Not Saussure

December 13, 2006

Let charities benefit from supply and demand

Filed under: UK — notsaussure @ 9:10 pm

Not quite sure I understand this, but since it concerns fans of Princess Diana, Sir Elton John and Duran Duran that’s hardly surprising.


Touts have started to sell tickets for the Diana memorial concert at hugely inflated prices.

Offers of seats at more than five times the £45 face value were on the internet before they were officially available.

Internet auction site eBay had dozens of tickets on sale within moments of the box office closing but it said such auctions were being removed.

The first 22,500 tickets for the concert featuring Sir Elton John and Duran Duran sold out within minutes.

though the story goes on to explain that a further 10,000 tickets will go on sale next year.

Surely the problem isn’t that the people reselling their tickets are charging ‘hugely inflated’ prices; it’s hardly as if they’ve corned a monopoly in some necessity of life, after all. They’ve taken advantage of the fact the organisers offered the tickets for sale at far less than their market value, thus depriving the charities that are supposed to benefit from the event of large amouts of potential revenue. The disappointed people who couldn’t get through in time to book the tickets before they sold out haven’t lost out in any way; in effect, the organisers held a lottery, which didn’t cost anything to enter, in which the prizes were tickets at a fifth of their market value. They didn’t win a prize in this lottery; well, they don’t many of them win in the National Lottery, either, but I bet they don’t complain, and that actually costs them money to enter.

Possibly the best solution, and one they might adopt when they issue the next tranche of tickets, would have been to allocate the tickets to the charities who are to benefit from the event and let them sell them on at whatever the market will bear, thus cutting the ticket-touts out of the equation. The charities then pass on an agreed price (less than £45, obviously) to the organisers so they can defray their costs.

Seems to me that no one could reasonably object to the charities thus maximising their income; after all, it’s a bit much for someone to say, in effect, that these worthy causes supporting

those living with HIV/AIDS, communities affected by landmines, and other vulnerable and marginalised people

should be denied income just so he can afford to spend an evening with his wife and two others listening to Sir Elton John. Could they have looked the sainted Diana in the eye and told her that some of her landmine victims would have to go without artifical limbs in order they might enjoy an evening out? I doubt it.

I’m sure there’s a flaw in my reasoning, but I can’t see what it is.

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