Worth the wait?
What will you wait in line for? Your favorite barbecue? Entrance to the big Texas-OU game? A Tickle Me Elmo, or whatever today’s “it” holiday gift is for little people? What’s worth the wait?
Just before Thanksgiving, a whole lot of people thought waiting in virtual lines for Taylor Swift’s 2023 The Eras Tour tickets would be worth it.
Suzi Weinstock, the event rental coordinator at Evelyn’s Park Conservancy, was one of them. “My daughter’s a ‘Swiftie,’” Suzi says. “And my husband also. They totally bond over Taylor Swift. She listens to it 24-7, and he listens to it in the OR.” Daughter Raya is a freshman at The Emery/Weiner School, and husband Etan is a head and neck surgeon. “Then I got jealous after they went to the last concert together, so now we’re all Swifties.”
Suzi had registered with Ticketmaster to be a Swift “Verified Fan.” The status would give her access to ticket presales the day before tickets went on sale to the general public. “We did all the things to get ahead in the line,” Suzi says.
The day of the presale, she says, “You could log on as early as 9:30, so I logged on at 9:30. At 10, it told me there were over 2,000 people ahead of me in line, but it didn’t tell me how many. At 11:30, it said there was a stop in the system, but I shouldn’t close my computer. I needed to go to work, but there I was sitting on my couch.”
At the same time, Cathy Burch, a volunteer and mother of two kids in their 20s, was waiting on her computer. “Allison is in law school at SMU,” Cathy says. “She wanted tickets, and what are you going to tell a law school professor, I can’t come to class because I have to get Taylor Swift tickets? So I was doing it. I had done it before and we got exactly the seats we wanted. The longest I waited was for the Rolling Stones, maybe an hour and a half.”
At 12:15, Cathy had a lunch to go to, so she left her computer open under her husband’s watch (Peyton works from home). “I came home, nothing had happened,” she says. “I was doing my stuff around the house. Then the screen went blank.”
That’s when Cathy took to Facebook: When I finally got into the supposed verified fan presale it showed “No listings.” What does that even mean? I waited from 10 a.m. until 7:45 and nothing.
She wasn’t the only frustrated one. Nancy Sirgo responded: Audrey said it took 4 of them working together to get tickets. They ended up in Denver.
Then Cristina Farrell: Maddie was in the “waiting room” for 7 hours and it kept crashing every time she tried to buy tickets. Was successful on the third try but didn’t get the seats she originally had…
And Mary Clark Granberry: Right there with you…maddening (angry emoji).
Stephen Friedlander oversees Texans suite sales. He posted on his personal Facebook: To anyone wanting a suite to the Taylor Swift concerts (there have been a lot of you), we (the Texans) are not in charge of this event and are not able to sell suites. You need to go through NRG Park…and they’ll direct you to the correct contact. Good luck and leave me alone! (laugh/cry emoji)
CNBC reported that the problem was there were only supposed to be 1.5 million Verified Fans allowed into presales, but 14 million people and bots crashed the system. There’s now a lawsuit against Ticketmaster, an investigation into whether the company is operating as a monopoly, and some are calling the debacle a publicity conspiracy.
At 4:15, having worked from her couch all day, Suzi snagged four tickets. Raya says she cried “tears of joy.” Suzi says, “You know, my husband and I stood in line for Pearl Jam tickets years ago. But the new line is sitting on the couch and not losing your wifi connection.”
Cathy never did get tickets. “I’m not complaining, this is a first-world problem,” she says. But still.
What would cause a mother – millions of them – to spend an entire day tethered to her computer trying to buy her daughter concert tickets? “She’s a great role model,” Suzi says of Swift. “Her message is about empowerment for the girls, and she admits her imperfections. You really don’t learn from somebody who’s going to only share perfection.
“This is the only time my daughter would say to me please mom, please,” Suzi says. “For that, I’m all in.”
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