What is the use of a weblog if a fella can't occasionally just whine and grumble a bit? A story of frustration:
Movin' Out, the successful Billy Joel/Twyla Tharp show from Broadway, is embarked on its national tour. It will be playing the Pantages Theater here in Los Angeles in the fall, and tickets just went on sale this past weekend. My wife and I had discussed going to see it, so I logged on to Ticketmaster to check it out. Poking through a few performance dates led to some acceptable seats, so I attempted to make the purchase, only to encounter an obstacle: It seems the producers have entered into an exclusive arrangement with the VISA® card so that VISA® is the only credit card accepted for the purchase of individual tickets. This would not be much of a problem for most people, but it happens that we don't currently have an active VISA® account, only an American Express and a Mastercard. (This is the result of a policy to keep the total number of cards to a minimum and to obtain the most favorable [albeit still extortionate] interest rates possible.) No VISA®, no tickets. Log off and commence grumbling.
Not one to give up too easily, I recalled two important facts: that Ticketmaster still maintains some physical outlets in music stores and such, and that U.S. currency is legal tender for all debts public and private. Ha ha!, thinks I, I will simply trundle over to a nearby Ticketmaster counter and obtain these same tickets for cash. Sure, I'll still be charged a "convenience fee" even though this scheme is plainly more inconvenient than making the purchase online, but the larger goal will be accomplished.
Well satisfied with the cleverness of my plan, I visited a friendly ATM for the cash (using my bank-issued Mastercard debit/ATM card) and made my way to the Ticketmaster outlet at a nearby Tower Records. I made my request and the ticket agent began typing on her terminal. She paused, perplexed, and typed again. Another pause, more typing, more perplexity. The upshot: because of the exclusive arrangement with VISA®, tickets cannot be purchased at all through physical Ticketmaster outlets, for love or money. At this point, although I might have tried journeying to theater's own box office in Hollywood to find out whether a cash purchase could be negotiated there, I became sufficiently aggravated with the whole business that I adopted a new plan: We will simply give the show a miss.
The lesson learned: VISA® may be "everywhere you want to be," but there's no guarantee that you will be permitted to be there.
Thus endeth the whine.