When an email announced the availability of tickets for the Cirque de Soleil Ovo show in Boston at a 45% discount (I had not heard of this show before), I became curious and checked out the website. The email (it came from Travelzoo.com, i.e. a neutral 3rd party) also mentioned an $8 fee per ticket and a $5 fee per order, on top of the advertised ticket price, which I was able to confirm by proceeding to the checkout page.
Ticketmaster started the unculture of ticket fees years ago, and I was offended then as much as I am now. Why am I offended by this practice? Because advertising a $43 ticket for $30 is like saying:
“You are not capable of recognizing that the ticket actually costs you $43 and not $30, and we will take full advantage of your stupidity”.
This is the one and only message that Cirque de Soleil conveyed to me, and I am sure it was not what they intended. I feel a strong urge to boycott events that sell tickets with any kind of fee, and the only way to stop this practice is for everybody else to boycott these events as well.
I want to ask the person who came up with this idea at the Cirque de Soleil:
“What is this fee for?”
And they will respond:
“Well, it is to cover our cost of selling you the ticket.”
And I will ask:
“But isn’t this part of your cost of doing business? What is the “base” ticket price for, then, if not to cover your cost of doing business plus provide you with a little bit of profit? Consequently, wouldn’t you have to add a “Pay our rent” fee, a “Pay salaries to our employees” fee, a “Pay federal taxes” fee, a “Pay liability insurance” fee, plus a fee for “Executive bonuses”? Why do you arbitrarily hide some of your cost of doing business from your customers? Isn’t this, well, fraudulent?”
And they will say
“Blah blah blah I understand exactly what you are saying and you are right but we will never acknowledge it because our scheme is successful in the end and you can’t do anything about it blah blah”.
So, I will not see Ovo, and tickets will continue to be sold with odd and arbitrary fees tagged on to them that we don’t see until we get to the check-out page, at which point most of us will cave and grudgingly pay.