Capitalism or Greed? Often, a Fine Line…

Good old fashioned capitalism?  Or price gouging and scalping?

Thousands of  "tweens" don’t really care what you call it.  All they know is that their dreams of seeing 14-year-old singer / actress / icon Miley Cyrus, aka "Hannah Montana," have been squashed by ticket brokering organizations who have bought up the vast majority of tickets in a number of cities across the country, and are selling them for 5 to 35 times the list price of $63.

On the one hand, free enterprise works on the premise of first come, first served.  And if you have enough money, you can purchase what you want.  And what these ticket brokers want is tickets that they can sell for profit.  That’s how they make their money.

On the other hand, if you or I tried doing that, we would be arrested for scalping.  So, apparently it’s okay to do on a mass scale, as long as you hide behind a business name and have a web site.

A recent article on cnn.com, titled Brokers Snatch Joy from Hannah Montana Fans, discusses this phenomenom.  Now, this kind of thing happens to concerts and ball games and other big events all the time.  But this particular occurence strikes a sour chord on a couple of levels.

One, the ticket brokers bought up almost ALL of the tickets in many major cities, almost immediately.  So there was little opportunity for the rank and file to purchase their tickets at the list price.

And the other issue is, this event is for KIDS.  It’s a big deal for kids – this is probably the first concert that many of them were interested in attending.  And the listed price of $63 was high enough, but once the scalpers… uh, I mean brokers got into the game, the prices skyrocketed into the ridiculous (four figures, for heaven’s sake!) range.  And due to the targeted demographic here (10-14 year old girls), they are not going to go to this event alone.  Most will require a parental chaperone (i.e., another full-priced ticket).

Miss Cyrus, and her father, country music star Billy Ray Cyrus, sort of just shrug and give a sad little smile, saying there is nothing they can do about this, because, frankly, no laws have been broken by the brokers.  No, it is the system that is broken. 

But what if the Cyruses decided to put on some free shows?  The scheduled Hannah Montana shows are already sold out (thanks to the brokers), so Miss Cyrus wouldn’t lose any money.  And she would gain even MORE adulation from her adoring fans.  And the greedy, price gouging brokers would maybe think twice before pulling this kind of stunt, at least to this extreme, in the future.

   — Chuck Dennis

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