Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I went to Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey circus at the San Antonio AlamoDome. It was fun enough, though my girlfriend and I both felt underwhelmed afterwards. Now, I hate to be the ass that dislikes the circus, but somewhere along my (very slow) maturation process, I think the circus may have fallen under the category of "things that are fun, but only with children".

On one hand, you have to hand it to them. R.B.B.B has by and large refused to update their acts, which is kind of honorable in its own way. There are tigers, there are elephants, there are clowns, there are jugglers; there's magic, a man gets cut in half, another gets stretched. Things appear, things disappear. It is all very classic, and was very close to the R.B.B.B I remember seeing as a child about 20 years ago.

Now, my memory is far less than eidetic, but I might venture that the music was the only thing that was substantially different at this performance, compared to the one that lives in my memory. The music of this one was... bombastic. There were girls on stage (I was too far to tell if they were clowns) in pseudo cheerleader outfits who chanted things between acts. There was also a fair amount of rap/R-and-B being thrown from the loudspeakers at interval. Personally, I felt the music was garish, but my opinion may be somewhat painted as I really couldn't make out what was being said.

R.B.B.B's circus is still good. It is fun enough to watch. I would recommend spending a little so that you can get seats closer to the front, as being unable to actually make out the performers faces greatly diminishes the show. Still, good time, but probably a lot better if you actually have children accompanying you.

Anyway, I am bored of talking about the circus, lets talk about the tickets to the circus.

TicketMaster. May they burn in hell. If the DOJ would ever get off their arthritic good-for-nothing asses, they would immediately split up TicketMaster for being the anti-competitive monopoly that they so clearly are. Let me break down our "above and beyond the the cost of the tickets" charges.

Facility Charge
US $1.00 x 2
Convenience Charge
US $3.85 x 2
Additional Taxes
US $0.32 x 2
Order Processing Fee
US $4.88
Will Call
No Charge
Total extra charges?
US $15.22

Sweet baby Jesus? The tickets had a base price of $10 dollars, ($8 with the freely available public discount, $3 dollars with a military discount). This means that even if you paid the full price for the tickets (which you shouldn't), the additional fees still add more than a 75% premium to the cost of the ticket! 75 percent!!! If you get any sort of discount, the fees actually more than DOUBLE the cost of the ticket? They call that a convenience fee? How in the world does it work that the people selling the tickets make almost as much if not more than the actual act? How can TicketMasters charges add up to more than the cost of renting the bloody AlamoDome? Just does not add up. Reeks of price manipulation.

You are probably thinking, "Stephen, then don't buy your tickets through TicketMaster, silly". Well there is the rub, you can't! If a venue sells through TicketMaster, then they most likely only sell through TicketMaster. In my experience, for most shows these days, TicketMaster is your ONLY choice when buying tickets. How is this even remotely legal?

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