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Sleepless in Seattle

Ticket Scalpers

You see them every time you go to a highly attended baseball game. Scalpers raise their tickets high in the air as they yell, "get your tickets here, folks." Usually when you approach a scalper hoping to get a couple tickets for a good price, you leave shaking your head over the money they are asking for. Most people don't like scalpers because they purchase mass amounts of tickets and sell them at a high price. Some scalpers even look sad and beg for tickets just to turn around and sell them. While some scalpers deceive people to some extent in order to make money, most scalpers are very fair and are a tremendous example of the free American market.

Back in February, my uncle had a terrific idea for me to make some money this summer. I'm a junior in high school so I've been working and saving money for college. My uncle said that I should purchase as many tickets as possible for Mariner games at Safeco Field against the Yankees and Red Sox. Then I could sell them on Craigslist or StubHub for a good profit. I agreed that his was a very good idea, so I called the Mariner Team Store and inquired further about buying tickets. I knew that I would have to be first in line when the tickets went on sale in order to get tickets for Opening Day, which was projected to sell out in about 15 minutes.

The team store employee said that people started lining up about nine or ten hours before the single game tickets went on sale last year. Since single game tickets were going to be released at 10:00 A.M. on March 13th, I decided to set up my sleeping bag and reclining beach chair at 10 P.M. the night before. My parents were a little nervous about letting me spend the night in front of the Mariner Team Store at the mall, but they let me do it anyway. The next morning, I purchased a bunch of cheap tickets for Opening Day, three games against the Yankees, and three games against the Red Sox. Now these tickets are listed on StubHub for about double the price I paid at the team store. Sales are going well and I'm on pace to make about as much money as my uncle and I projected back in February.

There are definitely some people who complain that people like me are "scamming and cheating" our way to a good profit. I believe that it is a case of the early bird getting the worm. Anyone who is willing to spend a cold night outside of a team store can get their hands on high demand tickets for a cheap price. Those who don't purchase tickets when they are first released must resort to buying tickets from the early birds who put the effort into getting the tickets from the box office.

Ticket scalpers who purchase tickets when they are first released and sell them online or at the ballpark simply make the tickets available to a larger group of people. However, ticket scalpers must charge a hefty price to make up for the troubles of acquiring the tickets in the first place.

As stated earlier, many people complain about the prices ticket scalpers charge. One of the great things about America is that it is a free market society. Businesses and ticket scalpers can put whatever number they want on the price tag. If the demand is high, the price will go up. If the demand is low, the price will go down. Sometimes, ticket scalpers lose money because the demand is so low that they must sell their tickets for below face value.

People who don't like ticket scalpers shouldn't purchase tickets from any third party ticket sales websites. If enough people refrain from purchasing tickets from sites like or, then the prices of scalper tickets will drop due to the decrease in the demand.

There are definitely some ticket scalpers who trick their way into getting tickets or sell fake tickets to unsuspecting fans. However, most ticket scalpers do their business in a perfectly legal manner. These folks are prime examples of people who put their talents to good use in the free market system we use here in America. Thanks to my friend and fellow member "sportz" for giving me the idea of writing about ticket scalpers.

Max Van Hollebeke is a contributing columnist to

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