“Don’t tell me how to run my business” the guy said after I waved him off when he told me the price of the ticket. He wanted $30 for a $34 ticket. “I can buy a ticket for $24 at the ticket window” I retorted and started walking away, I apparently insulted him with my offer of $20. “No you can’t, cheapest is $32” he said defiantly, the guy was starting to get under my skin. He was showing everyone around how much of an idiot I was, “you are a jerk” I said scornfully as I walked across the street, I was feeling goofy about the amount of attention that was draw to him and me. His aggressive sales approach was one I hadn’t come across on this trip, “I will take the $20 for the ticket” he yelled when I reached the other side of the street, I turned and looked at him in disbelief and just yelled back “you are one arrogant asshole, I will spend the extra $4”, I didn’t like how I reacted to this guy, people were staring.
“I am sorry that you had to hear that” I said to the couple that was walking be side me, “I hate scalpers” the lady said, “I don’t mind them” I told her, “They serve a function, that guy was just being a jerk”. She didn’t know what to say, I felt uncomfortable, I decided to cross to the opposite side of street where there was another scalper, I asked him for his cheapest ticket, he said $30 for a $34, just like the other guy, I said I will give him $20, he said no, I said okay and started walking away, he immediately said $25, I kept walking he yelled $20. I didn’t like these guys in Tampa, to aggressive and arrogant. I knew there was $24 tickets at the window as did they, scalpers check and they hustle. As I crossed yet another street, I saw a ticket laying on the ground in front of two guys, I picked it up and asked if it was theirs, they said it wasn’t. It was for the game and a prime location, $79 face value. I was laughing, my Karma was good. One of the guys reminded me to “pay it forward”, I assured him I would.
I have learned to deal with scalpers the last couple of years. I have never bought a fake ticket and have only felt cheated once. Most scalpers are really “humping” before a game, buying tickets low and selling them at face value if they can. I actually like negotiating with them, these guys know their market and the type of fan they are dealing with, most fans go to only a few games a year so scalpers will always go above or at face value initially with people, most people will buy slightly below face value, they feel they got a deal and everyone is happy. If a scalper has good tickets for a premium game he knows what they are worth and he will usually only sell it at that price. I paid $45 to scalper at Target Field for a Brewers-Twins game, it was face value, he had paid $20 to a fan 20 minutes before, he was nice but said he will get $45 , since it was a decent seat and a premium game. He told me to come back if I couldn’t find one for less. I tried and failed.
I also know that a lot of scalpers lie, like the guy above. While in Boston I was walking up to the ticket window and a guy was trying to sell me a ticket for $30, I said I will buy it if I can’t get a cheaper one at the window, he said he would wait for me since he knew I couldn’t, I said we have a deal then. He didn’t think I would wait in line and check, he lied, I bought one for $20, he didn’t wait around for me. Another time in Baltimore, there was a day-night doubleheader, I went to the first game and decided to go to the second game if I could buy a ticket from a scalper for $10 or if I could get a free one. When the first scalper approached me I asked for his cheapest ticket, he said $24, I asked him what he had for $10, he waved me off and laughed. I walked away, he called me back, he said I have this one you can have for $20, I told I am only willing to pay $10, he laughed again and wished me luck. I knew my chances were slim. I would wait around until right before game time, if I couldn’t get one, I would leave. The scalper and his buddy walked by me a couple of times and smiled, they asked if I have found that $10 ticket yet, I told them it wasn’t looking good, they felt satisfied.
About 5 minutes later and right before game time, I heard a police officer ask a guy if he needed a ticket, she had one, he didn’t need one, I walked over and said I needed one, she gave it to me. It was a premium seat 7 rows off the field, I thanked her, looked for my scalper friends, they weren’t around, wanted to smile at them, they would have appreciated the irony. I went to my seat, thanked the three men that gave the cop the ticket, they told me they were given the tickets also and didn’t want to waste the 4th. It was a Yankee game and Derek Jeter was playing! I smiled at my good fortune!
Scalpers are business people, they need to make money, I understand that some are jerks, but for the most part I have enjoyed the interaction I have had with them. A lot of people don’t like the negotiation, I happen to enjoy it. I had a scalper in Omaha apologize to me for being “short” with me during a transaction, I didn’t need a ticket but wanted to find out what tickets were going for on the “street”, I told him what I was doing after, we shook hands, I understand why he was frustrated with me.
Getting to the end of the journey, want to mention that I accomplished another goal last night. I went to a game in Miami, it was the final stadium I needed to attend to hit all 30 MLB parks, along with a game in the 48 states, I am feeling accomplished. I don’t know what it all means but it feels good.