September 26, 2018

KANTOR | “Convenience” Fees

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I’ve got something to air out. And no, it’s not about the football team. I thought they played pretty well against Yale actually. But moral victories don’t count, some may say.

My grievance is about something else. In fact, it’s not a even about a specific sport.

I come to you today to complain about Cornell Athletics Ticketing — specifically, men’s hockey season ticket renewal. To put it simply, the ticketing office dropped the ball Tuesday and Wednesday morning this week.

If you’re not familiar with how men’s ice hockey season ticket renewals work, let me explain it briefly. Depending on how many years you’ve held your tickets, you are given a specific day to select your seats for the season. And on that specific day, the seat selection goes live at a random time between 7 and 9 a.m. — bright and early.

As a passionate Cornell hockey fan, I care about where I’m sitting the whole season. Therefore, I planned on being awake and ready to go to avoid the risk on missing out on my preferred seats.

At 6:55 a.m. Tuesday, I eagerly opened up the ticketing website in preparation. 7 a.m. comes around, and to my dismay, I can’t select my seats.

It’s no big deal though. I don’t believe the site went live until 8 a.m. last year. So I sit there patiently, refreshing every five minutes or so, hoping maybe, just maybe, I can get seats against the glass for my senior year. Yet, 30 minutes go by and still nothing.

Nevertheless, I am hopeful that 8 a.m. is the sweet spot just like last year. At 7:59, I anxiously wait for the clock to change. But again, it was all for naught. Still no seats.

I honestly can’t tell you how many times I hit refresh that morning of Sept. 25. Rest assured, it was a lot. And sure enough, as the clock struck 9, I was still without a seat. I completely wasted two hours that I probably would’ve spent sleeping during this busy prelim season.

Yet I just sat there for the following several minutes, unsure of what to do. I considered going back to sleep, but I was afraid I would still miss out. Several minutes go by before an email popped into my inbox explaining the snag.

As it turns out, the company that hosts the ticketing system had an outage and was unable to make the tickets go live in the set window. Therefore, we were told to do it all again the next morning, albeit with a start time between 7 and 7:15 a.m.

To be fair, it’s not exactly the ticketing office’s fault that the delay occurred. That’s all on the ticketing host. But perhaps Cornell could have told us about the outage earlier and let us sleep. But so be it.  At least this time I didn’t have to wait in a two hour window for the site to go live. Now I could just wake up Wednesday, pick my seats by 7:15, and go back to bed.

So when the site went live at 7 a.m. on the nose, I was excited — for about 10 seconds. I clicked the link to pick my seats and the site immediately started glitching and lagging.

Not only were my chances at getting seats against the glass long gone, I couldn’t even get past the seat selection page without getting booted back to the beginning. It was like pre-enroll morning all over again.

After 19 minutes of failure and frustration, another email from Cornell Athletic Ticketing appeared. Long story short, I had to reply to the email with a screenshot of my reserved seats so they could manually put it in my cart to purchase later that day.

Come Wednesday evening, I finally have my seats and I appreciate Cornell Athletics Ticketing for rectifying the situation. I can’t wait to join the Lynah Faithful and cheer on the Red this season.

Having said that, the process was way harder than it needed to be. Perhaps we should revert to lining up overnight like the good old days if it’s going to be such a headache.

But here’s the best part.

After all was said and done, and after the inconvenience the ticketing office put me through, they still had the nerve to charge me and everyone else a $5 convenience fee.

I guess we just have different definitions of convenience.