Friday, June 25, 2010

The Favor Train will not be rolling through Bieberville

I used to work in sports and entertainment, for a long time. During that time, I made a lot of friendships. When I got out of the business, I did so without burning too many bridges (I like to think so anyway). As a result, like Red in "The Shawshank Redemption", I'm a man who knows how to get things. Specifically tickets to games and concerts. This is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, in that it's nice to be able to do favors for friends and/or associates who appreciate it and/or reciprocate with favors, what I call riding The Favor Train. A curse, in that people who don't appreciate it or offer to reciprocate try to hitch rides on The Favor Train too, people whose definition of "friendship" is different than mine, in that it is decidedly a one-way type of relationship. Interaction with those folks usually goes something like this:
"Hey, how are you? It's been so long! Listen, do you still know people over at the [insert venue name here]"
"Oh, hi. Yeah, I still know some people there."
"Oh great! I would really love to see [insert artist's name here]. They're my all-time favorite so I want to try to get really, really good seats."
"I can ask..."
"Great! Call me back! I'm so excited!"
[I call the venue, get the info and then call my "friend" back]
"Hey, they have some great seats, real close to the stage. They're running
[insert dollar value above $0] each, including fees.I just need your credit card info and the tickets will be at will call."
"Ooh...Ah...Hmm...Ah...Ooh. Can't get comps, huh?"
"No, sorry, there's no comps for concerts*..."
"Well...where exactly are they located? On the floor? Front row?"
"No, they're not going to be in the front row. I can't give you a specific location until we actually make the purchase but I can tell you they'll be great seats, certainly better than what you'd be able to buy on line or at the box office."

"Ooh...Ah...Hmm. Okay, let me get back to you."

Then I don't hear from them again for at least six months, when their next all-time favorite is coming to town. The sad part about that? Those are the people who are polite! There are people who think they can ride The Favor Train by not saying much more than "Hey, get me some free tickets!".
Anyway, the other day a friend from the St. Pete Times Forum copied me on the following email:

"As some of you may know, Justin Bieber will be at the St. Pete Times Forum on December 19, 2010. Needless to say, this will be one of the bigger tours and hottest tickets for 2010.

So, how do you get good seats.simple, don't call me! Visit the link below and purchase your tickets in advance as part of the fan club package we are able to offer. Two reasons to do this: First, this offer has better tickets than I will have access to. Second, I don’t want to hear how big a fan your kid is and how you need to be so close. It is win-win!

Ticketmaster Page

Feel free to call with questions, but honestly, these seats are better than what I will get access to.


Think that sounds rude? Unfriendly? Dismissive? Au contraire! That is one of the nicest emails I have ever received! That, my friends, is an early Christmas present. That is nothing less than a gold-plated "get out of doing favors free" card. That means I don't have to go through the annoying song-and-dance routine listed above. Any queries I receive will die a quick and merciless death and I don't even have to feel bad about it. The Favor Train does not make any stops in Bieberville!

* Actually, it is possible to get comp tickets for concerts, but usually only two ways to get them (neither of which involve me):
  1. Win some from a radio station or some other promotional contest, although they'll probably be pretty shitty seats and you may wish you'd bought them instead.
  2. Know somebody in the band. I'm not talking about being Facebook friends or following them on Twitter or even having met them at a club or restaurant once. I mean knowing them. If you think you might know somebody well enough to get free tickets from them but you aren't 100% sure, you don't.

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