Saturday, January 27, 2007

At the Box Office...They're Standing in Line

As Eugene drove home from work last week, he saw a sign advertising a Billy Joel concert in the Chicago Area in April. We're fans; we saw him perform with Elton John a couple of years ago and really enjoyed the show. So we invited a couple of friends to join us, and they accepted. I was designated the buyer of the tickets, which went on sale this morning. They weren't available through Ticketmaster, and since the venue is quite close to us, I decided I'd go to the box office and buy the tickets there.

Since it was Saturday, we wound up sleeping in. I got ready as quickly as I could and was at the Sears Centre by 8:30, an hour and a half before the tickets went on sale. There was already about forty people in line. I found out later that the first person in line had arrived at 4:00 a.m. Right behind him was a group of people with blankets playing cards; they'd arrived at 5:30. It was a good thing we got to wait inside. I'd brought a book, so I spent most of the wait reading, occasionally talking to the people around me.

Around 9:30, one of the employees came out to talk to us. (By this point, I don't know how many people were behind me, but the line snaked down the hall as far as I could see.) He said that we didn't have a better chance of getting good seats for coming here and that everyone might not get tickets. He suggested calling in for tickets while we waited in line. One guy even brought a laptop to search online!

The tension grew as the minutes passed. Several people called in before my cell phone said it was time, but they couldn't get through. I called the ticket number several times myself but got a busy signal each time. But I didn't have to try too many times; there were eight open windows at the box office, so the line moved quickly. It also helped that the woman right in front of me left when her husband at home got tickets.

When I got to the window, the woman told me the floor seats were already sold out. She did have some seats on the lower level in the second row, so I took them immediately. Eugene was later amazed that in six minutes (the time I had to wait), half of the venue was sold out. But I'm glad I bought the tickets in person. The wait wasn't too bad, and I got decent seats without having to add on extra fees. Can't wait for the show!

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