“What’s The Presale Code Again?”: A Guide To The Five Stages Of Ticketing Grief In 2012


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.

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’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?

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.

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.

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.

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.