OPINION: The Quirky Politics of Buying Tickets

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Patrons can display many quirky qualities when buying theatre tickets. For example, there seems to be very few leaders when large bookings are being made. The process for decision making during a group booking purchase is like old-fashioned democracy. No decision is made based on one person’s opinion. Every choice is stated before the group and voted on with a majority rules result. At times it is also not unlike an election campaign. One person may prefer their seat on the aisle, while another wants their seat in the middle of the row. Others in the group who are impartial are immediately subjected to a persuading process where they are convinced to display their affections towards seating in the middle or at the end of a row. Once their decision has been swayed either way, the votes are counted and a decision is made, once again, on a majority rules result.

Another interesting observation is when a husband and wife purchase tickets together. It is most commonly the wife who approaches the counter. Generally husbands will keep their distance or feign mild interest at the brochure stand, apparently afraid of the interaction. If their wife hesitates to move toward the counter, husbands will gently usher their partner towards the counter in an encouraging gesture. This apparent reprieve from human contact and any decision making duties is met with obvious relief as they follow behind their wife to the counter, ever so slowly reaching for their wallet in the back pocket hoping she may change her mind or the show is sold out before he has to produce the dough. Always staying just out of direct sight, he pretends to be interested in something in the corner of the room, and replies to any questions regarding seating preference with a simple and polite “Wherever you’d like to sit”.

On the odd occasion when the husband is sent to buy the tickets and he arrives alone, a precursor such as “I think...”, “My wife said...” or “That show that’s on...” is common in alerting others to his point of discontent that he has been required to perform the dubious task of purchasing theatre tickets. I imagine it would be a similar reaction displayed if he were to be sent to buy bright pink glitter nail polish.

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