August 5, 2005
I went online tonight to buy a tickets for the Newport Folk Festival this weekend. The base price for Saturday is $48 advance purchase, $53 at the gate. Fine. Except that if I buy in advance they add a $6.33 online processing fee to my purchase. This means that actually the advance price is more, to me, than a day-of ticket. Also, I assume, the Festival itself gets my extra $5 if I buy from them as opposed to a middleman in the online purchase. Which means they've hired some expensive e-commerce service to do something a fourteen-year-old could set up on their very own website with proceeds going straight to their bank account. In terms of work, by purchasing online -- filling in all the boxes, redoing it if I miss a box or make a mistake, entering my credit card number for automatic processing: I've done most of the work for them, yet I'm being charged extra. Furthermore, if I choose to print the ticket out, somewhat more convenient for me because I don't have to stand in line at will call, but definitely much more convenient and cheaper for them because they don't have to do anything, I get charged even more! I've paid for the paper, the ink, the wear-and-tear on the printer, and the labor to produce and transmit a ticket. Yet they charge me $1.25 more for this option. The most expensive technique for them -- my calling them on the phone, making some person do the work of recording the information and putting through the credit card authorization, producing a ticket, and manually organizing it so they can find it and hand it to me when I show up at the gate -- is the cheapest option for me, whereas the cheapest method for them costs me the most money.
Plus, buying online I get lots of long looks the ubiquitous DunkinDonut Newport logo, which should make that sugar-daddy sponsor happy:
So guess what: I'm going to show up tomorrow without a ticket, and maybe I'll change my mind at the last minute and go do something else instead.
Someone just remind me: How does capitalism work again? And why is math education so poor in this country? Oh...