"What's The Presale Code Again?": A Guide To The Five Stages Of Ticketing Grief In 2012

The machines will always get you in the end.
The machines will always get you in the end.

In an effort to "keep up," I follow a lot of New York-based music fans on Twitter. Which means that whenever tickets go on sale for an important show, whether at a venue large or small—Pulp at Radio City Music Hall, LCD Soundsystem at MSG, today's release of tickets for April's series of Kraftwerk shows at the Museum of Modern Art—I hear a pronounced hue and cry from those people who were sold out of the shows for whatever reason, be it an inconveniently scheduled meeting, a browser failure, or a third-party ticketing site that just couldn't handle the onslaught of requests from ravenous fans. Having studied this phenomenon up close (too close!) for months now, and in anticipation of a lot of people being shut out of those Kraftwerk shows, I present a tweaked version of the Kübler-Ross model—the five stages of grief one experiences when, despite having top-flight technology and disposable income (and maybe even connections), one gets sold out of a show s/he really, really wanted to attend. Clip it out, save it for later, pass it to your friends who are going on Tweet rampages.

1. ALIENATION. Onset: After receiving the first IM from a so-called "friend" of yours who didn't share the presale code with you and who scored a pair of sweet seats. Symptoms: Cryptic Facebook status updates about being able to count on people; ; halfhearted visits to americanexpress.com's "Learn About Our Cards" page; desire to write screed about how the capitalistic takeover of music has produced nothing but a bunch of shitty bands that rest on their laurels and/or mine the nostalgia circuit. Expected expiration date: Right before the on-sale date for the norms. Because you can't get shut out of the whole show, right?

2. ANGER. Onset: Immediately after the show is completely sold out to those people who didn't have a presale-code in, which could be as quickly as 90 seconds after the on-sale time. Symptoms: Angry tweets; creation of pissed-off Facebook group that might attract one or two other members; sudden rush of solidarity with anonymous Brooklyn Vegan commenters who you normally think of as knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers; quickie analysis of the crap web servers used to host this important sale; looking up contact info for Arnold "Shame On You" Diaz, who will expose the thieving scalper bastards who scooped up all the seats. Expected expiration date: Whenever the next big concert you want to attend is announced.

3. DENIAL. Onset: A month before the show, when you're reminded that you didn't get tickets by an anticipatory blurt from someone who did. Symptoms: "Whatever, I read a review that the show sucked anyway"; scheduling something super fun for that evening. Expected expiration date: See below.

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4. BARGAINING. Onset: Three or four days before the show or whenever your super fun activity partner cancels, whichever comes first. Symptoms: Checking the ticketing site because "venues always release tickets at the last minute"; staring long and hard at bank balance/budget and figuring out how much you can afford to pay and still keep the lights on/stay at least somewhat fed; cryptic Facebook status updates about being able to count on people. Expected expiration date: When you realize that standing outside the venue with a single finger pointed toward the sky is probably not that good of a look. Especially if it's cold out.

5. ACCEPTANCE. Onset: About an hour after doors. Symptoms: Flicking through Twitter and thinking, "oh, right, that was tonight." Expected expiration date: Immediate—because no matter what your genre proclivities might be, if you're into live music and live in New York City, there'll always be another sold-out event off in the distance, taunting you with its utter unavailability.

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