Guest Author - Sylvia Cochran
When Disney teen idols turn into concert performers and suddenly their concert tickets sell like hotcakes, the opportunity for scam artists, ticket scalpers, and conmen frequenting online auction sites is ready made: what would ordinarily be a $75 ticket to a Hannah Montana or now disgraced Britney Spears concert, now sells for three to five times as much! In essence, this is the free market at its worst – but it is market driven supply and demand nonetheless.
As the aforementioned scammers got a bit savvier with the computers, Hannah Montana’s 2007 concert tickets were sold out online within minutes while those who had somehow sweet talked their parents into letting them sleep in line at the ticket offices were jibbed. Under pressure from angry constituents, Minnesota state legislators found the solution by passing a “Hannah Montana Bill” that forbids the use of computers by ticket brokers to virtually buy up all available seats before the first in person present fan can even get out a credit card.
What Senator Ron Latz believed to be groundbreaking in the ways of granting equal access to popular events, Florida’s legislators saw as a civil rights issue with respect to free market opportunities. Curtailing an open market is bad enough, but when there are other problems such as the computer access of minority owned businesses or those who are disabled, the law suddenly looked like a huge can of worms.
Sure, many adults might not really worry too much about Hannah Montana or Britney Spears, but what about the sports tickets that go on sale and are sold out within seconds? The same could be said about the charity concerts for an unpopular cause where all the tickets are gobbled up but then not sold and therefore the event is more or less a bust? Could there be a manipulation of the actual events that may take place by those with quick loading computers who find a way to regulate who gets to attend and who do not?
This in itself may smack of civil rights violations because some minority groups are not able to spend the exorbitant amounts scalpers are asking for when it comes to tickets to premier sporting events. The same is true with respect to the disabled and the elderly who may rely on social security to make ends meet. A disenfranchising of some portion of society for the sake of the free market has all the makings of a civil rights nightmare.