Sunday, August 17, 2008

Waiting 2 Hours to Spend $200

Something's not right if I have to wait almost two hours to give $200 to a theater in exchange for two, yes two, tickets to a performance. Yet that's exactly what happened to me today. Husband joked that I was trying to get tickets to a rock concert.

Single tickets for the Met's 2008-2009 season went on sale today at noon. I was poised at the computer at 11:59, ready to click through and be done by 12:10. HA! I clicked through right away and decided to try for a few different days just to see what seats I'd get. Well the only way to do that is to put the tickets in your online shopping cart. Suddenly I had tickets for 6 different performances of the same opera, totaling over $1000, in my cart. So then I had to remove the ones I didn't want. But do they have boxes where you can check off several lines and take care of this in one click? Oh no. Each ticket has to be removed individually. So here's the catch:

The tickets are held for about 12 minutes.

The server was so busy that it was taking about 10 minutes to click through one link.

So by the time I got rid of the tickets I didn't want, the tickets I did want had been released from the cart. So I did it again, but this time I chose only 1 night. Great, got the seats I was going for. Got through to the transaction page. Clicked. Waited... waited... finally ... OOPS I had forgotten to check off "mail them to me" so I had to do that and then click again. Finally got to the next page... so far so good. Entered my credit card info. Hit submit. Oops! Sorry! Too much time had elapsed, the tickets had been released.

Meanwhile, in between opening a multitude of browser windows and PDF documents of the various seating levels, I'd also been trying to call. And trying. And getting a busy signal, or even more disappointing, a recording: "This party is not accepting additional calls at this time." How many incoming calls have to get busy signals before the phone company refuses to send your call that far? I couldn't even get to the place where the busy signals live! After getting and losing the online tickets two more times due to the slowness of the server, I gave up and went outside. Ok that's not entirely true. I mean, I did go outside, but I brought the phone with me. And suddenly... I got through! The recording said there was a 10-20 minute wait. Well I was waiting. No way was I going to keep losing my online tickets because their server couldn't keep up with the demand now that I had a chance to talk to a human. Of course I went back to the computer to try again while I was on hold, and I did manage to once again get the very same tickets I had tried to purchase several times already. Then a real live person came on the line!! She said that they have the exact same ticket finding program as what we have online, and that calling can't get me better tickets (which we know isn't true, see here for details) but I wasn't going to argue - I just wanted the two tickets I'd been trying repeatedly to buy. Of course, she couldn't get them for me because... they were in my shopping cart online! So she told me to click "remove" and at that moment she'd try again to see if she could get those seats. It worked! We chatted a little (no wonder I had trouble getting through, if the phone people were chatting with all the callers) and she said that she also has the time limit on the tickets, so we did the transaction. Hooray!

So... my voice teacher and I are going to see La Sonnambula on Tuesday, March 24 at 8pm, Dress Circle, Row C, seats... um... I think 24 and 26 or else 26 and 28. There's no email transaction and I was so excited to finally be getting the tickets that I didn't write it down. The tickets were $100 each plus the various fees and taxes.

Whoo hoo! I'm seeing Juan Diego Florez and Natalie Dessay again!


Carlos said...

Congratulations for your tickets! A long wayto get them... but with a happy end! ;) Do you not will attend the Lucia with Anna?

Susan said...

Gracias Carlos! I might get to Lucia too. The friends I went to Romeo with might go to Lucia, and if they do, I'll probably go too.

ps Te gustas mi foto? Esta sacado en Asturias. :)

DivaVixxen said...

LOVE it! Everyone needs to know how difficult that site is!

poltergeist said...

Oh, we are going to NEED a complete review of that Sonnambula...I love both Flórez and Dessay (who doesn't?)

Una foto muy bonita, Susan :)

Susan said...

Poltergeist, Maybe this time around instead of a full review, I'll just write about what I wear, how I wear my hair, what the train ride is like, what I have for dinner in minute detail and maybe I'll toss in a line or two about the production itself. And I definitely WON'T take any pictures. ;)

And how can the photo not be beautiful? It's from Spain - the most beautiful country in the world! :)

Sarah said...

Covent Garden has a great new system where they somehow technically queue you up outside their website and let you in a few at a time to get your tickets, so its a long wait (45 mins?) but once you're in everything works at a normal speed. And while you're waiting there is no "Your call is important to us" nonsense. The Met should look into it.

Carlos said...

Estupenda foto Susan!