Why such vehement moral indignation over ticket scalping?

03 Jun

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.


Posted by on June 3, 2016 in Canada, on the lighter side


6 responses to “Why such vehement moral indignation over ticket scalping?

  1. The Man Who Was . . .

    June 4, 2016 at 1:31 am

    • Will S.

      June 4, 2016 at 1:33 am

      Oh! I hadn’t appreciated; thanks for the info; will amend accordingly.

  2. feeriker

    June 5, 2016 at 12:40 am

    Scalping represents one of the most visible examples of the free market law of supply and demand at work. As for why scalpers are so hated and why so much unmerited law enforcement effort is dedicated to their eradication, I offer the following conjecture:

    1. Those of us living in the western world are governed by forces that despise the free market and do everything possible to eliminate it through suffocating regulation and taxation. Anyone over the age of 10 who has ever dealt with the real-world economy knows that what they were taught in grade school about western nations (the US of A, in particular) being bastions of free market capitalism is pure, unadulterated propaganda bullshit.

    2. The entitlement mentality, as Will mentions in the OP above, is deeply entrenched in the western world’s societal DNA. It is to the point where most of us are now spoiled toddlers who kick, scream, and pitch a skivvy-shitting fit when we can’t get whatever we want (not whatever we genuinely NEED) whenever we want it. Given too that circuses (entertainment) in the form of sports and music is now the be-all of western societal existence, is it any wonder that the Pediocracy won’t tolerate being denied access to it in a live venue at an affordable price, with the toddlers screaming for the right to be the arbiters of what is “affordable?”

    These two toxic things have combined to form the war on the free market, with scalpers just happening to be the most convenient target by dint of the fact that they sell cool toys that all the toddlers want, but at prices that most toddlers don’t have enough alliwance money for because they’ve bid the prices up so high through demand. Thus scalpers are mean, heartless badguys for trying to sell what the toddlers want –which is LIMITED IN ITS SUPPLY– at prices that product demand drives. But toddlers are, after all, toddlers. Only a fool expects them to understand economics.

    I’m actually of a mind that the war on the free market, in a sense, just might be warranted here. Free markets are for grownups – a category that appears to exclude a growing percentage of the western world’s “grown” population.

    • Will S.

      June 5, 2016 at 1:17 am

      An excellent explanation, IMO. Makes perfect sense to me.

    • Will S.

      June 5, 2016 at 3:11 am

      BTW, the Ontario government is apparently going to look into the matter, because of the public outcry.

      It’s as bad as when J-Law and the other dumbcunts got their Cloud-uploaded nudie pics leaked, the FBI promising to investigate.



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