Event ticket sales are an unnecessary farce

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In a world where almost everything from your weekly shop to our daily dose of social interaction occurs online, physical ticket sales for events seem a bit of an eccentricity, even for St Andrews. Essentially, in a community that seems to function entirely through Facebook and email, the sheer volume of balls and more ‘edgy’ nights out whose tickets are sold from pitiful, shabby-looking tables outside the library seems rather inconsistent.

It’s not even particularly logical. These tickets sales must be a thorough waste of time for everyone involved. The actual committee organising the ball generally sits outside wasting hours of their day trying to flog tickets to passing students just trying to get to class. Even the more self-important committees give themselves a lot more work than necessary.

Mermaids decorated and provided entertainment for their sales in order to give a ‘Christmassy vibe’, an ideal I feel that was somewhat lost on those desperately queuing at six in the morning. Ticket sales should not be an event in their own right; they are a means to an end at the very best. It’s clear it would be far easier for these groups to just sell their tickets online, fuss-free and in a time-efficient manner.

Actually going to buy these tickets is often a colossal pain for invitees. First of all, you have to actually be organised enough to plan on going out of your way to buy a ticket. Inevitably you’re probably going to be waiting in the cold and rain, on your own because you’re simultaneously buying tickets for your entire friend group and if it’s a popular ball, you’re probably there at crazy o’clock.

No one puts this amount of effort in to buying tickets for Glastonbury or Coldplay, but within a world of St Andrews logic, it is perfectly normal to do so in order to go to Christmas Ball. If you’re not one of the major events of the year, and instead are just desperately hard-selling tickets to all of your passing friends this is just a real waste of time. People aren’t going to buy tickets on the spur of the moment, they probably don’t have the cash. Equally, nothing is going to put people off going to an event more than approaching a sad lonely table, with posters sellotaped round the sides and a cold hipster clutching a thermos of tea.

So, all of the practical inefficiencies taken into account it remains virtually unclear to me why any committee would think this was a particularly great idea. The only plausible explanations would be an irrational fear of change or a sense of self-indulgence within event managers.

There must be something reasonably reassuring for the Mermaids committee, as literally hundreds of students star queuing at six in the morning for ticket sales that don’t start until 10 am. The KK boys probably quite enjoy strolling past a collection of tents and sleeping bags on a morning in May. Knowing that literally hundreds of people want to come to the event that you’re running and are willing to put themselves to considerable inconvenience to do so must be a little bit of an ego boost.

These ticket sales obviously very successfully sell tickets, but probably because we’re all suckers for a ball. As Mermaids proved, online tickets sell just as well – their online sales sold out in under a minute not only because of Christmas Ball hype, but because people don’t want to queue. We really shouldn’t have to jump through hoops in order to have a nice night out in St Andrews just to remind committees that they are popular.

It’s clear that ball conveners are beginning to grudgingly shuffle towards acceptance of the modern age. Starfields and May Ball both sell some tickets on the app Fixr, and Mermaids did release 400 tickets online. Big Top Ball have confirmed that this year their ticket sales will be on a Wednesday afternoon instead of the morning in order to minimise disruption to classes and sleep.

In a Bubble where even student elections take place online to make the process as easy as possible it doesn’t seem unreasonable for events managers to follow suit. It’s high time the reign of tyrannical ball committees was over, and the age of the St Andrews consumer began.

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