For those who missed it and keep asking me about it, here it is: Aaron Schock -- ticket scalper:
Aaron Schockwas in high school, his job was to buy tickets.
His employer would order tickets to, say, a Garth Brooks concert, and Schock would call Ticketmaster. He would purchase the maximum number of tickets allowed and send them to his employer, who would reimburse Schock's credit-card account and send him a commission. Then his employer would try to resell the tickets to a diehard Garth Brooks fan, hopefully for way more than face value.
"It wasn't bad money for a high school student," Schock says. "It beat working at McDonald's."
Schock, one of the Peoria area's representatives in the state legislature, compares the practice of ticket-scalping to other great examples of American capitalism, such as playing the stock market or speculating in real estate. There is the potential of great reward, but also risk. And the risk and reward cut both ways.
Yeah, well the payday loan business is legal too, but I wouldn't call it moral. But you would elect a payday loan operator to the state legislature? I wouldn't want my sister to date one. A ticket scalper is almost on the same moral level.
JS sports columnist Kirk Wessler later explains that the State of Illinois legalized this sort of behavior in 1991. Even the ballclubs are getting into the act, selling tickets never offered to the public to brokers who then immediately jack up the prices. Thanks to computers and the Internet, scalpers don't even have to stand in line, which is why so few tickets are available at the door on game day anymore.
And the problem just keeps getting worse. Eventually, every single sporting event will be like the Super Bowl and the only way to get tickets it to know somebody who knows somebody, or be connected to a powerful politician or be a client for a huge corporation.
Ticket scalping is ruining sports. It benefits the greed-heads at the expense of the fans.
If ticket scalping is one of the "great examples of American capitalism," then so is Enron. But then, the last thing a sharp operator like Shock wanted to do as a kid was work at McDonalds. At least it would have been honest work, and might have better prepared him to understand his constituency a little bit better.
Cross posted to Peoria Pundit.