An idea to help ease the issues with tickets.

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An idea to help ease the issues with tickets.

Postby naugasnake » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:25 am

Maybe this idea has already hit eplaya, but perhaps not. I don't have the time to sift through the thousands of posts on the topic of 2012 ticket sales, so if this idea has already been tossed around, I apologize.

Of those 40,000+ tickets sold in the 3 day period of the lottery, it seems obvious that a huge percentage of those tickets sold were to burners looking to maximize their odds by requesting extra tickets. Weather it was by requesting 2 when they needed one, or by asking family and friends to order tickets for them. Either way, clearly there are a large number of people with more tickets than they need. To that I ask the following:

Has anybody considered asking those people if they simply want to return those tickets they don't need?

Yeah, it would likely be a truck load of work, and a big expense to the event. Certainly those credit card refund fees would rack up quickly. But considering the desperate state of ticket availability, offering no questions asked refunds could result in thousands of tickets going back into the pool of available tickets. I'm sure that there are many burners that would even consider absorbing the fees themselves just to avoid the hassle of selling through step, or other venues.

Needless to say, this would not be a fix all, but clearly there isn't one solution to solve this problem. Couple a refund process with the STEP program, and of course other ideas floating around, and I'm sure we can find a way to get tickets from the hands of people carrying extras into the hands of those desperately seeking said golden tickets.

Again, what I'm suggesting is a voluntary refund to those carrying extra tickets. Yes, its likely a lot of work, but putting tickets back into the hands of the organizers seems to me the best way of getting them into the hands of the rest of us.
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Re: An idea to help ease the issues with tickets.

Postby clerkkent » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:45 pm

I think that why they have the STEP program developed, to handle those returns (if they truly exist).

The problem is that if anyone has extra tickets, the first people they're going to offer them to are friends and campmates.. not just throw them back into the communal bucket.

Thus, I think the optimism in the STEP is overinflated.
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Re: An idea to help ease the issues with tickets.

Postby Peper » Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:39 pm

clerkkent wrote:I think that why they have the STEP program developed, to handle those returns (if they truly exist).

The problem is that if anyone has extra tickets, the first people they're going to offer them to are friends and campmates.. not just throw them back into the communal bucket.

Thus, I think the optimism in the STEP is overinflated.


Well, the problem is that they would rather donate or sell their extra ticket to friends since giving the ticket back is kind of like sending it into the void instead of helping someone - even though it does of course help.

Imagine a kickstarter website - TICKSTARTER - where art projects, themecamps etc. can add their projects and request the amount of tickets that they need to pull them off. I'm sure there still are lots of people out there who would love to donate or sell their tickets to projects that they want to see on the playa, as long as that option is made available to them. What do you guys think? :mrgreen:
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Re: An idea to help ease the issues with tickets.

Postby Stephendragonfly » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:39 pm

I hope that I am wrong, but I believe that a lot of tickets ended up in the hands of scalpers and opportunists this year. Some of the burners entered the lottery multiple times through proxies, that is by getting their friends and family to enter to increase their odds. In other words the lottery rewarded the cynics. Some of the cynics who got tickets only entered the lottery to make a little cash, as one guy said on another site, "I figured if I got two tickets I could sell my extra to pay for my whole trip." Scalpers are different. Last year's sellout was like blood in the water for these sharks. If BMorg had gone with the First come First serve model, the scalpers would have gamed that too. They are the pros at gaming ticket sales systems. They will game the Step system too. But the low income and Scholarship tickets need to be picked up at will call, so the scalpers won't go for those. Right now the pro scalpers are mostly sitting on their tickets, maybe putting a few out to test the waters to see how high a price they can get in the early running. Their business depends on maintaining an appearance of scarcity. The only silver lining I see is that BMorg is not well known to them, they aren't sure how the organization is going to react, so they may not have invested as heavily as they do in sports and concerts.

This is what happened with Giants Tickets after they won the World Series. The scalpers identified what would be the most popular games (weekends and afternoons) and maxed out every credit card that they collectively own. They bought up every ticket they could. The way that Major League Baseball maximizes their profit is to increase prices as more tickets sell, creating a scalpers' paradise. One scalper I talked to said he made over fifty grand last year on baseball tickets.

The Grateful Dead used to sell the tickets for their very popular News Year's Eve shows by mail with money orders only. Not everybody got tickets who sent in and nobody really knew for sure how they were selected, but if you lost out you were only out the cost of the stamp. But the scalpers today would swamp that system, they have organized and learned to take advantage of economies of scale.

What scalpers absolutely despise are non transferable tickets that have identification attached to them. I know that BMorg wants to keep ID away from tickets for radical inclusion principles, but if things keep up the way they have been going so far, radical inclusion will become the 1% Burning Man Festival of Catered Mega RVs.
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Re: An idea to help ease the issues with tickets.

Postby Zewlie » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:57 pm

Stephendragonfly wrote:What scalpers absolutely despise are non transferable tickets that have identification attached to them. I know that BMorg wants to keep ID away from tickets for radical inclusion principles, but if things keep up the way they have been going so far, radical inclusion will become the 1% Burning Man Festival of Catered Mega RVs.


I understand the ID/radical inclusion problem - but if you're already only accepting payment by credit card, it's not like you can claim to be entirely inclusive. If the last four digits of the card used for payment were printed on the ticket, perhaps just presenting the card would work.

Thanks for your post, by the way - being one of the ticketless, I'm really relying on the problem-solving/ticketing knowledge posts for catharsis. :wink:
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Re: An idea to help ease the issues with tickets.

Postby ZaphodBurner » Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:29 pm

clerkkent wrote:The problem is that if anyone has extra tickets, the first people they're going to offer them to are friends and campmates.. not just throw them back into the communal bucket.


IOW, the introverts are screwed, but the popular kids won't have a problem getting tickets. At least that ensures that Black Rock City is 100% beautiful people. Might be a good thing; you can't just show up. You have to make friends with Burners in advance. You have to participate outside of Black Rock City just to get into Black Rock City.

Might be something to it. No matter what, it's going to be a hell of an interesting social experiment.
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Re: An idea to help ease the issues with tickets.

Postby Stephendragonfly » Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:05 am

Zaph (may I call you Zaph?)
Here is a thought, what if the tickets weren't available online at all, but were distributed at Regionals and other Burning Man events only. That would discourage the scalpers and might decrease sparkleponies and touristas, while increasing knowledge and culture. There are a lot of downsides to this, areas with the most events would have the most representation, harder for total newbies to get in, more exclusive as opposed to inclusive culture. Perhaps some tickets could be made available by mail for people without access to any other events. At the very least people would have to be a bit more dedicated to the event to get in.
Just another random thought.
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Re: An idea to help ease the issues with tickets.

Postby Colonel Monk » Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:57 pm

Stephendragonfly wrote:
What scalpers absolutely despise are non transferable tickets that have identification attached to them. I know that BMorg wants to keep ID away from tickets for radical inclusion principles, but if things keep up the way they have been going so far, radical inclusion will become the 1% Burning Man Festival of Catered Mega RVs.


I don't think that this is a good enough reason to NOT do the non-transferrable tickets. Look, it's time that we all grow up - I HATE it that we have to have so many forms of ID and give our SS numbers to everyone for verification but it isn't gonna change. It simply isn't.

The single thing that made me so angry last year was seeing all these "Burning Man Packages" on ebay and the like - $5K for someone to buy your ticket, get you an RV, buy your wild costumes, make your food, blah blah. I harassed several of them on Ebay with responses like "Oh well we are just trying to finance our camp, we're not really scalpers" Ok then opportunists, it still sucks, and every ticket you sold to the Wall Street party animals was one more real burner that couldn't get a ticket.

This year with the lottery - well I don't know if it was actually random or not - and though I support the idea of radical inclusion to some point, hearing all the reports of long-time burners not being able to get a ticket and theme camps decimated with lack of tickets - this is insane! Should not your burning man pedigree count for something?

I really don't like to whine, but while some are trying to put a positive spin on the notion that there might be a lot of first-timers there this year, what about those of us that have invested so much time and energy into building art and flamethrowers and art vehicles? I'd be on easy street if I wasn't spending 1,000s of dollars every year investing in batteries and lights and motors and rickshaws and shade structures and stuff to give back to my community.

So now it's come to the point where we can't get a ticket? I'm starting to feel like I support radical EXCLUSION where you have to prove you're not some idiot gaper shithead yahoo who just came to BRC to get hammered and look at boobies.

So to recap, I support radical inclusion ALL THE FUCKING WAY UP TILL I CAN'T GET A TICKET. And then I can't.

I'm gonna go have a good cry now

hahahahaha
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Re: An idea to help ease the issues with tickets.

Postby hotmess » Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:27 pm

ZaphodBurner wrote: No matter what, it's going to be a hell of an interesting social experiment.


You said it!!!!!
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Re: An idea to help ease the issues with tickets.

Postby wraith » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:02 pm

Stephendragonfly wrote:Zaph (may I call you Zaph?)
Here is a thought, what if the tickets weren't available online at all, but were distributed at Regionals and other Burning Man events only. That would discourage the scalpers and might decrease sparkleponies and touristas, while increasing knowledge and culture. There are a lot of downsides to this, areas with the most events would have the most representation, harder for total newbies to get in, more exclusive as opposed to inclusive culture. Perhaps some tickets could be made available by mail for people without access to any other events. At the very least people would have to be a bit more dedicated to the event to get in.
Just another random thought.


It's an interesting idea, with some flaws. I don't know what you do for a living, but in the service industry, it's pulling teeth just to get some time off for TTITD. Time off an travel to hit the local regional as well just to maybe get tickets isn't really doable if I'm going to have a shot at not being just another weekender. :)
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Re: An idea to help ease the issues with tickets.

Postby Stephendragonfly » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:08 am

Colonel Monk wrote: I'm starting to feel like I support radical EXCLUSION where you have to prove you're not some idiot gaper shithead yahoo who just came to BRC to get hammered and look at boobies.
a

Okay Colonel,
How do weed out these "Unintelligent drooling excrement-topped yokels who came to BRC to become excessively inebriated and look at blue-footed seabirds" in advance of the event?
Should we include a brief written IQ test before purchase of tickets is allowed?
Maybe we should close the gates on Tuesday?
Can we just ban College Fraternities?

I was asked to Burning Man two years ago by a law firm who was taking their annual "team building" vacation to BRC. Knowing full well I couldn't go, I ran through the interview with them. I asked them about camping, "No, we're getting RVs." How do you feel about the preparations for spending a week in the desert, "We're getting a package from a guy who is going to cover everything; tickets, bikes, costumes, everything." What kind of art art you going to create, "What?? We are going for the party." What do you need me for? "Someone has to cook, clean, and do our laundry.." I thought, expletive, if this is the kind of people going to Burning Man these days, it sure isn't any place I want to be. My other friends convinced me that these guys were a very small minority. Incidentally, the law firm went to an all inclusive resort in the Virgin Islands last year. I guess Burning Man wasn't really for them.

I am of the opinion that the people who provided the lawyers with their Burning Man Package Deal are the worst kind of Burners. They make a mockery of everything that Burning Man is supposed to stand for. Does radical inclusion mean including people who don't get the concept??
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Re: An idea to help ease the issues with tickets.

Postby MiguelMenendez » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:12 am

ZaphodBurner wrote:
clerkkent wrote:The problem is that if anyone has extra tickets, the first people they're going to offer them to are friends and campmates.. not just throw them back into the communal bucket.


IOW, the introverts are screwed, but the popular kids won't have a problem getting tickets...

Might be something to it. No matter what, it's going to be a hell of an interesting social experiment.


I'm ordering one of these. I'll just wear it non-stop until I get a ticket.

http://shop.cafepress.com/burning-man-2012
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Re: An idea to help ease the issues with tickets.

Postby hotmess » Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:44 am

Stephendragonfly wrote:I am of the opinion that the people who provided the lawyers with their Burning Man Package Deal are the worst kind of Burners. They make a mockery of everything that Burning Man is supposed to stand for. Does radical inclusion mean including people who don't get the concept??


Well said my friend. How can someone who truly practices and believes in radical self reliance turn around and provide a package deal for people who don't understand the concept. Do they not understand that by providing this service they begin to dilute the pool of contributors and create a larger and larger community of burner tourists who show up and expect to be treated to a VIP experience at burning man without having staked down one piece of rebar or picking up one piece of moop. This kind of mentality is is slowing dissolving the glue that holds this community together and I would hope that these type of burner come to realize and cease this practice in the future.

It is one thing to be a leader and help organize your camp and coordinate the purchase of water and fuel. But it is quite another when you plan, organize, build, cook, clean and create for someone who simply wants to show up and not lift a finger. AND when Sunday rolls around packs up there car and leaves a pile of trash expecting "someone else" to take it back to the default world.
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Re: An idea to help ease the issues with tickets.

Postby 5280MeV » Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:46 am

Stephendragonfly wrote:Does radical inclusion mean including people who don't get the concept??


Absolutely. I don't really know how much of the concept I really get at this point - I am pretty shaken right now, but I do think that this is part of the secret recipe.

I think that had the law firm gone, at least one of those lawyers would have had an existential crisis, something would snap and change.

But you can't kick out the nurses to make room for more patients. There are a limited number of package deals that an event can transform before the package deals start to transform the event.

That is the challenge - one has to take a guiding principle and translate it into a workable public policy. I think the goal is to along the lines of bringing people in, respecting who they are, but strongly encouraging people to participate, rely on their own abilities, develop their own abilities, and develop their creative potential.

No realistic policy will perfectly embody a set of principles. That is why policy needs to adapt and evolve to conditions on the ground.

Clearly, bigger collaborative projects, more spectacular pyrotechnics, more stunning sculptures, and beautifully designed sound systems, along with rising ticket prices lead to more attempts to purchase the experience.

Policy must at once respect and encourage the dreams of these collaborations, while at the same time guiding them towards a sustainable system. Can you create a smaller and more intimate dance floor? Can you power a sound system with solar? Can you experiment with new pyrotechnic effects, with new materials, new architectural techniques? These beautiful projects have scaled up to a size which is too bright of a beacon luring too many people to the desert at once. The people that make them are getting burned.

A policy can reward experimental and interesting individual and collaborative efforts. If a collaboration can apply for a block of project tickets up to 20 members, then collaborative efforts are encouraged to grow or shrink to that size.

Are yahoos being drawn to the desert by too many open bars? Positively encourage camps that provide alternative hangouts, different culinary experiences.

Are yahoos being drawn to the desert by massive dance floors? Positively encourage sound camps that provide different and experimental forms of music - electronic or non-electronic.

At the same time, be careful. Too many forms of grants, discounts, and various overlapping encouragements and you end up with something that looks like the US tax code.

Will people game a system? Of course they will. That is why one has to be agile. One also has to leave a substantial number of tickets, if not the vast majority, to whoever it is that may want to come, even if these people don't know what it is or why they are coming.
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Re: An idea to help ease the issues with tickets.

Postby Dr Helix » Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:53 pm

hotmess wrote:
ZaphodBurner wrote: No matter what, it's going to be a hell of an interesting social experiment.


You said it!!!!!


So what's new?
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