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Another Event Sold Out

This is a repost from my old blog of an entry dated December 2006. I am no longer handling ticket sales, and with the crap economy, sell outs are not as pervasive as once they were, but most of this still applies

If you are on our email list, you know by now that the Social Daunce Irregulars ball is, as of this writing, sold out. This follows the Lanterman Tea and Avalon Ball selling out, preceded by the SDI Ball in June selling out (and let's not forget the Jane Austen Evening in January)--and yet people are still surprised. Every new "sell out" creates dozens of personal crises out there in the big world.

As somebody who handles ticket sales, I dread the sell out. Overnight, I am transformed from the benevolent granter of fun to the evil gatekeeper and crusher of hopes and dreams. Perhaps if I weren't, essentially, a nice guy this wouldn't be so bad. If I enjoyed telling people they should have planned ahead, and their dawdling is not my problem, I would have a better time.

I don't handle ticket sales for the Social Daunce Irregulars. That falls on Dow Albon. However, I see the emails people send to him through the website, which I then forward on to him, and they look quite familiar. I wouldn't normally have written the rant to follow, but my sympathy for what Dow is enduring and by extension, what everyone who has to handle tickets sales has to endure, has moved me to blog.

First, there are the civilized people, who say something like: "Oops, I should have acted sooner. Please put me on a waiting list if you have one". These folks are the ones I don't mind dealing with. They are reasonable and take responsibility for their part in the transaction. I think that, for every one of these I hear from there are probably several more who never contact me, take the news calmly and quietly, and make a note to act sooner next time.

However, they aren't the ones who take the most time and attention. There are also the ones who demand to know why we limit attendence; and those who insist that somehow, their case is more pressing than all others, and that we need to make some special accomodation for them, lest their personal life be permanently destroyed or the hopes and dreams of their loved ones crushed. I have even been offered a bribe ("I can make it worth your while") if I would only kick a few people off the Avalon Ball boat to make room for a few others.

This is an awful lot of stress to put on a volunteer.

So, I would ask of all of you out there in vintage dance event land, to have mercy on the unpaid volunteers who are putting on these events for you, and follow a few guidelines:

Assume the event will sell out. These days, with 2000+ people getting an email about any Southern California event, a sell out is becoming the norm, rather than the exception, for "cool" events (good dancing, live music etc.). Buy your tickets in advance.

Don't say "Hold me a ticket"--just buy the bloody thing. Should an informal reservation, which is not binding on you, be binding on the event organizers?

If the event sells out, take it like a man (or woman). Join a waiting list if there is one, but don't burden the organizers with your tragic tale. If getting in to the event is as important as your tale would imply, then perhaps it is important enough to warrent purchasing the tickets in advance.

And now, I step down off my soap box. I hope I have not offended too many people, but I also hope I have given some voice to all those long suffering event organizers out there who lack the necessary "ruthless bastard" personality traits required to enjoy the job of selling tickets.

Thanks for reading.

Walter Nelson