A Hamburger Today: The Wimpy Approach to Tickets

One of the cartoon characters that has pretty much disappeared from the scene is Popeye the Sailor Man, the bizarrely configured individual with forearms the size of barrels and upper arms the size of twigs. He gained strength from eating spinach, not of the variety that most people might be familiar with from salads (which often had a warm bacon dressing, canceling any of the nutritional benefits), but from a can that he would crush in the middle such that it popped out of the top for quick consumption. Popeye needed the strength to take on his rival, Bluto, or Brutus, which at some point was claimed to be a set of twins, who typically was kidnapping Olive Oyl, Popeye’s girlfriend. Not even a 1980 Robert Altman movie starring Robin Williams (Popeye) and Shelley Duvall (Olive Oyl) with a screenplay by Jules Feiffer music by Harry Nilsson could save the strip.

At this point you are probably wondering whether you’ve accidentally stumbled onto some comic-book related website or that GloNo has transformed during this time of working from home.

Well, not exactly.

There is another Popeye Universe character that has recently come to mind: Wimpy. Apparently his full name is J. Wellington Wimpy. Something of a ne’er-do-well who seemingly came from a place of higher station and has fallen to a lower one. And who has become a con.

Wimpy’s catch phrase is: “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

And you know that Tuesday never comes, even if it is Monday.

Even with states “opening up,” the likelihood that there will be concerts of any size anytime soon is slimmer than Olive Oyl.

Yet there are companies including Ticketmaster and AEG have sold tickets for concerts, and seem to be having a refund policy that would be familiar to Wimpy. You can get your money back on Tuesday.
Part of the approach is that a concert must be officially canceled or new dates have to be set for the show before a refund is considered.

Let’s face it, there won’t be any stadia-sized concerts this year. And even in smaller venues, the question remains of social distancing. Say a theater-sized concert will be held around Thanksgiving. Will it be acceptable for each and every seat in a row to be sold or will it be a matter of seat/skip two/seat, and is the spacing of row A, B, C, D be acceptable or will it be A, C, etc.?

No matter how this is laid out, it means that a non-trivial percentage of seats will not be occupied, meaning that the ticketholders for those seats are going to be out of luck.

No one knew that all of this would happen, including the people at Ticketmaster and AEG. And when they sell tickets, that money isn’t sitting in a safe waiting to pay the bills for a given event. It gets spent for operations, marketing, etc. It goes away.

Which has led, for example, Live Nation to come up with “Concert Cash,” which isn’t fungible currency, but something that can be spent only on tickets available through. . . Live Nation. To sweeten the deal they are offering 150% of the ticket value. This is analogous to standing at the gate (well, we have to think of days of yore for this analogy to be recognized) in an airport and hear the gate agent offering “money” for those who will take a later flight: money in the form of a voucher that can be spent only future tickets from said airline. And one has to imagine that after C19 is worked out of the system, the economic impact will be such that the price of tickets will be 150% of what they are now–if not more.

Live Nation will be offering refunds with actual money involved “within 30 days once a show has been cancelled or new dates have been finalized.”

Or on Tuesday.

Leave a Reply