Exploring the Parents’ Point of View

By Stacey Willets

About a week ago I was sitting in my mother’s kitchen discussing the insanity of Hannah Montana Mania. My eight-year-old sister, who we thought was engrossed in a sixteen episode marathon of the television show, overheard and immediately announced, “Hannah Montana is like my favorite show ever! Will you take me to see her? Pleeeeease?”

This is a moment with which many parents across America are familiar. Little darlings with bright, excited eyes asking for an experience that for them is their whole world. Unfortunately, it is also an experience many parents are unable to deliver, and they’re voicing their frustrations . . .

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Several TicketNews readers share their thoughts:

“I [. . .] was guilty of trying to get tickets for my [nieces] for the Hannah Montana show and was shut out like everyone else. I also refuse to pay these crazy prices to a “broker”. What a shame these losers buy up tickets to a kids show when I’m sure most of them don’t even have kids [. . .] and basically screw people who actually are interested in taking their kids.”

“I know how you all are feeling. I did the same thing [as many parents] joining her mileyworld fan club. I also promise[d] my girls that we would go to her concert, thinking I would have a good chan[c]e getting her tickets, ( WHAT WAS I THINKING) I think we should write to DISNEY CHANNEL and let them know how we ALL feel about this situation. Also maybe our local news. Maybe it would air and expose all the scalpers.”

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is one official taking up the parents’ cause. Already opposed to the free market bill and now prompted by the complaints of scores of other people like the above commenters, Blumenthal is building a case to overturn the ticket resale law put into effect just this week.

Another angry parent calls into question practices used by less scrupulous brokers:

“Here in Chicago the Allstate Arena show was sold out in minutes. No one I know purchased tickets. Now we know that scalpers use outfits like RMG Technologies (Steubenville, Ohio) to purchase thousands of tickets with computers. Then they turn around and scalp them. This is all worse than it was 30 years ago when scalpers used homeless people to stand in line for tickets. The worst part is scalping is “legal” in Illinois. Of course a bunch of our state legislators passed laws allowing this. Gee, I wonder why? This is all a scam and scalping should be banned and made illegal again.”

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Ticket resale is legal in all but six states right now and present bills being drafted are in favor of the secondary market, not against it. In fact, although just weeks ago a broker was fined for attempting to sell Red Sox tickets above face value, Massachusetts is on the cusp of joining the majority of states in supporting a free market. Proponents of the legislation would argue that there are plenty of reliable ticket agents and only a small minority of brokers uses illegal software to game the system, but for the average consumer shut out of purchasing tickets, brokers of any sort are a problem.

With prices of Hannah Montana tickets currently hovering in the hundreds of dollars, many parents are finding the size of their bank accounts is disproportionately smaller than the breadth of the love for their children. In the case of Hannah Montana, “fair market price” seems to make seats attainable only for the wealthy, which while basic supply and demand is not necessarily “fair.”

“How pitiful [. . .] the rich in this country are the only ones who will see the show,” a TicketNews reader laments. But it’s not just the ticket sellers’ profits that leave folks sour: “It’s a sad day when a person on stage for 90 minutes, pretending to be someone else, makes more than a teacher, firefighter, police officer or 911 dispatcher makes in one year.”

Acquiring Hannah Montana tickets is an ordeal that requires military strategizing and a whole lot of luck, leaving people to miss the simple days when all they had to do to please their children was fight other desperate parents tooth and nail for the last Cabbage Patch Kid. The fortunate parents who obtained tickets are too stressed out by the experience to imagine enjoying the show, while the parents whose best efforts proved fruitless are left feeling angry, defeated, and exploited. Online consumers see thousands of tickets held by people who don’t even want them while many kids, my sister included, will be staying home when Hannah Montana comes to town.