I Hate StubHub

EPSON MFP image

If you’re not comfortable with foul language I’m going to give you an opportunity to bow out of this article like right now because there are few things in this world that inspire the kind of rage I feel after being intercepted when trying to buy tickets to damn near ANYTHING these days by blood sucking, bottom feeding, party-pooping, parade-raining, motherfucking StubHub! So there may be more than my usual peppering of obscenities in this post, but can you blame me? We’re talking about an organization who consistently delivers a level of heartache and suffering trumped possibly only by the New York Mets, which is ironic because you can actually buy tickets to one loser-fest off of the other and they even share the same stupid colors. (Sorry but I was born into Mets fandom over thirty years ago and it’s been a serious bitch ever since 1986)

But ANYWAY, for anyone who is unfamiliar with the evil empire that is fun-busting, money-grubbing, soul-preying StubHub! (OK, I’ll take it down a notch) it’s a website that would have you believe it exists only as a place for fans to buy and sell tickets to various types of events but what it truly provides is an internet arena for “brokers” who have purchased tickets in bulk off of sites like Ticketmaster to then resell them for exorbitant fares which are often quadruple the original price, if not more. Which as we all know is scalping plain and simple. And scalping is illegal. So how is what StubHub is doing, not?

Some people want to argue that all StubHub does is establish a market value and if people are willing to pay a certain price for an event, then technically, that’s what the ticket is worth. Well I can’t argue with that. Why? Because I don’t know anything about economics and I’m not here to debate supply and demand. I’m here to talk about the buyer’s experience vs. a bunch of despicable assholes who make their living ripping people off by scooping up all the tickets to an event that they don’t even care about in order to extort those who do. Plain and simple.

Recently tickets went on sale for my absolute, very favorite band to see live right now: Die Antwoord. Despite the fact that I went online at precisely the INSTANT sales began, I wasn’t able to move quickly enough and tickets sold out before I could get my hands on any. However I was immediately directed to where I could find them on sites like StubHub, TicketsNow, and ConcertTicketCenter.com. Only what was initially a $40 ticket, could no longer be found for less than $108 and even went up to as much as $330. Automated systems that work for these sites are moving so fast, it’s like regular people don’t even stand a chance at getting a spot anymore. How gross is that?!

It was one thing when all of the bigger shows at places like Madison Square Garden were selling out in seconds. There was the time that StubHub ruined my mother’s birthday present (Stevie Nicks four years ago, the price of the ticket tripled and I couldn’t afford to take her) or when they killed my idea for Jeff’s Christmas present (I wanted to bring him to see The White Stripes however all the tickets were bought up by brokers and then doubled online) but now it’s even the smaller shows that are being infiltrated. Die Antwoord is a relatively unknown band but the people who actually like and have supported them since the beginning are now in a position where they can no longer afford to see them because a robot caught on to the fact that they became slightly more popular in the last year or so. One more buzzkill to add to a long list of good times that sites like StubHub have come along and stomped the shit out of.

And I don’t even want to hear that nonsense about how sometimes you can get tickets cheaper if you wait til the day of. It rarely happens and no one wants to do that anyway. And even if that is the case, it still doesn’t detract from StubHub’s ultimate goal which is to take advantage of people. Sure you can argue free market and supply and demand and all that crap but the bottom line is, if you’re someone who’s repeatedly selling tickets for double and triple what they originally cost because you have the technology to get to them faster than the actual fans, then you suck in a pretty spectacular way.

A while ago I even went so far as to contact StubHub’s customer service department when I was frustrated about not being able to get tickets for me and some friends from out of town to see Skream and Benga, an English dubstep duo who were playing a considerably modest venue. Here is a portion of StubHub’s response defending their operation after I expressed my feelings about what a piece of shit website they were running:

Even if StubHub did not exist small numbers of people/or corporations would purchase all the tickets for events and make it so that getting tickets would be next to impossible.”

So essentially their argument is “Well other people engage in shitty business practices, so it’s OK that we do also.” Then they said:

Having a marketplace like StubHub makes a secure place for buyers to come and be sure they’ll get tickets, with a guarantee from our company, at a price they are willing to pay when they otherwise might have no access to tickets. Or worse, they might have to resort to sketchy dealings in front of the doors of a venue where they have no guarantee of their tickets being valid.”

What they’re saying here is “Whereas before tickets would easily sell out to events, we guarantee you’ll be able to get them on our site.” Well of course anyone CAN buy tickets on your site in the sense that they are available but not everyone CAN in the sense that they’re at a price that’s affordable. The reason they’re available is because brokers that use sites like StubHub have bought all of the tickets at face value and are now charging so much that only a few people are willing to pay the inflated prices. So really the only demographic StubHub gives security and availability to with any consistency are rich people.

In fact their whole justification for existing is flawed. Am I the only one who remembers being able to go to a concert before these ticket sites existed? Sure, occasionally big shows would sell out and that was a bummer but you accepted it and moved on. However, StubHub would have you believe that before they came along and “legitimized” everything, attempting to secure seats at a sporting event was a Mad Max type free-for-all where you might even occasionally risk your life engaging in “sketchy dealings” outside of stadiums.

BULL. SHIT.

In the end, there’s really only one way to stop these leeches from continuing to suck off of the enthusiasm of music and sports fans alike and that is to STOP buying from them. It sucks, I know. Not going to see Die Antwoord in June is going to sting, especially when technically it is possible to if I’m willing to fork over the extra cash. I just can’t bring myself to support the gangster shitbag ticket brokers who jacked up the price regardless of whether or not I can afford it and I hope you feel the same. More and more artists are committing to direct sales of tickets to fans, giving us ways to avoid dealing with scalpers but the bottom line is, if we all stopped purchasing shows off of StubHub and TicketsNow and the like immediately, they would be out of business in no time. Leaving us to return to the “pre-StubHub madness” of nearly always being able to get tickets to a concert or a ball game at a reasonable price.

P.S. If you’re on board with this post, you can see a more in depth description of the vile nature of StubHub’s dealings and alternative ways to stop them right here.

  • http://eatwellpartyhard.com/ Claire Suellentrop

    STUBHUB IS THE SPAWN OF SATAN. As is TicketMaster and TicketNow and every other damn online buying liaison. It’s the same bullshit over and over again. Which venue were you trying to see them at? Is it at aaaall (probably not, but maybe?) possible to purchase tickets through the venue’s site? Or did the venue’s site just direct you back to StubHub?

    In other news, hey, we’re both Mets fans. The Yankees are overrated and all money. So there’s that.

    • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

      Claire, where do you live? There is no Earthly explanation for why you would be a Mets fan unless you resided in the tri state area. And that would mean that a boozy meet up was actually possible someday. I responded to a comment Iva from WhyImCray left on your healthy cocktail post yesterday (loved that read) about how if we were all ever in the same town we needed a day of drinks together. I may even let you suggest some whiskeys for me to try. However for some reason I always thought you were on the west coast. Anyway, they’re playing at Irving Plaza. I tried tickets through the venue with no luck naturally. This always begins to happen right around the start of the warm weather where I get all excited about going to concerts and then StubHub essentially ruins my entire summer.

      And P.S. I hate the Yankees! Although truth be told I don’t really even follow baseball anymore. The Mets are just too sorry to give a shit about so I gave up paying attention a number of years ago. Totally a fair weather fan now.

      • El Jefe

        I couldn’t have said it better myself….the Mets do SUCK!! Oh, and i don’t much care for StubHub either. Maybe rename the post “Which sucks more? StubHub or the Mets”. spoiler alert it’s the Mets but it’s close…

        • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

          I was all excited until I saw that second sentence…at which point I did literally LOL but still. Nice picture by the way! El Guappo? Or Cheech? No that’s def El Guappo.

          • El Jefe

            That’s Jefe from 3 amigos…yes….EL Guappo :)

      • http://eatwellpartyhard.com/ Claire Suellentrop

        I’m kind of an oddball–have lived all over the place and am teaching English in China for now, but have been here almost a year and am REAL ready to head back to the States. Before this, I was on the East Coast for, jeez, 5-6 years? I moved out there for college and stayed to work. I lived in Jersey City and took all the heat from my Brooklyn/Queens friends, but I loved/still love JC something fierce and it’s forever my second home. I won’t be moving back there long-term, but will be around from Aug-Nov to tie up some loose ends. So yes, boozy meet-up potential is A REAL THING. Where does Iva live? Can she join us? All liquors welcome.

        I also hate the Yankees! This is with full knowledge that the Mets are terrible, but the people I knew in college who rooted for the Yankees were assholes, so I refused to have that in common with them. Also, neither of us actually follow baseball–this fandom is basically in name only.

        The ticket story is so rage-inducing. The other option is those free concert series in the parks, which I checked out a few times last year, but it seems like you have to show up at, like, 5pm to be able to see the stage, and yo, some of us have to wooooork (grumble whine complain).

        Funny story, when I first found your blog (like, a year ago? Two?), I immediately sent it to one of my closest friends who also lives in Astoria and would not shut up. I kept pestering her, being all DUDE YOU NEED TO READ THIS WHOLE SITE SHE’S PROBABLY YOUR NEIGHBOR AND SHE’S HILARIOUS.

        • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

          Yes let definitely get together! And I love Jersey City. I don’t know when you were there last but it has come a long way in recent years. My brother lived there all last summer so I spent a decent amount of time bouncing around in his neighborhood and a friend of mine owns some bars out there.

          Iva did mention she may be coming here in May or June so you’ll probably miss her. But I’mm looking forward to talking vegetarian and drinking whiskey (maybe) with you. And thanks for recommending me to your friend! Astoria is a small place and its likely we’ve been in the same bars/restaurants.

          • http://eatwellpartyhard.com/ Claire Suellentrop

            How is the world so small?! Really cool to hear that your brother lives/lived there. I stuck around until late July of last year, and even in the short amount of time I called it home, there were all kinds of new businesses and renovation projects sprinkled throughout city limits.

            Any idea which bars your friend owns?

          • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

            She owns a restaurant called Satis Bistro which is really nice with a great menu and a bar called Lucky 7. Definitely let me know of your plans to come back over the summer! Would love to hear about your time in China.

          • http://eatwellpartyhard.com/ Claire Suellentrop

            Holy shit, Lucky 7 was within stumbling distance from my apartment. Literally. I could see it right from my stoop. Many great–and many poor–decisions have been made at that bar.

  • http://www.foodboozeandbaggage.com/ Food Booze & Baggage

    The argument they are providing tickets to those who might not have access otherwise, makes no sense. So the person couldn’t go to the venue site and buy the tickets themselves, but they can from stubhub? It’s crap! This is awful they are beginning to target even small bands and venues.

    • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

      I can’t believe it’s gone on as long as it has actually. I remember when they first came around like a decade ago I was thinking this is insane! How is this legal and that shortly they would be prosecuted but they apparently lobby politicians as well to make sure that what they are doing remains completely “legit”. It simply has to be a matter of no longer purchasing from them.

  • http://www.whyimcray.com/ Awesomely Over-Zealous

    Lol I’ve never used that bs so can’t even join in on your frustration. However I do agree with Food Booze & Baggage in that their argument is nonsensical and borderline just stupid. Start a petition to take em’ down! 😛

  • http://mycreativenergy.wordpress.com/ Amy

    Fight the power! Down with the man! Let’s burn our bras!! Anyone?? Just me??…okay…

    I haven’t personally run into this recently, but my friend went through the same thing with Ticketmaster for Billy Joel tickets. She even had access to “pre-sale” tickets b/c she was a [insert-major-credit-card]-holder, and still got nowhere – the tickets just disappeared. It’s complete B.S. and unbelievably unfair. I support your crusade and will 100% participate by continuing to be too lazy/old to go to concerts 😛

    PS – I can’t even express how envious I am that you threw out an offer for a boozy meetup to someone in the tri-state area. Can I get in on that?? C’mon – I’m a former tri-stater! Totally jk [and totally creepy]. My b.

    • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

      My father just had the same problem with Billy Joel tickets. I think they wanted to charge him a seventy dollar service fee on top of each ticket or something like that. Also, of course you’re invited! I think it would actually be really cool to put an actual live face to all of the bloggers we’ve all come to know so well through their writing. Where do you live now?

  • http://thefearlessscribe.blogspot.com/ Sandy

    I love your artistic de-facing of the Stub Hub logo! I feel your rage. Also, 3rd generation Mets fan here.

    • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

      I’m really sorry to hear that. We need to start a support group or something.

  • Rachel!

    Stub Hub is TERRIBLE. I hate that you can no longer get tickets for shows…even for terrible dates and times…like Wednesdays at 6:00. Not to mention the time my friend purchased from Stub Hub for a Kings game…but they were a scam and by the time my group of 8 got to tried to get in, all 8 tickets had been used (and we were early for the game). Stub Hub did get us tickets to get into the game, but we missed the first period. Lame.

    • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

      Ugh! Just reading this comment is getting me worked up again. That is awful! Did they give you any kind of compensation for the late entry? And here their whole motto is that they guarantee their tickets. I hate them. HATE them! Good to hear from you though Rachel :)

  • Elena Smithson

    I enjoy your artistic de-facing of the Stub Hub logo!

    • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

      Ha! Thank you! So do I. I actually have it hanging on my fridge.

  • Matt Coomer

    As a former “buyer support” agent for StubHub! (via ebay enterprises inc.), I would encourage anyone considering them to READ THE FINE PRINT. They make no promises as to the validity of the tickets sold through their site. Their “Make It Right” guarantee amounts to nothing more than a refund and store credit. So customers who take off from work, buy plane tickets to another city, rent hotel rooms and cars, and anticipate memorable birthdays and anniversaries are simply told, “Sorry.” SH! began as a project for a college economics course and has metastasized into a multi- million dollar racket. And while the operational technology has remained third world, you better believe that no expense has been spared for legal counsel.

  • cindut

    I fucking HATE StubHub!

  • jk

    i fucking love this article. I AM SOO pissed right now not being able to buy my tickets this morning at fucking 10 am. NO TRUE fan of these artists would do what these shit holes are doing. And those responses they gave? what kind of ass hole responds that way. Clearly they should all fucking go to hell.

  • Sergey Tyukin

    What do you expect from eBay owned company? Ahahahaha!