Triumph in Ticketing


There are some distinct disadvantages to this whole “time zone” arrangement they use to keep the clocks on this planet all organized.

One of the bad things is that when you want to do something in another time zone, it’s just the wrong time, and so it was for me early this morning.

Tickets for the World Twenty20 championship next year in London went on sale today at the reasonable time of 10:00AM, BST. Being an international cricket championship, there’s a lot of interest from cricketing nations around the world, for example India (where it was 2:30 PM), Australia (7:00PM in Sydney), New Zealand (9:00PM) or South Africa (11:00AM)… all perfectly reasonable time to be purchasing tickets.

But consider us poor folk in Arizona. 10:00AM BST is 02:00AM here. That’s not a reasonable hour to be doing anything, except sleeping.

And yet… there I was, at 1:50AM, with only a small nap in the afternoon, preparing for the mad rush for tickets.

The Internet and credit cards are the great equalizers in the world today, and I was hopeful that I’d at least be able to get tickets for a Super-8 match, but I had my list prepared, in order from most desirable to least desirable match.

At 1:50, the ICC website changed. The link to buy tickets was now real, and so I immediately followed the link to the ticketing company. It was still too early, but a message came up saying, “Due to the current high demand you have been placed in a queue.”

How uniquely British! Rather than a major ticket vendor like TicketMasters have sufficient hardware to handle the task (What? They don’t have big events?) they developed a way to appeal to the British love of forming queues.

The estimated wait time progress bar crept across the screen, and, after just 10 minutes, I was deposited on a ICC T20 page – I think. The page was a squib. THere was nothing on it except ICC graphics. What to do? What to do? Should I continue to wait, or should I try a page reload? The page might not be auto-refreshing, on the other hand, reloading the page might dump me back to the beginning of the queue.

Or… could the bad page be because I was using Safari for my browser?

By now it was 2:05 and I fired up Firefox and put it on a second screen. It was waiting in queue, and the progress bar was slowly moving. I decided to gamble and I hit reload in Safari. The squib page reloaded, so I tried again,

This time a login page popped up: You must login or register to purchase ticket. I clicked the register button… I got a squib page. I tried a reload and I ended up back at the login page. I tried register again, this time the registration screen came up. Quickly I entered my information and hit “submit”. It was 2:09… and after a minute, a “page not found” came up.

I tried reload again – and was put at the back of the queue. Had I registered? How long would I wait?

I decided to let the Firefox copy run and I shut down Safari. Firefox had already achieved a 25% complete progress bar. My hopes of getting tickets to the final match were fading fast, especially when I began to realize the progress bar would periodically shorten itself. One minute it would be 40% done, the next 15%.

One hour, 45 minutes later and I was once again put to the login screen. I risked it and tried the login I had tried to create earlier. It worked! I was in! I zipped to the tickets for the final, fully expecting them to be sold out and… bought my my tickets, paid for them, logged out and went to bed.

OK, the story ends somewhat anticlimactically, but it it helps make it some more problematic, by this time it was 4:00AM, and I was soon due to wake up for work, and the adrenaline rush from desperately, impatiently waiting had wound me up enough that I couldn’t really sleep.

Still. June 2009, the UK.

Let’s hope the world economy doesn’t collapse so badly that it’s possible to actually use those tickets.