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Paperless Tickets – Not so Convenient

Remember that old Saturday Night Live character, the Pathological Liar, played by Jon Lovitz? He’d deliver outrageous lies, like the recurring one that he was married to Morgan Fairchild. When he realized he’d thought of a particularly good lie, he’d exclaim “Yeahhh! That’s the ticket!”

Future references to tickets may only be idiomatic if a new paperless trend for concerts and sporting events takes off.  Ticketmaster has introduced what it calls a “Paperless Ticket” and Veritix has a paperless ticketing technology called Flash Seats. The concept is the same – no more paper tickets.

But to me paperless tickets are not the ticket for consumer convenience.

Ticketmaster touts the convenience of paperless tickets: “Fans will no longer have to stand in line to pick up tickets at will-call”, it says, and the “entire process is quick, secure and simple.”

And, after all, it sounds appealingly convenient. It’s similar to ordering movie tickets from home on Fandango. But this is one advancement in technology that heads in the wrong direction.

First of all, check out this line from the Ticketmaster press release:

Fans who ordered tickets can simply present venue door staff their credit card, along with a valid photo ID, and they’ll be given a receipt and granted immediate access.

I added the italics for emphasis. So fans must present the credit card used in purchasing the tickets and a government-issued photo identification for admittance? This sounds like a security checkpoint at the airport. And it doesn’t sound simple, for now I have to present two items (credit card & ID) instead of just one ticket.

Nor does it seem quick. The process of presenting credit cards and ID will slow admittance lines, especially at rush times minutes before a show’s start time.

But here’s the kicker: because you have to show the purchasing credit card, you must wait for all your guests to arrive and enter the venue at the same time. If one of your guests is late, you are all late.

The lack of will-call is nice, but this affects just a portion of ticket fans. For most of us, well, saying paperless tickets are convenient is like saying I’m married to Jessica Alba…yeahhh, that’s the ticket!

Paperless tickets can’t really be about convenience, so we’ll have to watch closely to learn what this is really all about.

-Braden Cox