Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oct 7, 2011 - amendment of my sept 28 post about concert tickets

Ok folks, i don't usually edit or remove my past blog posts, but in an effort to eliminate misinformation on the internet, i have decided to amend this entry.... it is my goal to keep the story and the spirit of my mood in tact, while correcting facts and removing opinions that are no longer valid:

After years of prep, the Arts and Culture Centres (6 indoor concert venues across the province, that are run by the provincial government) finally launched their new and improved website - which included secure online ticket ordering.  one month later, i sign up and make my very first purchase.  less than 1 minute after tickets supposedly went on sale for Jim Cuddy (of Blue Rodeo fame) and his solo band's November 16th concert in St. John's.  I was delighted to secure a pair of front row centre tickets.

Well, the next day, i get a phone message advising me that there was apparently a glitch in the new computer system. these seats were apparently not supposed to be made available for me to purchase, and that i was being asked to call in and either accept a refund, or accept alternate seats.

As far as i am concerned this is a major blunder and huge embarssment for Government, especially since they want to blame this new computer system that was likely created by a team of highly-paid private technology consultants - all on the taxpayer's dollar. Heck, this even has me questioning whether it is even appropriate for Government to be in the ticket-selling business, let alone, the entertainment business.

Anyway, i called into the box office to discuss and accepted a pair of alternate seats. i also accepted a free pair of tickets to another event at their venue. but what they couldn't do, was tell me what had happened specifically, and why it was me, and not someone else, who was being asked to give up these seats.. 

So, i filed a complaint with management reps from the Arts/Culture Centre and Jim Cuddy's agent. I had initially indicated on this blog that there was not an immediate response, but shortly thereafter, i did get a response from Cuddy's rep expressing empathy and requesting more info. after sending more info, although i did not hear back from the agent, i was contacted by Arts/Culture Centre management and invited to come in for a face to face meeting to chat further about the issue.

Although my ultimate hopes of somehow getting front row seats to this concert did not materialize, i am still very pleased with the steps the Arts/Culture centre took too listen to my concerns, provide me with additional information about what happened, and their efforts to take action to try to make things right.

As someone who used to work for the provincial government's information technology (IT) department, i have been trained to feel disappointed when people always seem to want to blame a poor defenceless computer system for their problems. computers only do what people program them to do. for every computer problem, there is a person who directly or indirectly caused that problem, eirher during system development, or by the end user.

Well,  having heard a detailed explanation, i totally take the Arts/Culture centre off the hook and feel quite comfortable stating that this matter occured due to no fault of them.

One thing i did do during the process of this ticket issue, was place guilt and pressure upon Cuddy's team and the arts/culture centre's team - and i feel badly about how my complaint stressed and impacted these people, and may have stresses the relationship they have with each other.

anyway, I guess my beef is with the IT department - who according to publicly-available Department of Finance budget documents, spent $38 million on 'professional services' (aka private sector contractors) during the 2010-11 fiscal year.  Hey taxpayers, do you think you are getting your money's worth???

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