Caution: Unfair Event Business Venue Ahead

I recently had a run-in with a local business.

I'd bought tickets for an event for our birthdays (my husband and I are a day apart), at a venue I'd always trusted.  Then my husband unexpectedly had to go out of town on business that weekend. Maybe it was star-crossed from the beginning.

I took a friend instead and we had a lovely dinner outdoors at a downtown restaurant, then on to the concert.

We probably should have guessed something was up when we saw all the limos outside and the fact that it was a well-heeled crowd.

The doors opened and we went in -- and climbed and climbed and climbed to our seats in the nosebleed section (picking them out online, they hadn't seemed nearly as high!).   But, my bad.

We expected there to be some warm-up group, but two TV stars took the stage.  OK. We figured they were there to say a few words before the event.  No, they went on and on about some charity and then began a very upscale auction ($5,000 for dinner at a famous chef's restaurant, $10,000 for a weekend at a summer home -- you get the idea).

It began to sink in that maybe this wasn't what we thought we'd paid for.

The auction dragged on for over 90 minutes, and I was livid.  Nowhere, not on the tickets, or the posters plastered around downtown, or the Web site where I bought them, did it say anything about this fund-raising event.

Now, I have nothing against fund-raising, and sadly, the young woman it was held for died this summer.

But let me pay when I want, not when I've (mistakenly, apparently) thought I bought tickets to a concert. The main event went on about 10 minutes later -- for just an hour -- but we'd had enough.

I went and spoke to the stage manager right then and there, who said it was on their Web site.  Not the one where I bought the tickets, but their regular Web site.  I'd had no reason to go on their Web site. Nor was anything on the tickets or the posters that there would be this insufferable auction that I paid almost $200 for.

In any event, I went to the Better Business Bureau when I couldn't get any satisfaction, and we went back and forth three times, with the venue finally offering me a paid subscription to the place (but I'd have to pay for tickets, anyway!).

They kept repeating the fund-raising info was on their Web site, but my response, again, that I'd had no reason to go to their Web site fell on deaf ears.  I rejected the offer.  I'm still waiting to hear.  (Couldn't help myself: forwarded a bit of Walmart customer satisfaction lingo. "Customer satisfaction is worthless. Customer loyalty is priceless.").  And, oh by the way, satisfied customers tell three people.  Angry customers tell 3,000 (or thereabouts).

We're still arguing it out.

But I'm proud of myself for seeing this through.  My husband and son (who will do anything to avoid it) hate confrontation.  And I must admit it's not fun.  But I hate unfairness more.

I'm sad the young woman died.  But this is not about her.  It's about what I paid for.  I got ripped off.  I hate them for trying to make me look stupid (I can do that very well on my own, thank you!).  I guess I just expect fairness in life, and this felt totally wrong.




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