I recently bought tickets for Slaid Cleaves at Borderline in London. Since the Borderline has been run by the Mean Fiddler organisation ticket prices have gone up, but they’re still reasonable. I used to pay about £8 a ticket, but now it’s more like £14. The thing that really really gets me, though, is the amount they charge to book the tickets. For this event, I was charged £2.60 a ticket booking fee, plus a further £2 to have them posted to me. Appalled at what they were going to charge, I went out of my way to get to one of the venues to buy the tickets in person. I was careful to bring cash as they charge an extra £1 if you pay by card even at the venue, but the venues stop selling tickets after 6pm. So, unless you happen to work in easy distance of the venues, it’s not possible to get tickets at face value.
The thing that drives me nuts about this is not the amount I pay – I would pay £18 to see Slaid Cleaves, but the fact that by associating these costs with booking and administration, I bet none of the extra goes anywhere near the artist. I’m also annoyed because the cheapest setup for Mean Fiddler must be to take online bookings, where the card transaction happens automatically and they just have to put the tickets in the post, but this is the most expensive way for the customer to get the tickets.
I’m also not against any charges. If the booking fee were £1 a ticket, and postage £0.50, I’d be perfectly happy to pay it. It’s the obvious rip-off element that gets me and makes me want to avoid Mean Fiddler events at all costs (excuse the pun!).