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Many Happy Returns

March 5, 2014

No, not birthday ones. I mean how I got to see “Henry V” recently. Browsing for other information, I suddenly thought, “oh, wonder if there’s anything” and took a look. There, shining at me, was a single ticket for a date I could make, and at a reasonable price too.

There’s a certain joy in that, and I think it is somewhere the computer scores over the telephone.

I well remember spending an afternoon on the phone, trying every ticket agency just to get a single seat for something – and hearing the boredom (OK, disguised hostility, well, not that well disguised) in the clerks’ voices when I asked them to see if they had a ticket for something they’d already told a hundred others “no” to.

Online, you can check as often as you like – and you can get lucky. I’m not saying it’s perfect. There’s that disappointment when the time lag means somebody else actually has the ticket held already, and you can’t get it to your own basket. Still, it often works.

Once more, though, the dead hand of “dynamic pricing” kills the pleasure, if the seat is a good one (or, frankly, pretty rubbish but still in the mid stalls or dress circle) it gets a “premium” pricing. Not for me, alas.

Occasionally, to be fair, it works the other way, with the seats sold at the last moment more cheaply, but that’s rare.

So, perfection would be a single page where a theatre chain could post all the returns and dates, at fair prices, for the lucky and quick to pick off. Then, they can experience the fun I always have chatting to the fellow “return” owners about just how lucky we were. Sharing another pleasure, what could be better?!

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