, I laughed out loud when I read that email as well. All this fuss over Barry Manilow, too. Who'd a thunk it?

Anonymous said...

It all boils down to the ST4Local free members breaking the rules and taking advantage of the service. If Manilow tickets are only being offered to the premium members, and a free member calls in to claim them, they are defeating the premium service. I pay to have first crack at the tickets, and if I do not get them because a person who didn't pay for premium service gets them, that is very annoying and wrong.

If ST4Locals has finally decided to police the members and make sure you are a premium member before handing you comp tickets, more power to them.

And I have seen show tickets appear on Craig's List minutes after they are offered on ST4Locals. The scalper does not promise you and specific seat or section. They tell you they will meet you in a specific place in the hotel at a specific time for the illegal exchange.

Ed said...

Briguy, I think it is more like they are trying to scare members to follow the rules.