Every so often I like to treat my kids to BIG surprises. Usually, my creativity caps off somewhere between a trip to the toy store or the movie theater. But I had a brilliant idea. I just didn’t realize that buying tickets to see Buzz Lightyear would take me years to arrange.
Disney on Ice: Toy Story 3 had visited Bankers Life Fieldhouse. My four year-old is crazy about all the movies and all the characters, particularly Buzz Lightyear, so I immediately began researching tickets on Google. I discovered dozens of websites selling tickets; however, I was drawn to the number one search result, bankerslifefieldhouse.org.
Naturally, I figured this was the homepage for Bankers Life Fieldhouse, so I proceeded to the site and began looking at all the tickets available. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much to choose from. I discovered the event quite late, so much of the prime seating was sold out. But just in case, I checked a half dozen other sites to no avail. Having exhausted my efforts, I went back to Bankers Life Fieldhouse’s website and resolved to buying the less desirable tickets.
I began the check-out process, but was miffed by one tiny detail: the section assignment. When I first clicked on the category of available tickets, it simply stated: Section 201 – 230, which was odd given the diagram of the stadium. It basically meant any section, row and seat number on the entire 200 level.
The tickets were non-refundable, so I decided to first call the Bankers Life Fieldhouse box office to make sure the seats were valid. Turns out, they weren’t.
Box Office: The only sections we have reserved for this show are 212 – 224. If you sat anywhere else on the 200 level, you wouldn’t see anything.
Me: So, why then are you selling them on your website?
Box Office: We aren’t selling tickets on our website. All tickets sales are through Ticketmaster.
Me: Yes, but I’m on your website right now looking at the link to purchase tickets.
Box Office: What’s the address?
Box Office: Our website is www.bankerslifefieldhouse.com. You’re looking at a ticket broker website. Go to Ticketmaster’s website and purchase them there. They are the valid ones.
I wasn’t about to argue with the Box Office about the potential damage the other site was reeking on the venue’s reputation, so I simply said thank you and followed the nice lady’s directions. Which inevitably led me to problem number two.
Looking at Ticketmaster’s website, I began to notice that the tickets were well over the asking price of the Box Office. Whereas I could have purchased 3 tickets for under $80, I was now being asked to shell out $150 to $250 for the same, bad seating. Frustrated, I decided to call Ticketmaster to find out why.
Customer Service: I’m not sure why they are more expensive, but there’s nothing I can do about it.
Me: But the Bankers Life Fieldhouse box office told me tickets were priced from $12 – $24. How can the price difference be so different? I must not be searching correctly. Could you please look it up on your computer to verify this is the case?
As requested, she took a moment to look up the information.
Customer Service: If you’d like to purchase four seats in section 101, I can do it over the phone for you. The total will be $92.
Me: Well, I only need three, so could you remove one of the tickets?
She refined her search in the system to only place three ticket orders.
Customer Service: If you purchase three, it moves you up to section 224. The total will be $72; however, the seats are much worse.
Me: Why can’t we have the three seats in section 101?
Customer Service: I don’t know, but the system won’t allow it. Sorry.
I was tired. Rather than continue the fiasco, I decided that paying an extra $20 for better seats was worth it. I went ahead and bought the four seats in section 101.
Bottom line, if not for my son’s obsession with Toy Story—and my intolerance for defeat—I would have abandoned my mission within fifteen minutes. Chances are, dozens of others probably did throw in the towel after they realized it was an uphill battle with no end in sight. I don’t consider myself an expert when it comes to ticket sales, but I can say with confidence that this process could drastically improve.
Interestingly enough, I noticed later in the day that the seating option “section 201-230” had been removed from all websites, including bankerslifefieldhouse.org. I’m not sure whether my report on the issue sparked the change, but I sincerely hope the Box Office was responsible for the removal. After all, it was their reputation, and not the broker’s, that was in the hotseat. Way to go Bankers Life Fieldhouse!
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to face problems like this, but I may have been one of the only ones to call. Others may have given up on getting their tickets entirely, which would be a big problem for the vendor. If you need help scouting out the potential for similar problems in your organization, contact the business improvement consultants at AccelaWork today!
editors note—bankerslifefieldhouse.org has been taken down since the publication of this article.