Although this is a highly not book related post, I just wanted to share my very first New York Comic Con ticket buying experience.
A little over a week ago, tickets for the 2016 New York Comic Con went on sale. Now this was my first time ever, buying tickets for NYCC. From the stories that I had heard from people who bought tickets in previous years, the experience is hell- literally. As soon as tickets went on sale, you would be put in a virtual queue (a virtual waiting room/list) and you would get to buy tickets when it was your turn in “line”. This year, ReedPop, the organization that plans NYCC, made sure all ticket buyers had to be fan verified. Essentially, if planned on getting a chance at going to NYCC, you had to make an online profile. This, they said, was to prevent scammers and ticket resellers.
So when fan verification was released, I created my profile, and patiently waited until ReedPop announced the date that tickets would go on sale. I started getting anxious in that time, no doubt thinking that I never received the email to buy tickets and the tickets were already sold out. Anxiety. Anxiety. Anxiety. But on June 27th, I got the email! Tickets would finally go on sale at Noon on June 29th. Luckily, I was out of school by then and when Wednesday came around, I set alarms for 11:00AM, 11:30AM, 11:45AM, 11:55AM, and 11:59AM. And as I watched the hands of the clock on my phone reach high noon, I hurriedly pressed my cursor on my personalized link to buying tickets. I might have clicked too soon (11:59:59 AM) because the page I was directed to said the link still wasn’t available.
So mere seconds later, I clicked the same link (again) and was redirected into the virtual queue. Was I relieved? No. Stressed? Yes. Anxious? Very. As I waited for my turn in the virtual queue, I started chatting with Alex, who was also in the queue. Twitter was exploding with tweets with the trending hashtag, #NYCC. That was probably a mistake –checking Twitter. My anxiety grew as the minutes passed and soon it was 20 minutes past noon.
People were buying and celebrating their purchases while I was biting my nails, sweating, watching the same Virtual Queue page as the clock ticked, ticked, and ticked, unsure whether to refresh the page or leave it the way it was. As 50% of the 3-Day Passes quickly became sold out, you could almost feel the virtual tension of the people all waiting in the virtual queue, holding a collective breath.
Fortunately, at around 12:38 PM, I got through the virtual queue *celebration* and luckily, the 3-Day Passes were still available. ReedPop gave each person a limit of 15 minutes to complete their purchase, and I have to say, that was the quickest I ever punched in the numbers of my credit card (sort of felt like the Flash for a brief instant). Needless to say, that experience is now over. The literal hell of waiting in the queue has passed, though I may have gotten a few new gray hairs.
But what could make the ticket buying experience better? Having a number in the virtual queue that let you know where you were in line. Maybe an estimated wait time? Although fan verification did help to cut down on the number of scalpers this year, there were still resellers. Within the hour of release, 4-Day Passes were already being sold for $600 on various online stores. ReedPop gives ticket purchasers 14 days to assign names to each ticket purchased, which means people who were fan verified could buy tickets, resell them, and assign them to a different name. Then this brings up the question, what's the point of fan verification? Overall, NYCC is a large and stressful event (for attendees and organizers both). I commend ReedPop for working hard to organize this event for fans and for trying to make an improvement from past years, but there still remains room for more improvement.