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Simon Winchester: I simply wished to see James Taylor at Tanglewood — I did not know it will price me $5,000 | Columnists

Simon Winchester: I simply wished to see James Taylor at Tanglewood — I did not know it will price me $5,000 | Columnists

2023-02-27 21:04:58

SANDISFIELD — Shut pals have from time to time advised me what I now in the end know to be incontrovertibly true — that I’m an fool.

An entire, complete, copper-bottomed nitwit, an individual who ought to amongst many different sanctions be stored by a restraining order from being inside 100 toes of a pc. Particularly when in possession of a bank card.

As this story will amply illustrate.

A story which I inform right here to not evoke sympathy nor to hunt redress, however to warning any others equally compromised of the expensive perils of unyielding stupidity.

It was an early weekday night throughout that latest very chilly spell. My spouse and the canine have been cozily settled by the hearth. I used to be at my laptop computer, little question studying some uplifting literature. However then I all of the sudden remembered: round now’s the deadline for getting tickets to see James Taylor perform over Independence Day at Tanglewood.

We love James Taylor. Except for the site visitors, we love Tanglewood. We love that bit in “Candy Child James” the place he sings in regards to the winter turnpike, our turnpike, lined with snow from Stockbridge to Boston. We nicely up. We brim.

As a result of the realist in me thought that James Taylor can’t go on doing this forever, possibly this 12 months I would truly purchase tickets. Furthermore, I had develop into a citizen on an earlier July 4, so the present would amplify the pleasure of the anniversary. It might price, I knew. However hey. On occasion, why not. So I went searching for tickets.

Twenty-two years in the past, after I first got here to the Berkshires, you’d ring the Tanglewood field workplace and a pleasant motherly sounding woman would discover the perfect seats for you and take your particulars and that will be that. Not any extra.

Now, on merely typing Tanglewood, Tickets, James Taylor, a web-only firm referred to as introduced itself on my display, telling me that its enterprise was Connecting Followers With Unforgettable Experiences.

How true this turned out to be.

Regardless of the live performance’s on-sale date having handed, a scattering of tickets appeared nonetheless to be accessible. Within the Shed, part 4, possibly 10 rows again from the stage. Good sufficient, I assumed. I moved my mouse round throughout the extra and fewer engaging rows within the part whereas massive numbers in {dollars} rose and fell earlier than my eyes.

What number of tickets, the positioning requested. 4 I replied. A quantity stabilized in entrance of me. 9 hundred and ninety-eight {dollars}. Golly, I choked to myself. However then once more — as soon as in a lifetime, an excellent trigger (as a result of the Taylors donate all proceeds again to Tanglewood, advantageous people that they’re).

So I stated to myself, positive. Why not. I put within the bank card quantity, expiry date and the little three-digit thingy, clicked (with out studying, naturally) and hit “Buy.”

It took possibly three seconds. After which when the display lit up I gave just a little cry. It should have been fairly piercing, or loud. From beside the hearth my spouse pricked up her ears. The terrier, a creature of some economic system of motion, pricked up one in every of his. I’m afraid I’ve made a little bit of a bish, I spluttered, retaining the rising panic from my voice. What, she inquired.

I’ve simply purchased 4 tickets to a James Taylor live performance. I’ve been billed — and I learn the quantity as slowly and thoroughly as I might — 5 thousand and ninety-five {dollars} and twenty-six cents.

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I went again to the web site. Beneath the listed value quantity there was, within the tiniest and barely seen font, the letters ‘ea’. Every. Every ticket had been $998.

Oh. My. God. That’s what I’d have stated have been I a native-born American. However I’m English, and so it was a single phrase, and far, a lot worse. Just for a second, although — as a result of inside seconds, I appeared to have been saved. A tiny ding sounded on my cellphone. Bank card safety had declined the cost. Was this you? Hit YES. If not, hit NO and we’ll cancel the cardboard and ship you a brand new one. 

However oh, the inconvenience! A rapidly convened household council determined. Much better to speak to customer support. It was an trustworthy mistake — silly, sure. Careless, however trustworthy. I’m virtually 80. They’ll forgive it, certainly.

It took lower than three minutes for an algorithm creatively named Joebert to introduce himself on dwell chat. He very politely defined that he regretted most sincerely what had transpired, agreed that I had erred actually, after which solemnly however sympathetically knowledgeable me that guidelines have been guidelines, no refunds may very well be supplied and would I kindly have a pleasant day. Furthermore, everybody seemed ahead to my doing enterprise with at some future date.

No cube, in different phrases.

Ah nicely, there’s all the time Visa. To avoid wasting a $5,000 greenback mistake I might definitely climate the inconvenience of canceling a card. So I referred to as the cardistas. However it appears the TicketSales computer systems had performed the identical, had been fairly busy whereas Joebert was chatting to me. The identical agency that had written ‘ea’ in near-invisible lettering had gleefully resubmitted the cost 4 additional occasions and Visa, seeing no problem from me, had given up the struggle, assumed every thing had been appropriate all alongside and approved it. I used to be, in a phrase, performed for.

And so it seems on my newest invoice: $3,944 for the 4 tickets themselves. Seven {dollars} and fifty cents for the advantage of utilizing the know-how. And a considerably unbelievable one thousand, 100 and forty-three {dollars} and seventy-six cents for what’s listed as a “service cost.” Complete: $5,095.26.

All I can now say is that James Taylor had higher be on prime type. After all, what he’ll give again to Tanglewood is a much smaller sum than I used to be charged.

However he’s a superb man. Possibly some characters on this story are much less so. One in every of them is silly, for positive. However the others? Frankly, I miss the motherly sounding woman. Tanglewood ought to rent her again.

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