Give me a fucking break.
Tickets were $320 for nearly 6 months straight. You could have gotten a ticket for $40 cheaper at any time for nearly half a year. You could have also jumped on the various ticket sales in the Tickets forum if you wanted them cheaper and spent some time and effort doing so.
Instead, you're whining that you're paying the highest prices for tickets because you're buying tickets a month and a half before the event. To use your contractor analogy, you're acting like some entitled client who hires a contractor at the last moment and expects the same prices that you get if you had better forethought and planning. It's also like buying a airline ticket a week before you travel instead of a month or two. FYI, ticket prices haven't changed since 2009, so whatever perceived price "hike" you've experienced is the result of your own poor planning.
Nor do I find this practice unjustified. Time is money, and the ability to schedule yourself around predictable conditions is important. When I do contract work, if the client wants it done in a shorter time frame, the charges go up accordingly. Those who give me a lot of time and flexibility get the benefit of lower prices. If they want work done during busy times, yes, the charges go up too because juggling multiple projects at the same time is a pain. As a contractor, do you operate any differently? If you do, you're either extremely small-fry or a chump.
With tickets it's even more important to make sales early. An unsold ticket does nothing for you, and a ticket sold at the time of the event is money that you couldn't be using up until that time. The whole ticket tiering system in January is to provide a cash infusion for BMorg. After that, the ticket sales continue the fund the event. In the last stretch before the event, the price of tickets goes to $360, reflecting the scarcity of the tickets, and the problems that come with the last-minute sales. If it punishes people who procrastinate, that's what they get. Again, you had SIX MONTHS.
"The essence of tyranny is not iron law. It is capricious law." -- Christopher Hitchens
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