Friday, February 19, 2010

Scalping Tickets? Don't Carry Change

From Swifter, Higher, a blog about the Olympics:
"What do you want to pay for it?" Leather Jacket said. "75... 60..."
"30," I said.
It was about as close to an Olympic victory as I'm ever going to get. I pulled a pair of Canadian twenties from my pocket. As he pulled his stack of bills out, he tried one last maneuver.
"I'm sorry, I only have one five," he said. "You want to flip?"
"No," I answered.
While it did not quite work in this scenario, there's something to be said for not carrying change for one-off transactions--especially urgent ones, like ticket scalping shortly before a sporting event. Once a fan has spent time negotiating with a scalper, he's unlikely to walk away from the deal over a few dollars. And he's unlikely to go find a bank or another third party to make correct change. Or to start over with another scalper, as it's uncertain he'll get a better deal and the cost of wasting even more time (and thus seeing less of the event) is high.

See the article for more on the underbelly of the Olympics ticket-scalping scene.

Hat tip to the Freakonomics blog.