Ticketmaster and the Lost Tickets Saga......

As most of you know I recently had some very unpleasant dealings with the ticketmaster people. I bought my tickets for the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang show on a Friday and somehow stupidly managed to misplace them by the Sunday. Totally my fault and I can blame no-one but myself for that. In my defense I had bought them at the end of a very long and tiring week which saw me haul myself daily across the city, in order to get my son to a summer camp that I knew would be of huge benefit to him. It was the week that I lived out of my car and out of many bags from 8.30am to 4.40pm every day . All for my son who is on the Autistic Spectrum.

Not that any of that is of any interest to the machine that is the ticketmaster organisation.

I bought the tickets at the ticketmaster (Joe-El Tickets) booth in the Omni Centre, with my laser card. I was given the tickets AND RECEIPT  in an envelope that I immediately put into my bag and minded carefully all that day. They made it home, of that I was 99% sure, but after that no sign. I searched everywhere numerous times but could not locate them.

I immediately contacted ticketmaster and this is how it went....

My initial contact was with Joe of Joe-El Tickets. I rang him a number of times. He is a very nice man who was terribly sorry that he could do nothing for me. Like Manuel of  Fawlty Towers fame he had nothing, could do nothing and knew nothing. All I have is a printing machine... I just print the tickets..... no records of cards used etc....you have to ring Head Office....I have to go there's a big queue/the machine is printing/I'm putting a credit card payment through...etc; etc; etc.

Seriously, every call was ended in this fashion. If I didn't know better I'd think he was trying to get away from the mad/distraught lady on the line. Yeah, that would be me. Maybe he was uncomfortable about the fact that I always questioned why he had no supporting bank receipts (apart from till rolls, perhaps) for his sales?? But hey, that might be just the ex- Revenue Auditor in me.  

I also rang Head Office. A number of times. They were very nice also, well, they were on the first call. Not so nice after that. The first guy was very sorry but..... nothing we can do without a receipt..... or Account number....and NO...it won't help at all if you got your bank to confirm precisely when and where  your card was used ..... erm, sorry, nothing I can do etc; etc; etc.

The last "sorry" was in reference to me mentioning that my son was on the Autistic Spectrum and would be particularly upset if we couldn't go.

Sigh....


Never one to give up I phoned my bank (in between manic searches of the house) and established that my card was used at PRECISELY 11.42am on a certain date in.....Joe-El Tickets.

I then rang the Grand Canal Theatre, after a very good friend had made initial inquiries on my behalf. It took the Theatre all of three minutes to establish what two phone calls to ticketmaster could not. They found my seats....it was easy..... they were the only seats on that row that was not given an account i.e. they had no name attached to them. The Theatre ALWAYS makes an account for every sale.The Theatre had no problem in accepting a bank statement as proof of payment.

The Theatre made the next contact with the ticketmaster machine (that was slowly morphing into a monster) and was told, in no uncertain terms, that they were NOT to re-print those tickets and ....there's nothing we can do.... yes...those two seats were sold at that time, on that day and at that shop...nothing we can do.... she has no receipt .....she's already been told no....etc; etc; etc.

I baulked at the she's already been told no bit. My hackles were raised.

I checked their website. They can help in some cases, very rarely, but it's discretionary. In cases where they do agree to reprint tickets you turn up with your account number, photo ID and.....the credit card used to purchase the ticket! I kid you not. According to our National Consumers Agency concert tickets do not fall under the Sale of Goods Act 1980....in actual fact the tickets themselves are deemed to be the receipt.  So they don't have to accept the Bank Statement then. Or my actual Laser Card.

They don't HAVE to. But they could use their discretion...right?? After all, these are hard recessionary times, lots of businesses are struggling and want to keep the customers that they have....right???

Wrong.

I contacted head Office again and this is where the Machine that is ticketmaster became more of an army. A veritable well trained Gestapo. They battened down the hatches, closed ranks...all-for-one and one-for-all and all that malarkey... and the shutters came crashing down one by one.

This time I spoke to Louise, who was extremely well trained in ticketmaster-speak. Sigh. That deja-vu feeling all over again ... sorry...nothing we can do...no you can't speak to the manager....you won't be told any different...no receipt means no re-printing of tickets.... etc; etc; etc.

If I'd been playing a record it would be broken by now.

Sigh...

I battled on bravely, in the face of immense adversity.... I queried all sorts of things like why am I paying a booking fee if he doesn't keep any supporting records to link a customer to a particular sale?

Because he's the agent..... apparently.

They are Head Office but he's his own company. A Franchise as it were. Responsible for his own records then? Quite a confusing set-up, I thought.  So I asked what instructions they give their franchises as regards the back-up records they require them to keep?? That is not information we give to the public...it is none of your concern... etc; etc; etc.


Oh yes it is darlin', when I'm in a dispute with you over frigging tickets! Okay, okay...I was stupid enough to lose them but this can't be the first time this has happened. Don't you even try to ensure that back up records are retained to support your customers?? Like...providing good...what's that phrase again?? Oh yeah.... Good Customer Service??? (Of course, it was afterwards that I realised they were only only concerned with following their strict policies ...to the letter...regardless of circumstances.)

I have to go...we only deal with phone and online bookings.... Right...you wanna get away from the mad/distraught lady too then??


Anyway suffice it to say although she was reasonably polite, Louise was very unhelpful. They are trained that way I guess. It seemed to me that once you're told "No" it STAYS "No" and therefore no discretion allowed. Under ANY circumstance. The only person that can allow discretion, I reckon, is a manager and I was refused access to a manager...even though I asked a number of times. I guess if the Louises of the company passed a caller on to a manager it would be akin to committing a cardinal sin and would be relentlessly punished. So good customer service goes by the way side.

The maddening thing is that I know of other similar situations where duplicate tickets were issued, or they were allowed into the venue without tickets. Yeah, that's right...no tickets. They phoned the shop and the shop could confirm that those seats were bought there. See....it CAN be done.

For some unfathomable reason they were brutally intent on being as unhelpful to me as possible... even though I blatantly played the Autism card and the recession card... in desperation. It seems to me that the main stumbling block was that I didn't have an account number with them. The shop I bought them in didn't support their sales with such supporting documentation and the one thing that displayed that information THEY put in an envelope WITH the tickets that I subsequently mislaid.

Was it really to much to expect that they should accept my Laser Card with supporting back up from my bank as proof of purchase?? After all my card could not have been used to purchase anything else other than those tickets that the shop sold at the exact same time my card was used.

In my opinion ticketmaster dealt with my inquiries in an under-handed, short-sighted, pedantic way. Morally reprehensible I feel.

They should take a step out from behind the many shutters they hide behind and realise...that there's a recession on. Value your customers.

Shame on you ticketmaster.

Although I got nowhere with ticketmaster and my issue went unresolved, Grand Canal Theatre displayed a far better business sense and showed how much they value their customers. I had a personal contact who made alternative arrangements for me to see the show. As a result of that fabulous Customer Service I bought my tickets for Fame The Musical directly from the Theatre. It's okay, I know exactly where I put these tickets!

I know the Grand Canal Theatre Box Office is run by ticketmaster but I was making a statement. Besides, it's run far better than Head Office with pleasant, understanding and customer orientated staff. With excellent business sense. Take a bow GCT. I will be frequenting your premises again.

But I will be avoiding ticketmaster and their shopping Centre booths as much as possible.

Here's some tips to avoid getting caught like me...

1) Don't lose your tickets! Simple as that. Never distractedly put them away...be aware of where you are putting them.

2) ALWAYS keep your receipt separately from your tickets.

3) Buy them direct from venues whenever possible. No handling charges either and they make customer accounts.

4)NEVER buy your tickets with cash. Absolutely no proof if you lose the receipt.

5) Avoid buying them in ticketmaster booths that don't keep records to link customers with individual sales. If this is unavoidable INSIST that they take down your name and details. I was advised that they have an option on their system to allow them do this but most choose not to. Joe-El Manuel knows nothing about this....

6) If you must buy them with ticketmaster then buy them online. More expensive but at least you get an email with an Account Number on it making it easier to provide proof of purchase.


And yes, the tickets did finally resurface. Two days ago, a week after the performance. Down the back of the settee. That I searched numerous times.....

xx Jazzy

NOTE: Names have not been changed to protect the guilty...they were advised, more than once, that I would be writing about this and neither made any objections.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Making Memories.......

Years ago when my parents were children, like so many other households at the time there wasn't a lot of money to spare. Especially in my mam's house, as my grandad died (fighting for the British army) when she was just 4 years old leaving behind 9 children for my nanny to rear, in a two bed house! My great-uncle acted as Santa Claus and he also somehow managed to bring them to the annual panto in the Gaiety Theatre. My mam and aunt have clear memories of this. He was making memories, you see.

In time I too was brought to the Gaiety Theatre to see the pantos. As an adult I got to perform there too! I remember going and I also remember going to the cinema for the first time.... Bedknobs and Broomsticks it was.


In both mine and my parents time there were limited shows to go see. Nowadays with all the touring UK reality TV talent-type shows there are lots to choose from. Of course we now also have a fabulous venue in the spanking brand new Grand Canal Theatre over-looking the Grand Canal Basin in Dublin, to entice ever more prestigious musical touring companies from the West End and Broadway.


After rocky beginnings and being asked to leave the cinema on his very first outing (God I hope that's not a lasting memory for him!) My WiiBoy is now of an age to enjoy these type of shows. In fact he is slowly becoming my companion for these events, starting with Britain's Got Talent 2009 in the O2, Dublin. Well, Mr Jazzy is quite simply not a fan. He can't understand how we could fork out so much money for these shows....even though Republic of Ireland football matches cost just us much. I know which are the better value too.... I've been to both!! That said, in these recessionary times both forms of entertainment could do more to bring more family-friendly packages to the market. The concession stands are also too expensive.

So, with all this in mind and after much ado about lost tickets and stand up rows with the horrible TicketMaster people, myself and WiiBoy finally got in to see the fabulous Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in the aforementioned Grand Canal Theatre last week.




Oh, we were so excited and decided to make an event out of it! WiiBoy was full of chat the whole time. Right through the show too I might add! I had to remind him on numerous occasions about using his "inside voice"!

We met Mr Jazzy for pizza before the show and somehow managed to keep the saga of the lost tickets a secret ;-) We then walked.... well Mr Jazzy and I walked, WiiBoy hopped, skipped and jumped, all the way to the Theatre from Baggot Street!

The Theatre is in  lovely setting I must say, in the docks area. There is a lovely space outside, leading to the Grand Canal Basin with stone "creations" that doubles as an after-show playground for the children (no doubt it shouldn't!) and these big...well.....sticks. I remember getting an explanation for these when we did the Viking Splash Tour 2 years ago (OMG...that was like my 2nd Blogpost ever! Click on the link for a laugh!) I think the explanation was something to do with stilts?? Anyway...they look ridiculous during the day but at night they light up and look like StarWars light sabers! Way cooler!



Anyway, I digress. We actually did make it inside the Theatre ..... to our fabulous new seats in the stalls no less! Oh, It was fabulous. It's been a while since I've been to a professional show where money is no object. 
The sets were wonderful and the transitions between scenes perfection.

I'd heard a lot of good reports about the show and heard Matt Cooper say over on Today FM that after seeing this show he'd never bring his kids to see panto again!!

Now I loved this show, I really did. But I couldn't help but see a comparison, as teensy as it was, between it and...well....pantomimes. I'll probably be lynched for this but, there you have it. The audience  although devoid of scrunchy/noisy sweet wrappers and crisp bags was full of kids. The show had lots of one-liners that were topical  and  that had double entendres. The spies were the hilarious none-to-wise characters that are always present in pantos.The Baddie (The Child Catcher) was booed and hissed at in true panto style and the baron deviated from his lines to tease welcome the Irish audience! And there was a silly-named other country.... Vulgaria! Just saying.....

WiiBoy of course questioned all the jokes and one-liners throughout. We enjoyed the musical numbers. We liked  Tout Sweets. Hushabye Mountain was lovely with the starry sky...I always liked that moment in the movie. And I really loved Me Ole Bamboo! A great rousing dance number. The audience were all happily clapping along but I was too engrossed in the dance routine, comparing it to the movie version! All the while WiiBoy was constantly asking the same question... "Mum, what's...."  So engrossed was I that I blocked him out (I'd answered tons of questions already!) He was quite cross with me at the end and insisted that I answer... "MUUM, what is The Ol' Man's Boots??"!! Could have been worse. I'm surprised he didn't say Ol' Man Boobs!! He also wanted the Baroness (who was hilarious) to exact her revenge by the end of Chu-Chi Face! My favourite was Doll on The Music Box....love, LOVE that song! It finished to rapturous applause from everyone but me. I needed a moment you see. I clasped my hands to my chest with a big stupid grin on my face and savoured the moment before I could join in! Magical. Oh, I loved ALL the numbers, truly I did!

Of course the real magical moment was when the car "flew". It was fabulous with a big starry sky background with an almost 3D effect. They ended the show with this too. And a well deserved standing ovation as we all sang along to the title song.

Loved it, Loved it, loved it!

It was Truly Fantasmagorical!

We can now say been there, done that and got the T Shirt!




Children today get so much and go everywhere, it seems, so I do hope by bringing WiiBoy to these events I am making memories for him whilst also instilling a love for Musical Theatre and live productions that will forth with him into his adult hood.

xx Jazzy

Keeping Busy

School Holidays can be very long so I like to keep Wiiboy busy during the summer break. To keep him occupied and to create opportunities for lots of play with other children. And more importantly..... to keep him off his damn xbox! In fact, I've kept us both so busy in the last few weeks that I've denied myself access to my own favourite toys. Namely: Facebook, Blogs and Twitter!

July, the first month of the school holidays, is now over. I have to say it has flown by. Poor WiiBoy doesn't know what's hit him with all the activities!

In the last few years I've signed him up for some mainstream Summer Camps and they've been very successful.

Three weeks ago he did a fun Gym/sports summer camp. Yeah...he played games! It's his third year to do this camp so he's well used to it and there were no problems. Well, none that I was informed of, so that's good! That was the week that I got a break. Seems like a lifetime ago now!

Two weeks ago he did the WhizzKids Summer Camp. That was fantastic. Yes, he was on a computer for a lot of the time but I reckoned as he spends a lot of time on computer/consoles anyway that it would be very beneficial to use this interest in a more constructive way. He got to create his own website and did some film-making as well. He seemed to enjoy it but said some of the other kids "annoyed" him. I didn't pay much heed and he just got on with it.

As that camp was the far side of the city I had to keep myself busy while I waited for him.

I did lots of things. I made two trips to the gym. I did some shopping, visiting shopping centres I haven't been to in years...Omni Park has grown I see...and I visited a new one for the first time...The Pavilions. Very nice.... I liked it.

I drove around the area I grew up in and went to school in. Oh my, I sure did feel my age! I passed by my
Primary School: Larkhill National School. It was a typical catholic school where segregation was the order of the day, with the boys and girls in almost identical separate buildings to the one pictured below!

 

I was struck by how much like an institution it looks, like one of those places that child abuse went on in. Not that it was such a place. I remembered that they did hit us in school, ruler on the hand type of thing, as was typical at the time. Actually, both my parents and my aunts and uncles went to this school before me. I think more physical disciplining took place in their era than in mine.

That reminded me of a teacher that taught both me and my mother.... Ms Mc C. She was mean. Not only did she use the ruler but she'd drag you from behind the desk by your ears! Oh, and she had a nickname....Biddy Burst The Bucket! We would call her this most days. Not to her face of course, oh no..... from the top of the school bus as we passed her by!! Children can be mean too, I guess!

I got to meet up with some friends too! Both new and old. Thank you Looking For Blue Sky for the cuppa and chat! Thanks also to my facebook/show pal D.C. whom I finally got to meet face-to-face and I got to meet his cousin too! We had a lovely lunch.

I also got to visit my childhood friend. We've known each other since I was 7 and she was 5 and we haven't seen each other in a few years. Oh, it was so good to see her and her lovely family. Her gorgeous girls and handsome son who have all grown up lovely. It was so nice to see them that I went back again on the Friday after camp so they could meet WiiBoy again.

My friend was impressed. He never stopped talking from the moment he arrived! She remarked that the last time he visited there was very little interaction from him. I didn't realise it was so, I must have just been so used to it at the time.My friend was so happy to see such huge improvements.

WiiBoy spent a lot of time talking to my friend's husband, F as he had an interest that Wiiboy was also very interested in. He was so interested that he got  a present of one. Yes, there has been a new addition to the Jazzy house! Stay tuned, all will be revealed soon ;-)

That was an enjoyable but tiring week. Which was quickly followed by another highly enjoyable and exhausting week!

This week saw us complete our Musical Theatre Summer Camp! It went well and I think the children enjoyed it. They were a lovely group of children who seemed to gel very well together. It was interesting dealing with the different dynamics within the group, seeing how they interacted with each other and how they made accommodations for the Special Needs children. Having WiiBoy with me "at work".... that was quite interesting indeed. He got to take reprimands from others, in my company, which was very good..A learning curve for all I think. It was also, ahem, interesting dealing with 11 year old crushes! I'd forgotten how devastating and  overwhelming Tweenage Crushes can be. WiiBoy got what this was about, I think, but when asked if he had a crush on anyone the reply was an emphatic NO! And long may it stay that way.......

And somewhere in the middle of all the above I managed to lose something that I had just purchased. Also, on a brighter note, myself and Mr Jazzy celebrated our 13th Wedding Anniversary  and I manged not to fall asleep into my Chicken Tikka Shaslik! I now realise that I missed out on an opportunity for some lace lingerie! However I did get a lovely bouquet of flowers <3



A strange sort of calm has now descended on the Jazzy household and hopefully we get to do all the things on my wish list of summer activities that has been sidelined due to all the above activities!

And just to give us something to look forward to I've just booked us a five day break in our Hideaway Holiday Haven for the end of August!

Ah.... life is good!

xx Jazzy
- DESIGNED BY ECLAIR DESIGNS -