I have no shame about the story I am about to tell. When I was 13, my mom and I spent a Saturday morning in June waiting in line outside of a record store. This was before WiFi, when you actually had to go to a venue or an authorized Ticketmaster outlet to buy tickets or you had to try to get through to a Ticketmaster agent on the phone. Twenty minutes before 10 a.m., everybody drew a number out the old man who owned the store’s hat. Whoever got number one became the first person in line, then everyone lined up behind that person in the order they were already in. I think the proper name of this was a ticket lottery. My mom drew number one. We screamed. I think I almost cried. That was the closest I’ve ever been to winning PowerBall. Because of this, we got ninth row tickets to the NSYNC concert.
Those tickets, face value, cost about $30 each. I was the most excited ever and still to this day at that concert I swear by the fact that Justin Timberlake pointed at me and winked. (Leave me alone. Let me have this moment.) BUT NOW if I want Justin Timberlake to point at me and wink I apparently have to spend SIX HUNDRED AND NINETY FIVE DOLLARS to get a “20/20 VIP Experience” ticket that will guarantee me a seat within the first ten rows. I am sad for the 13-year old me’s of today who do not have rich parents who are going to laugh in their faces when they ask for this. I am sad for the poor twenty-something’s of today like me who still can’t afford this. I’m going to see Alkaline Trio tonight and for $700, I could go see Alkaline Trio 33 more times if I wanted to. Also for $700, I could probably hire another unnamed member of NSYNC to sing “Bye, Bye, Bye” at my karaoke birthday party. (Seriously. I could probably do this.) And yes, I realize the $700 VIP tickets come with a limited-edition T-shirt, lithograph, and a pre-show buffet. But you know what? I bet that dinner tastes like crap and I bet the “beer included” is Bud Light and it’s a two-drink limit. Put that in the small print, Timberlake.
Why can’t everybody just start at square one like it used to be? Everybody had an equal chance to get those coveted tickets in the first ten rows. It was exciting. Yes, winning the “ticket lottery” is pure luck and that may not always happen, but at least you had a chance. Now you have to have the most money for the fancy VIP experience or the right credit card for the pre-sale. You have enough money, Justin Timberlake. Do you really need to charge $700 for those tickets? We’re mad at you.