On being … unimaginable

By Ingrid Sapona

I sometimes buy on-line vouchers/coupons from Groupon and other such sites. Though many of you probably know what a Groupon is, for those who don’t (like my Mom), here’s a brief explanation. Groupon’s an on-line service where merchants offer special deals on their products or services. To get the deal, you buy the Groupon voucher, which you then redeem with the merchant. WagJag is another voucher/coupon service we have here in Canada and it works the same way.  

I tend to buy Groupon and WagJag vouchers for restaurants I like or that I’m interested in trying, and for things like oil changes and sometimes tickets to shows. I don’t buy many vouchers, but they send out emails to entice you, and I will confess to breezing through the e-mails frequently, to see what’s on offer.

Last week an email from WagJag advertised tickets to see Trevor Noah’s stand-up act. Out of curiosity, I clicked through to the website to find out about the deal. As I was scrolling around, I noticed they were also offering tickets to see comedian Amy Schumer, so I clicked on that first.

A number of things about the deal surprised me. Besides finding it odd that she’s playing a huge sports arena, I was surprised when I saw the price. The tickets ranged from $70 to over $600. (Actually, the highest price was over $950, but that wasn’t for just the show – it included a limo and dinner, though there was no indication that Amy would be at the dinner, which you’d hope at that price!) Oh, and for some reason, though the shows are here in Toronto, all the prices are in US dollars, which means we can add an exchange premium of at least 25%.

Out of curiosity, I then checked the price on Trevor Noah’s show. He’s playing a smaller venue (nicer, I think, for a stand-up act), but tickets to see him aren’t exactly cheap either. They range from US $84 to US $613. Now, I like Trevor Noah quite a lot, but at those prices, I’ll have to settle for enjoying him four nights a week on the Daily Show.

You know, WagJag claims to be “an online deal community where Canadians and their families can find great savings on things they need and love…”. So those ticket prices are supposedly a savings! I guess I had NO idea comedians command such prices. Clearly I’m woefully out-of-touch.

A few days later, another ticket offer caught my eye on WagJag – tickets to Adele in October. I know Adele is hugely popular – so popular, in fact, that she’s playing four nights here. Naturally, I was quite curious to see what her tickets are going for, and so I clicked on the deal.

Well, my first reaction was that there was a misprint. There had to be. There was no way the high price was over $8,800. Thinking I was misreading a comma for a period, I clicked to make the font bigger. To my shock, it really was a comma. Oh – and in case you’re wondering – no dinner or limo included – just the show. In fact, $8,800 isn’t even the all-in price – there’s an additional $1,100 in fees on top of that. Did I mention that all those amounts are in US dollars and they are PER TICKET!

There was also a disclaimer-like notice for each of these offers to let buyers know that the offeror is a “resale marketplace, not the ticket seller”. For what it’s worth, apparently you also get a “200% worry-free guarantee”… I guess that’s the difference between the WagJag tickets on offer and those you buy from a common scalper.

Normally when I hear about something I can’t afford, I may think about it for a couple minutes – maybe dream about buying it when I win the lottery – and then I move on. But not this time. I can’t tell you how many times the past few days I’ve thought about the idea of spending $8,800 for a concert ticket. For the longest time, I just couldn’t get my head around why anyone would pay that kind of money for a concert.

Eventually, however, I figured out what’s really bothering me. It’s not about Adele at all. It’s not even about wondering who has the kind of disposable income that allows them to spend thousands of dollars for two hours of entertainment. What I’ve really been hung up on is that I lack the imagination to think of anything I’d find so entertaining that I’d be willing to spend $8,800 on for two hours.

What would you spend $8,800 on?

© 2016 Ingrid Sapona


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