Leadership / 02.10.21
We Love An Encore: More True Tales from the Ticket Office!
Have you ever seen the clip from the TV show “New Adventures of Old Christine” — you know, the one where she tries to buy two orchestra seats to The Rolling Stones on the night of the show? The only version I can find online is blurry, but it is so funny that I keep coming back to it again and again anyway.
I laugh at the same lines every time, too. When the ticketing professional asks, “Is the front row OK? Wait, I might have something a little bit closer. Two tickets right on stage?
And then, after Old Christine agrees to take those seats, “How high are you? We’re completely sold out! It’s The Rolling Stones!”
So she asks, “If you don’t have tickets, then why are you even open?” (Be sure to watch the clip!)
Oh, customers. We love it when you ask these kinds of questions and say funny things!
Back in early January, we published, “A Customer Asked You What?! True Stories from the Ticket Office” on INTIX Access. It was full of entertaining questions and comments from customers just like Old Christine. We posted the story to our social channels, too. Our ticketing community responded — and your stories are too funny to keep to just our own inbox and social feeds.
So, without further ado, we bring you more absolute hilarity in the form of true stories from the ticket office!
Scott Dermody of Toronto, Canada, has met customers just like Old Christine. “I need four ‘Disney On Ice’ tickets for tonight,” said one. “How we laaaughed,” says Scott.
“We had a woman buying a single ticket to an oldies R&B show,” says Sarah Goodson of Tallahassee, Florida. “She asked us to look at the names of the people sitting next to the seats we had available to see if any of their names sounded like a sexy single man, and then for us to sit her next to that person.”
This picture is worth a thousand words as the saying goes. Danielle Pope of Augusta, Georgia, asked a scalper once if she could take a picture with his sign:
A few years back, when Hatti Simpson was in her early 20s, she ran a ticket office for a drum and bass nightclub that took place about once a month. Doors opened at 10 p.m., the event ended around 6 a.m. — and these could be pretty wild nights!
Hatti’s ticket office was located across from the St. John Ambulance area and the holding pen, which held anyone who needed to be picked up by the police. Oh, my!
And, lucky for us, Hatti kept a record of all her favorite customer interactions.
*Customer hands over card*
Hatti: “Are you collecting tickets?”
Hatti: “Are you buying?”
Customer: “No. You’ve got my ticket.”
Hatti: “So, you’re collecting. Is this the card you paid with?”
Hatti: “Do you have the card you paid with?”
Customer: “I haven’t paid yet.”
Hatti: “So, you want to buy a ticket?”
Hatti: “Do you have a ticket already?”
Customer: “No, I need to buy one.”
* * * * *
Hatti: “Hello, can I have your full name please?
Customer: “Why do you need my name?”
Hatti: “So I can find your tickets”
Customer: “It’s Jess.”
Hatti: “And what’s your last name?”
Hatti: “Your name is Jess Jess?”
Hatti: “What’s your last name?”
Customer: “It’s Jess”
Hatti: “So, your first and last name are both Jess?”
Customer: “No, my tickets are under Jess.”
Hatti: “I need both your first and last name to be able to find your tickets.”
Hatti: “So, can I have your last name?”
Customer: “It’s Jess.”
Hatti: “Are your tickets here for collection?”
Hatti: “What’s your full name?”
Customer: “Why do you need that?”
Hatti: “So I can find your tickets.”
It turned out, even after all this and more, that neither the first nor the last name on the tickets was Jess.
* * * * *
Hatti also tells the story of a customer who was trying to get in a few minutes before doors closed, and he couldn’t seem to find his wallet. Instead, says Hatti, “he picked up my stapler from the counter and very sincerely handed it to me in offer of payment. Now, I was not responsible for buying office stationery, but I was fairly certain that staplers did not cost £28.”
Years ago, Maureen Andersen’s partner Deb Pollock worked as a ticketing professional, living through years of customer hijinks and shenanigans at the San Francisco Ballet. A favorite story is the time when Deb was asked about a Nutcracker seat location, for the bazillionth time, and how she would answer silly customer questions.
“Can I see the stage from that seat?” the customer asked.
“No,” said Deb. “It’s facing the wall, but we will provide you with a hand mirror so you can see the stage.”
More Silly Questions
Tracy Shunk Noll of Spring Mills, Pennsylvania, received a call recently asking for information about one of her venues. A former president of the university is buried outside the building and there is also a shrine, she explains. “The gentleman on the phone asked me if he was buried in the ground or in the walls of Schwab Auditorium. I told him that he was in the ground where the grave is marked,” says Tracy. “He said, ‘Are you sure he isn’t in the walls?’ I assured him he wasn’t in the walls, but he said he was going to do more research on the matter.”
“One concert we did was intermission free, which marketing included in their materials,” says Cate Foltin of Washington, Michigan. “A patron wanted to know why we would charge for intermissions.”
This story from Stephen Benson is equally hilarious! “When picking up tickets, a guest angrily asked, ‘You mean I paid all this money and I have to go upstairs and sit on a log?’ says Stephen. “They had Loge seats.”
“I once had a guest call and ask if the show was canceling because her street was flooded and she couldn’t get there,” shares Brandy Humphrey.
Jennifer Malbuisson of New York City had a Facebook memory pop up recently. “Two years ago today, I was asked if my theater had a salad bar.”
Hatti also shared this customer interaction with us.
Customer: “We’ve got some tickets.” [wiggles fingers] “Off the internet and that.” [sly wink] “You’ll sort me out with some free drinks, won’t you darling?” [taps nose]
“Needless to say,” says Hatti, “I did not.”
* * * * *
Then, there was this poorly attempted pick-up line:
Customer: “What’s your name?”
Customer: “How can I send an email to you?”
Hatti: “Just send it to the regular box office address.”
Customer: “I don’t think I’ve got that. Can I have your number instead, baby?”
Print at Home?
Mike Castle of Atlanta recalls a time when a customer didn’t have a printer at home. “So,” shares Mike, “he took the PDF of his ticket to the Walmart Photo Center and had it printed as a 4x6 glossy picture.”
Deb Gordon Gefre had a similar experience. “We had a $2 off coupon for a home and patio-type show printed on poster-size paper!”
Mike has also been asked, “I was emailed print-at-home tickets. Can I print them from my office instead?”
Or, perhaps even better, Melissa Gall from Sydney, Australia, has been asked of print-at-home tickets, “Do I have to print them out?"
“Back when ‘Les Mis’ first toured the U.S., we kept track and collected the top 100 pronunciations of the title,” recalls Maureen Andersen. “Somewhere that list remains, and we all know what was on it. Lee’s Miserable, Less Miserable, that Miss Herbals show.”
Lindsey Ann of Ankeny, Iowa, remembers a time when a customer asked for his original tickets to be voided because his ex-wife had them, he had paid for them and he wanted to attend the show. “She made it by the ticket scanners with her voided tickets because those beeps can’t possibly mean anything on entry, and we had to have her escorted out when he arrived.”
Diana Archer Bullion tells a story of processing mail orders, back when we accepted checks. “This particular order form was for an event that played different venues and included all venues on the form. The form said to make checks payable to ‘venue desired,’ and sure enough that is what the check was made out to: Venue Desired. I still have a copy somewhere.”
And what good tales from the ticket office story would be complete without a mention of will call? “It said Will Call,” shares Melissa O’Shea of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, “so I am calling you to tell you my purchase is complete."
One year, Kathleen Smith scheduled Easter too early. “The subscriber was mad I couldn’t move it to another weekend!”
Karen Diche agrees that the holiday calls are hilarious. “Yes, we can absolutely move the Super Bowl for your convenience.”
And more stories from Hatti! She recalls a time when a customer spotted the event promoter in the back of the ticket office eating a banana. The customer said, “Get your banana out! POTASSIUM POTASSIUM POTASSIUM!”
Honestly, we’re not sure what to make of that. Or these …
Customer (to Hatti): “Me eyebrows have come off. I look like a potato, don’t judge me.”
Customer coming up to Hatti’s counter, without introduction: “Tins of tuna save lives.”
On a New Year’s Eve club, with the front doors open all night, it was very cold, so Hatti would usually wear a furry coat to keep warm.
Customer: “Look at your coat!”
Hatti: “Yes, it’s very cozy.”
Customer: “Look at it!”
Hatti: “Yes, I am.”
Customer: “That is great. Where did you get it?”
Hatti: “The internet.”
Customer: “This is amazing. Can I touch it?”
Hatti: “Yes, you can.”
Customer: “Oh my [f-word] God. This is great. Well done!”
Hatti in her cozy coat, as well as the bunny ears that she often wore for club nights!
And, in closing, here is Hatti’s absolute favorite guest interaction of all time.
“A customer walked in and was about to collect her ticket, but then had to turn around and leave because her cat had followed her all the way to the venue and she had to take him back!”
Now that’s what we call bringing tales … er, tails … from the ticket office full circle!
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Tags: Leadership , Ticket Office