Thursday, January 3, 2013

How to Win Fans and Influcnce This Guy

I am a simple man. I don't need to be treated like a superstar (although rumors are that it doesn't hurt). I fly coach, I buy generic drugs, and I've tried to print my own money. However once in a while I get blown away by either (and usually) a negative experience or sometimes a positive experience with a company I'm doing business with.

The later happened this week when Mrs. Bloggerman and I tried to take the Kid to his first basketball game over at the University of Maryland. It was a high demand game featuring the 0-13 Delaware State Hornets at the end of December. Because there was no way in hell that I was going to pay full price ($30 each) for a game that would be no more then 50% full because students were on winter break. Enter my friends at

ScoreBig is essentially the Priceline for sports and concert tickets. You find the event you want to go to, pick a "star" level for the tickets you want and "bid". If you're bid is accepted you've bought them and if not you can try again later. The better the seats the higher the stars and the deals are pretty good. We've used them in the past to buy tickets to both the Nationals and the Orioles and have been very satisfied with our seats.

Back in November, we decided to go and invited another friend to join us. I went online and found 3 star seats in Section 118 (corner of the floor) for $18 each. They accepted my bid and I also had a $20 promotional credit so the tickets worked out to about $11 each. Great deal that was almost 66% off the face value. I paid and the tickets arrived in the mail a few weeks later. I checked that they were the right section/date/etc and put them on the fridge. The morning of the game I realized that I wasn't sure about where to park so I grabbed the tickets and hit the interwebs. I won't go into how bad the University of Maryland's site is and how little actual information is provided. Let's just say that my tax dollars better be going to great professors because the web content team stinks.

After finally figuring out parking I saw a 3-D, interactive seating map for the Comcast Center so I decided to see where our actual seats were. YIKES! They were 3 rows from the back of the arena. That can't be right. These are supposed to be near the floor. (Truth is they were near the floor...26 rows a 31 row stadium!) Next I went over to ScoreBig to see if they had similar seats for future UMD games. The next game they had was on New Year's Day and the seats were listed as 1-star. I called their customer support line at 9am but they are based in California and weren't open until 30 min before our game started. I called right at noon and got through to a representative right away. Alfonso listened, asked good questions and did some research. He confirmed that the seats we had tickets for were not in right star "rating" and that he couldn't do anything for us in terms of new seats because the game was going to begin. He told me to go in to the game and enjoy it and that he would follow up with his manager when he got back in (on Jan 2) to find out about at least a partial refund. I got an email from him saying the same thing and that was that. The game was great and the seats were ok but not great. Most importantly the Kid had a great time at his first game and I think I heard him yell, "DUNK" a few times...or he might have just been looking for his cheese-its.

Yesterday at lunch my phone rings and it's Alfonso again. He began by first apologizing again and then actually took the time to ask me if I enjoyed the game (good move!!). Then he said that his manager reviewed the situation and was issuing a full refund for the tickets and giving me an additional $10 credit to use toward future tickets. Wow! The refund and the money were great but what really blew me away was that he 1) followed up when he said he would, 2) actually took the time to ask me how the event was and remembered that I said that it was my Kid's first game and 3) that they extended us a full refund.

You now have a customer for life and I am officially declaring the "Official Ticket Broker for Nobody Likes A Jerk". That's quite an me.

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