YouOverThere

Charge for willcall???

31 posts in this topic

I managed to get back to Denver in time to take in 1 more performance of [ballet Colorado's] Dracula, but when I bought a ticket online I found that the CB has instituted a $5 charge for the "privilege" of picking up my ticket at the willcall window!!!

Share this post


Link to post

... I got there at 1:45 for the 2:00 show, and walked up to the Will Call window. The guy said "We don't have a ticket printed out for you. The only printer is at the Box Office window, so you'll have to get in the box office line." One look at the length of that line (the longest that I've ever seen at the Colorado Ballet!) told me that there was no chance that I'd make the start of the performance. I ended up missing about half of the first act, and watched the second half from the rear of the theatre because it was too dark to find my seat. Completely inexcusable IMO, especially when I was charged both a $5 fee for having my ticket held at the Will Call window and a $6 "convenience charge" for buying my ticket ahead of time. The Colorado Ballet just can't seem to stay out of its own way.

Share this post


Link to post

Completely inexcusable IMO, especially when I was charged both a $5 fee for having my ticket held at the Will Call window and a $6 "convenience charge" for buying my ticket ahead of time.

Out of curiosity, I looked back at some ticket orders in the past year to see how these charges compare. For orders placed and paid for on the internet, here's what different theaters are charging:

*Vail Dance Festival: $8 internet fee + $1 handling fee + $10 mailing fee! They mail out old-fashioned print tickets

*ABT/Met: $11 service charge for tickets you print out at home (that's $11 per order)

*NYCB: $10 handling fee for tickets ordered and paid for on-line. They also still mail out old-fashioned print tickets

*UCI Barclay Theatre: $3/ticket for on-line ordering service charge; you print out the ticket yourself

*Colorado Ballet: $10 for an on-line order, printing out your own tickets

*OCPAC: 10% of ticket price is added as a "convenience charge" for ordering on-line and printing your own tickets

It looks like everybody is tacking on significant fees. I guess I don't mind if the people responsible for processing everything are people who need jobs here! I don't know what Colorado has outsourced in their ticketing, but given that they receive over half a million dollars a year from the state government, I wish they would find a way to keep those jobs in Colorado, whatever they are.

Share this post


Link to post

YouOverThere: your experience adds new meaning to the phrase: "adding insult to injury."

*ABT/Met: $11 service charge for tickets you print out at home (that's $11 per order)

*NYCB: $10 handling fee for tickets ordered and paid for on-line. They also still mail out old-fashioned print tickets

[ ... ]*Colorado Ballet: $10 for an on-line order, printing out your own tickets

These are really out of line when compared to the add-ons charged by ballet, opera, and theater companies in my part of the country. $10 or $1 to print out YOUR OWN ticket YOURSELF???? Sounds like someone at these box offices have been learning lessons from the airlines.

Share this post


Link to post

Seems like it would almost be easier to just add the "fees" onto the ticket price. I mean Ticketmaster has been doing these crazy fees for years, but a convienence charge? Really? Really. That was the point of the willcall window, the convenience!

It's just like the airline industry with the baggage and so called security fees.

C'mon!

Share this post


Link to post

A CB insider who used to post here occasionally told me that the CB instituted the fee to try to get people to print out their own tickets (so they can save money by not staffing the Will Call window?). The fee is insignificant compared to the aggravation of missing part of the performance because they hadn't printed out my ticket.

I wonder if some companies will start charging for programs. The Colorado Ballet already puts posters with the cast list in the lobby and the Ellie Caulkins Opera House has an electronic system for displaying program notes built into the seatbacks, so programs really aren't required.

Share this post


Link to post
I wonder if some companies will start charging for programs. The Colorado Ballet already puts posters with the cast list in the lobby and the Ellie Caulkins Opera House has an electronic system for displaying program notes built into the seatbacks, so programs really aren't required. [emphasis added]

I have no problem with paying for a program, but hate the idea of electronic programs on the backs of seats.

Without a paper program, lovingly (or luckily) preserved for future collectors, how would anyone know that on February 16, 1937, Fonteyn and Helpmann danced the pdd from Les Patineurs, or that in 1931 Alicia Markova and Frederick Ashton performed at the midnight ballet party in aid of Queen Charlotte's hospital, or that on November 25, 1956, Ninette de Valois gave a lecture, "Ballet and the Contemporary Scene", at the Atlanta Woman's Club Auditorium? As a collector myself, the idea of 'electronic programs' makes me shudder! :crying:

Back to the topic of 'fees' attached to ticket purchases, I'm curious: when tickets are purchased by phone from the dance venue -- e.g., an opera house or where ever the company performs -- I always assumed that it's not an outside ticketing agency providing the service but someone working in the venue box office and that any fees went to (at best) the company or (at worst) the venue. Where do these fees go?

Share this post


Link to post

I've been to a couple of events this year where the presenters decided not to print programs, and it was extremely frustrating. In one case, they projected the credits for each dance before the individual work, so at least we knew what we were seeing. In the other case, they ran a crawl before the show as a whole, of all the credits -- if your memory was poor, you were at sea.

As a critic, I use the program to keep track of which performance I've seen, mark changes in casting and other acts of the gods. But long before I started writing about dance I kept my programs -- they're very important to my memories of the theater.

Some years ago I gave a series of talks about the history of ballet in Russia for a local festival presenter -- they were bringing the Bolshoi to town and it was a promotional thing. I did one talk at a senior center, and at the end several people approached me, each carrying a program from a performance they'd seen in the past. Most of them were from recent tours, but a few were from Ballet Russe productions in the 1930s. Those programs represented an amazing experience for them, so important that they'd saved them when they'd lost track of many other things. I was honored that they would show them to me, and thrilled that the art form I'm obsessed with had given them such joy.

I think it's a very shoddy kind of cost-savings stunt to forgo offering a program.

Share this post


Link to post

Back to the topic of 'fees' attached to ticket purchases, I'm curious: when tickets are purchased by phone from the dance venue -- e.g., an opera house or where ever the company performs -- I always assumed that it's not an outside ticketing agency providing the service but someone working in the venue box office and that any fees went to (at best) the company or (at worst) the venue. Where do these fees go?

My impression is that the ticket vendor provides the computer system for the company's box office, so that even if you buy your ticket by phone or at the box office window the ticket vendor gets a chunk of the money. I think that a big part of the problem is that in the USA there is a single company that controls virtually all ticket sales, and without any significant competition they can charge inflated fees.

Share this post


Link to post

Well, the Colorado Balleth is already starting to reap bad publicity after this particular cost-cutting measure. (Thanks, Mme. Hermine, for that link to the Denver Post article.)

It sounds like another case in which "a call center in India" is not necessarily the most efficient solution to a U.S. company's problems.

Share this post


Link to post

I've been to a couple of events this year where the presenters decided not to print programs, and it was extremely frustrating. In one case, they projected the credits for each dance before the individual work, so at least we knew what we were seeing. In the other case, they ran a crawl before the show as a whole, of all the credits -- if your memory was poor, you were at sea.

As a critic, I use the program to keep track of which performance I've seen, mark changes in casting and other acts of the gods. But long before I started writing about dance I kept my programs -- they're very important to my memories of the theater.

Some years ago I gave a series of talks about the history of ballet in Russia for a local festival presenter -- they were bringing the Bolshoi to town and it was a promotional thing. I did one talk at a senior center, and at the end several people approached me, each carrying a program from a performance they'd seen in the past. Most of them were from recent tours, but a few were from Ballet Russe productions in the 1930s. Those programs represented an amazing experience for them, so important that they'd saved them when they'd lost track of many other things. I was honored that they would show them to me, and thrilled that the art form I'm obsessed with had given them such joy.

I think it's a very shoddy kind of cost-savings stunt to forgo offering a program.

My husband and I went to see Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake at City Center last night. We were handed the usual Playbill program, replete with an article about City Center's 2010-2011 dance season, a description of the ongoing renovations, an interview with Matthew Bourne, and photos and bios of everyone on the creative team and in the (large) cast -- everything except a cast list for the evening's performance! Since there are alternate casts for the lead roles, you'd think the producers might have at least slipped a loose sheet of paper into the program listing the evening's principals. Did they think nobody cared? By the time we got home, City Center had taken down the cast list on the "buy tickets" page and there was no way to figure out who was who. I think I know who I saw as The Swan / Stranger (he was terrific, whoever he was) and The Queen, but can't quite make out from the cast photos who was The Prince. Somebody needs to call the union and get a clause added to the contract that says "Whenever I am the star of the evening it will be duly noted in the program" or words to that effect.

Share this post


Link to post

Well, the Colorado Balleth is already starting to reap bad publicity after this particular cost-cutting measure. (Thanks, Mme. Hermine, for that link to the Denver Post article.)

It sounds like another case in which "a call center in India" is not necessarily the most efficient solution to a U.S. company's problems.

Unfortunately, in the USA your only choices are to use the overpriced monopoly or to go with a foreign ticket vendor.

Share this post


Link to post

I know this is going to sound naive, but why exactly would a ballet company have no other choice than to use the Overpriced Monopoly? Are there regulations placed on who can sell their tickets when they use a particular venue? Do they have no choice in the matter at all? Seems a little odd.

Share this post


Link to post

I know this is going to sound naive, but why exactly would a ballet company have no other choice than to use the Overpriced Monopoly? Are there regulations placed on who can sell their tickets when they use a particular venue? Do they have no choice in the matter at all? Seems a little odd.

TicketMaster/LiveNation is essentially the only US ticket vendor (TicketMaster has managed to absorb most of its competitors). The person to whom I complained about my ticket snafu said that there simply wasn't any other choice but to go with a foreign company, given that the Colorado Ballet was struggling to meet TicketMaster/LiveNation's high fees.

Share this post


Link to post

The newest charge (in addition to the Handling and Processing fees discussed above) is the "facility fee". I think this started with Broadway shows, and it has now expanded to the Met Opera and Avery Fisher Hall here in New York. So far the Koch Theater does not have a facility fee, but I suspect it's only a matter of time.

Share this post


Link to post

Well evidently it's a condition of renting the theater. Boo hiss.

Share this post


Link to post

Well evidently it's a condition of renting the theater. Boo hiss.

The Met Opera is not renting the opera house. It is their home base. Ditto with the organizations at Avery Fisher. The facility fee is just another way of squeezing additional income out of the customer, but hiding the additional charge until the end of the purchase transaction.

Share this post


Link to post

Actually I was talking about Colorado and their theater with TicketMaster.

Share this post


Link to post

Actually I was talking about Colorado and their theater with TicketMaster.

"Facility fees" are pretty common in Denver. My recollection is that I paid "facility fees" when I bought tickets for the local professional hockey team even though the arena is owned by the same company that owns the hockey team.

Share this post


Link to post

The Colorado Ballet doesn't seem to have been impressed by my suggestion that they refund my will call and convenience charges, despite the fact that my ticket was not available at the will call window and that I derived no "convenience" from ordering online since I had to stand in line at the box office anyway.

Share this post


Link to post

I thought most programs in the US were free because they were subsidized by advertisers.

In Paris, you get a printed cast list for free. If you want a program, it's 10 Euros. That's much better than when I traveled in Europe as a student and couldn't afford the programs, which was the only way to get the cast list (although Paris might have been different even back then).

YouOverThere, I think it's inexcusable that you ordered a ticket in advance, and they didn't have it printed out for you. Even moreso that if it was an error, they didn't walk or call over to have them expedite it ahead of ticket sales. But they had your money in hand, and eager people waiting to put more cash in theirs...

Share this post


Link to post

YouOverThere, I think it's inexcusable that you ordered a ticket in advance, and they didn't have it printed out for you. Even moreso that if it was an error, they didn't walk or call over to have them expedite it ahead of ticket sales. But they had your money in hand, and eager people waiting to put more cash in theirs...

The ticketing dept. at the Colorado Ballet has been a source of frustration for years, and the reason that I bothered to complain was more about trying to get them to pay attention to the problem than about the $11. The administrative side at the CB has always lagged behind the artistic side, though last year things seemed to be improving. Unfortunately, a number of key people left.

Share this post


Link to post

It's a very bad idea to anger loyal patrons with slap-in-the-face policies.

Share this post


Link to post