In the past, NewYTOWN hasn’t exactly been the kindest of friends to Global Entertainment, the owner of the Chevrolet Centre. We’ve seen mismanagement follies, broken promises and projected revenue shortfalls. Well in the last two days, I’ve had quite an experience with Global subsidiary GetTix.net, and the site has caused me a lot of unnecessary frustration. This exasperating saga began Friday morning, when a friend and I confirmed we would both go to the inaugural Mahoning Valley Thunder game Saturday night. You may say this is troublesome from the start, however the uncertainty of our schedules both ensured it’d be a last-minute decision to go and we decided to just buy cheap seats anyway, so despite reports of a near-sellout we weren’t anticipating many problems. I also offered to take care of getting the tickets, given that I had $75 worth of Chevy Centre gift certificates redeemable for tickets.
The trouble starts later in the day, around 5:00 pm when I got home. I logged onto GetTix.net to see if two “Bronze” level seats remained, just so I could relax knowing seats were still available. I proceeded to buy seats then and there, needlessly creating an account and entering credit card numbers I didn’t intend to use, and when I click the “Promotions” link, assuming they’ll take gift certificates there, I enter the number, three numbers in fact, but each time I’m told they’re invalid. A little confused by the process and worried the tickets will sell out, I log off, vowing to resort to my other options. About an hour later, after 6, I’m on my way to get some dinner, but stop en route at a Sparkle market, the only human location to get tickets since the arena box office closed at 4. Waiting at customer service, a woman comes to my line and asks what I’d like, and I respond with “tickets to tomorrow night’s game”. The woman types at the computer, incessantly clicking the mouse for about five minutes when she then asks “and what do you want again?” I raise an eyebrow, and with a little more specificity I ask for “tickets to tomorrow night’s Mahoning Valley Thunder game.” The woman proceeds to log on some more, with no words exchanged, for another period of time before going to the back room. During this time, I stand in line, a little embarrassed to be holding up people in line to buy lottery tickets, staring at the Hostess cakes and feeling hungrier as I do. Later, the woman returns with a second, older woman, and this one takes over the controls, doing the exact same thing, and save for a quip that “you’d think you were breaking into national security to get into this thing” I was given no update on the progress. The woman asked the other if this was the correct login, and while the other said yes, it apparently wasn’t so as I can only assume she tried logging in to no avail. Eventually, after about 20 minutes of waiting and shifting my weight, the woman gives up and I walk out, actually somewhat happy because if they didn’t know how to work this computer, they would been absolutely bewildered by my gift certificates.
At about 6:50, I’m waiting for a table at my restaurant, and as I look at my vouchers I decide to call the GetTix number (1-866-443-8849), hoping I can score tickets through the phone. I wait a while, impatiently listening to soundclips of Bruce Springsteen and The Fray, while being told to wait for the next available representative, for about 10 minutes when I get on the line with somebody. I ask for two Thunder tickets, and then explain I have gift certificates that I unsuccessfully tried to use on the internet. The guy tells me gift certificates can only be used at the arena box office. I hang up, dejected to know I’ll have to be at the Chevrolet Centre bright and early Saturday morning. You may ask why I wouldn’t just charge tickets if I wanted to go so bad. I might answer by saying I’d rather have free tickets, and if it does sell out, my friend and I would find something else to do tomorrow night anyway. Nonetheless, I go home a little weary, hoping tickets will still be available tomorrow morning.
Saturday I wake up around 7:00, logging on to GetTix.net when my fears are somewhat realized and find I can’t get two seats together in the “Bronze” level. Luckily though, there are two tickets still together, albeit more expensive, and I’m suddenly much more determined to get tickets and be in the building for something I’ve literally waited years for.
I get ready and arrive in front of the arena at 9:50, as according to the Centre’s website says the box office will open at 10 am for “event on-sales”. It turns out the wording on the site is misleading, as we found out the box office doesn’t open until noon. I find this after a woman in line, who was misled by The Vindicator into thinking Doobie Brothers tickets went on sale today, went over to a guy working on a stage for the tailgate party this afternoon, and he in turn called the director of operations, who said to blame the site. Still undaunted in my quest for tickets, I head on over to Winslow’s Café for a coffee. I return to the box office about 11:45, and am somewhat relieved to find 1.) I’m third in line and 2.) people behind me talk about how the Thunder’s website is down, so chances look good I’ll get my tickets.
When I get to the window, I ask for two seats “in the least expensive section” and I’m told that would be around 208 in the last row. Quickly accepting this, I hand over my certificates, and after the woman working the counter enters codes in for a couple minutes I’m told “I don’t think you’ll be able to use these. Let me check.” Needless to say, I was pissed.
She checks in the back room, and then I’m told I won’t be able to use the vouchers because “they weren’t entered into the system”. I don’t understand, and so it’s rephrased as I “can’t use them for this game, but I can use them for future games” because this game wasn’t entered in ‘the system’. When I ask why, I get the unsatisfactory reply that “they didn’t give a thought to it.” I get the tickets anyway, disgruntled that after this whole ordeal I have to pay for them in the end. As an afterward, I am given a number to call (though it’s the same 1-866 number) but upon asking for a specific representative, I am told that gift certificates, contrary to what was told the night before, can be used over the phone. I walked away from the will call, utterly pissed off at these circumstances. As I went out the door, I took a sign posted out front regarding Thunder personnel (misspelled ‘personal’ by the way), turned it around and wrote out “Global Entertainment: Get Out of Youngstown”. It was in my sloppiest handwriting, but I felt very reasonable in my actions.
Aftermath These events, which I admit could’ve been prevented, had my friend and I decided sooner, just make me even more appalled at Global. “Customer service” must be a foreign phrase to them, because they make using gift certificates as inconvenient as possible, and communication between GetTix employees is probably kept to a minimum. This may be a company whose coverage area isn’t on par with Ticket Master, but that shouldn’t excuse them from gross misinformation and giving customers needless hassles in buying tickets.
This company has little to no class in my opinion. They have continually lied to us about events that never materialize, embarrassingly forget to add parking charges to tickets and constantly over-project revenue performances. Now we can say their ticketing division is less than satisfactory in dealing with customers. This site’s discussed it before, and now I am fully throwing my support behind new management for the Chevrolet Centre. But at the game, I guess I cheated the seating arrangement. My friend and I didn’t stay in our top row corner seats for too long. By the second half, we comfortably snuck past the ushers for 10-yard line seats, almost in the front row, right in front of the action.