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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Waiting in MY mailbox

This has officially been a lousy day. The VCU women's basketball team lost in the semifinals of the CAA tournament today. To James Madison at James Madison. Fair is fair. JMU played better than we did but that doesn't make it any easier to take. Our women are 26-6 and squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble. Keep your fingers crossed. It would be way cool to have both the men and women in the NCAA fields.

So the loss has me home a day earlier than expected and I'm eager to check the mail after reading my blogging bud Nats320's post the other day about HIS cool ticket package. Sure enough, I have something waiting from the Nationals. But it ain't my tickets. It is this letter, typed in as is so blame them for the grammar stuff:

Dear MIKE (yes it was capitalized),

We want to thank you for your commitment to the 2009 Washington Nationals. We have many reasons to be excited for the 2009 season. Those reasons include the recent acquisition of outfielder Adam Dunn, the introduction of our new concessionaire Levy Restaurants, renovations to the Red Porch Restaurant and the beginning of a new season which will feature a three game series versus the Boston Red Sox.

We look forward to seeing you on April 13th 2009 for Opening Day at Nationals Park. We want to inform you that due to all Season Ticket Holders' having tickets to Opening Day, we needed to relocate your seat location for this game. Your seat location for Opening Day will be in a price category that is less expensive than your partial plan location is for the 2009 season. As a result of this change, a credit of $20 will be applied to your season ticket account which can be used to purchase additional tickets during the 2009 season.

If you have additional questions or would like to know the balance on your account, please call our Season Ticket Services Department at 202.675.6287, Option (1) then Option (1) again.


Washington Nationals Ticket Services Department

Me again.

OK, it makes sense. Four of us "time share" these seats, so no way all of us can sit there. It probably should have been mentioned when we bought the tickets along with an explanation of how it was decided which of the four of us holders would get the seats for the Opener. They flip a coin for us? Draw straws? Rock, Paper, Scissors? Did I draw to an inside straight and miss? Why does HE get those seats? Why not ME? Huh?

Maybe they could rotate the four of us into the seats? Two innings each with the plan D person (that would be me) getting the extra inning?

But what really chaps my ass is the assumption that I will want to use my "refund" to purchase additional tickets. I live 120 miles away. I can't just up and go whenever I want. So how about a refund to the credit card I used to buy my $1,800 worth of tickets? That way I can put the 20 bucks toward something else, like gas to get to Nationals Park. Or half a t-shirt at the overpriced goods stores. Or a pizza and two coke zeros (one for my man Zuckerman) at the overpriced concession stands (now run by Levy Restaurants).

I will refrain from playing editor and going over the problems with the letter. They're not THAT bad and I probably wouldn't even notice if I wasn't steamed.

Going to the Opener is a production for the whole family. It IS a work day. Everyone has to take off. It costs us to get up there, to park, to eat. And now we find out we're getting shuttled to some as-yet-unnamed seat we don't want to sit in. I paid for section 309. I want section 309.

And I want my cool tickets with pictures on them like 320 got.


Anonymous said...

I'm also a 21-game plan holder, but I guess I was lucky in that I got my two regular seats for opening day. But in the club's defense, it was clearly stated when I bought the 21-game plan that we might not get our regular seats for opening day. Did you miss that? As far as explaining their process for relocation, I suppose that might have been nice. But I wonder if the effort required to do that in every case would have resulted in enough goodwill benefits to make it worth doing? The ticket office has a lot more process improvement that needs to be done in much more critical areas. Let them work on that instead.

As for the $20 credit, that's their standard policy for any tickets that are purchased but cannot be used for whatever reason. A friend of mine had tickets to the last game of the season last year that was rained out. His only option is to use that as a credit to buy tickets this year. The Nats don't give refunds, as stated on the tickets themselves. Think of it as "store credit." You could use that $20 to upgrade your seats for a game you're already going to this year, or roll it over to next year. It doesn't force you to go to another game this year if you don't want to.

MikeHarris said...

No, it was not explained to me when I purchased the tickets - I suppose SOME of the blame could be on me for not asking but it didn't occur to me.
I wouldn't expect a refund for something that was my choice. This was not my choice.
And it would take minimal effort to inform people of the process - about 10 extra seconds when they explained that "your" seats weren't yours for the opener. "We're giving them to Plan A holders" or "heads, you lose," or something.

Another factor: I have a bad wheel. I need an aisle seat and I changed sections in order to get one.

Anonymous said...

I never specifically asked about the opening day ticket thing, nor was it explained to me. It was somewhere in the renewal e-mail or on the website or something. Nevertheless, somehow I knew about it.

You might try contacting the ticket office about getting relocated for your opening day seats due to mobility issues. The game's not sold out yet, so there should be seats available. The ticket office has always been very accommodating to me whenever I've made special requests. I usually just e-mail the season ticket comments address and I've generally gotten a call back from a ticket rep within 24 hours.

MikeHarris said...

Thanks, I'll try that.

I'd probably not be complaining if they'd moved me into the "club."