Since I am doing more social media blogging for Hackmeister Marketing, this blog is going to get a little more personal. To that end, I figure it is time to start sharing some of my favorite stories of my limited experiences in this world. Today’s gem from my past is from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Krystal won tickets to the Woman’s snowboarding halfpipe event from her company’s Christmas party a few months earlier. We were ecstatic for the chance to be in the middle of the biggest event ever to take place in our other favorite city so we immediately started making plans. Finding a place to stay in Vancouver was a challenge, we even considered staying in Victoria and taking the ferry to Vancouver each day we’d be up there. Luckily we were able to track down a very nice couple who had been running basically a youth hostel out of their home in North Van. That part of the story warrants its own blog post, so stay tuned for more adventures in non-traditional Canadian accommodations.
We drove up the day before the event and headed downtown to be part of the spectacle. It was far from our first time in Vancouver, but the city had been transformed. There were people everywhere and there was an energy in the city that was amazing to be apart of. We walked for a few hours, taking in different sites and just enjoying life at the Olympics. And, of course, we hunted for hockey tickets.
This was early on in the games, so the hockey tournament was still in the round robin stages. There were men’s games all day, but no headline grabbing match-ups. That being said, this was Olympic men’s hockey, in Canada, so everything had been sold out for months. We were a few hours away from the start of team Sweden’s first game of the tournament and the opportunity to watch the Sedin twins play at home was too good to pass up.
After many failed attempts to find “affordable” tickets through official ticket brokers, we descended into scalper hell to try our luck. To be clear, I hate this. I do not like haggling, bargaining or any of it. I also have the world’s worst “poker face”- anyone within 8 blocks knew I would probably give my left arm for two nosebleed tickets. Luckily Krystal is GREAT at this, so I turned her loose on the poor unsuspecting scalpers, confident she would score us a deal and we’d be on our way to the game. And after a few broken deals, there we were- with two well inspected, unquestionably authentic, lower level tickets for the game. Since we were less than an hour away from start of the game, she had even negotiated to pay face value for the tickets. What a deal!!
We handed over our cash to the guy and headed off for the arena. About half way there, I think to myself- “I wonder if we’re on a aisle or in the middle”. I look down at the tickets and the one on top is for seat 3. No problem, in some sections that is an aisle seat. I rotate the tickets in my hand, keeping the death grip I’ve had on them since we bought them. I’m in seat 3 and Krystal is in…….seat 3?!?!? I stop dead in my tracks and stare dumbfounded at the tickets. Then I start to hyperventilate. I feel sick to my stomach and have a hard time staying upright. What are we going to do?!? Krystal rips the tickets from my hands and for the 5th time in the last 20 minutes she inspects the tickets. The paper is right, the printing is right, the official Olympic hologram is right. What is happening? We soon realize that one ticket is the original and the other is an official reprint. As I am trying to practice my speech to the ticket takers, convincing them to just let Krystal sit on my lap during the game, my 5’2″ wife storms off in search of our scalper. It takes a second, but I realize what she is doing and run to catch up to her.
I am shocked to see our scalper still standing on the block we left him. He still has tickets to sell and is obviously surprised to see us walking back up to him. In an intelligent move on his part, he ignores Krystal and asks me “What’s up?” “You tell me- these are for the same seats” I manage to spit out. To this day, I don’t know if this next part is truth or a well executed plan, but he takes the tickets from my hand and furiously inspects the tickets he has just sold us. After a few seconds, almost under his breath, he says “I got screwed”.
At this point it is obvious that our transaction is not business as usual so a few other scalpers are now surrounding us on the street. One of them is trying to convince us to go to the arena and tell them what happened and they will just let us in. Krystal is having none of that. She demands our money back. Our scalper hems and haws, but after a few tense minutes of debate with us and the other scalpers- HE ACTUALLY GIVES US BACK OUR MONEY!!
We snatch our money from his hands, offer a quick thank you and get the hell out of there! Krystal is ready to try her luck again with another scalper, but we are minutes from puck drop and I am fried. We end up walking a mile or so to Granville Island and watch the game from a bar, an experience that also warrants a blog post). The next day we would finally witness our first live Olympic event at Cypress Mountain.
The moral of my story, do not mess with my wife! And, whenever possible, just buy tickets from the box office.