Here in Ontario, scalping is against the law. (*Update: Not so much; see Thursday’s comment (the first one), below. Thanks Thursday!) And our messed up society, which tolerates evils such as abortion but gets upset at shooting a gorilla to save a child, gets off on hating the opportunists out to make easy money by reselling tickets to popular concerts or sporting events for far more than the original sale price (having of course bought lots of them, on speculation, thus denying others the chance to buy them at the lower rates).
One of Canada’s most popular rock bands, the Tragically Hip, is going on its final concert tour this summer, due to the fact that lead singer Gord Downie has recently been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. I heard a bit of dialogue on a radio station today between a DJ and a supposed scalper offering tickets for something like $2K, for the local area show. I’m pretty sure it was all staged and faked, and I turned the dial to another station to listen to some actual music rather than pointless banter, but later when I turned back to the first station callers phoning in were indignant and upset about it.
Now, I suppose I might be biased, because I’ve seen both the Hip and Gord Downie’s solo act in concert previously, in 2008 and 2011 or so (IIRC), in two respective shows with a few other acts on each bill, each concert costing around $50. I enjoyed both shows, and felt I got my money’s worth. But if the cost had been a lot more than that for each ticket, whether officially or because they’d been sold out but scalpers were reselling them at exorbitant rates, I might be frustrated and annoyed, but I simply wouldn’t have paid any more than I thought was reasonable.
What I don’t get is (a) people thinking that they have a right to be able to access tickets to an event at a price that seems reasonable to them, and (b) hating the opportunists who take advantage of people’s love for popular acts or sports teams, by buying up all the tickets then reselling them at whatever price they figure the market will bear. (Sometimes they miscalculate, and end up selling at a loss; long ago, back when the Montreal Expos still existed, I once got to see an Expos game during a season in which they were not doing well and were in declining popularity, getting tickets 20 minutes after a game had started; my friend’s dad scooped up some tickets from scalpers in the parking lot for less than half the original sale price. Score!)
What makes resale of event tickets any more immoral than retail prices of manufactured goods being higher than wholesale, or a car dealer or real estate agent selling for whatever price he/she can get? Why do people not get equally upset when official prices to see a hugely popular act like Billy Joel, the Rolling Stones, etc. are over $200 a ticket, but reserve all their wrath for scalpers, who are just following supply and demand economics, selling for whatever they think the market will bear? But no; big corporations like Ticketmaster can make exorbitant profits off big acts, but scalpers alone warrant the Orwellian ‘Two Minutes Hate’, as it were. (I know that it’s against the law here, but I’m not sure I understand why the state, in this case the province of Ontario, feels the need to intervene and basically, in effect, interfere in normal free market operations.)
Like I said, our society today is messed up, in terms of what it does and doesn’t get into moral indignation over.