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OPINION Bill Walton, Maybe Things Aren’t as Bad as . . .

Scalper’s tickets only 50% more . . .
20180511 entertain walton

Listening to the debates around Scalping tickets I came to the conclusion that things (financially) must not be as bad as they might be. Couple this with the electioneering going on now in the Province, and you get a mixed bag of emotions. Yes, we are paying a premium price for electricity and gasoline and promises of relief of these burdens sounds great. Removing and lowering taxes – wonderful. But our government is worried about the cost of concert tickets?

Apparently there those amongst us who have money to burn on event tickets. Yes, it might have been a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the Tragically Hip, even at scalper’s prices. Yes, you may be able to fork out fantastic sums to see Elton John or some other showcased entertainer. And if you have that kind of money to toss away, you probably aren’t worried about the cost of electricity or petrol.

So why is there all the fuss about the amount of money scalpers make reselling event tickets? In our free-market society, one can charge all the market will bear. (Look at the gas prices at the pumps in North Bay). Surely these scalpers are paying income tax on their gains so they are contributing to the common weal. It is almost as if we ought to be entitled to buy tickets to see these entertainments.

We are entitled to spend our money (or what remains after taxes) anyway we see fit. You can buy lottery tickets, go to casinos, and purchase premium pet foods for your dog, cat, canary, or goldfish. You can pay extra for jeans with pre-made holes in them, get your hair trimmed and coloured any way you like. You can buy a gas-guzzler or a Hybrid vehicle. But by golly, you should be able to buy concert tickets at the price set by the event sponsor.

I suppose it depends on how important these events are to you. Who wouldn’t pay scalper’s prices to see the Maple Leafs in the finals? It might be a once-in-a-lifetime event. Would you pay scalper’s prices to see a famous actor play King Lear at Stratford, or have a seat at a sit-down dinner with the Prime Minister? Okay, I’m reaching here. Are these entertainments as important as health care, education, and housing? Of course not, and yet we are about to take the time and expense to pass legislation to regulate prices on a non-essential.

Perhaps that is a little judgemental. Concerts may be important to you and your life experience.  I certainly remember seeing Kittens in Toronto. Actually, the show was called Cats but we were so far back the actors looked like kittens.  I do have good memories of seeing a live performance of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. I even saw Johnny Cash at the arena, away back then, and it seemed pretty important at the time. Not so much now.

So if Smashing Pumpkins or Elton John is on your bucket list, pay the scalper’s price and go.