On Tuesday, TBF called and said, “The 15 game plan info is up. My invoice is in my account. Check yours.”

I logged in and didn’t seen an invoice, but sure enough, there was information about renewals, and more importantly, about upgrading your seating location. I dialed 718-507-TIXX so quickly I think I left scorch marks on the keypad.

“We’re not upgrading people yet,” said the person who answered the phone. (I didn’t get a name. I need to get a name every time I call.)
“But the information is on the web site,” I said. I started reading it out loud.
“Well, you can give us a deposit,” he said with some excitement.
“I’m not giving you any money until I can see where I can move up to.”
He put me on hold, for quite a significant amount of time. Long enough that I actually believed that he was talking to someone who might actually know something. (I never learn.)
“We’re not selling tickets until after the holiday,” said Mr. Ticket Rep.
“When exactly?”
“Monday or Tuesday.”
“So I can call at 9am on Monday?”
“Or Tuesday.” He was pushing this Tuesday thing pretty hard.
“I don’t want to call on Monday and find out that you’ve been upgrading people all along.”
“That won’t happen,” he said with decisiveness.
I hung up.

This morning, TBF emails that he read in various baseball chat locations that people with 15 game plans in the Promenade Reserve Infield had been upgraded from row 14 to row 9. I call 718-507-TIXX. I wait. And wait. And wait. I hear Sandy Alderson’s message at least 8 times before someone picks up the phone.

I explain the situation regarding the information I received on Tuesday.
“We only started on Wednesday,” he says.
“So why was I told that you weren’t starting until Monday or Tuesday?”
“I don’t know,” he says, and apologized. They always apologize, but I would rather that they just get it right the first time.
The next thing they do is try to upsell me.
“If I had the money to sit downstairs I would already be sitting downstairs.” I have to say this twice.
I am then transferred to someone who “handles” the Promenade Reserve Infield.
The best they can do – for the 15 game Friday “Plus” plan – is move us to section 519, row 9 or 10. This is a 4 or 5 row upgrade, 5 sections over from my current section. I don’t mind sitting along the baseline – I actually prefer it for photography – but if I’m moving that far away from my section I would have expected something better than row 9 or 10.

I didn’t expect that I’d be upgraded in my actual section, but they didn’t even try. Why? Because the Mets are still convinced that they are going to sell out their full season plans and they need to hold those tickets for new 15 game plan holders and for the mythical new season ticket holders who are going to mysteriously materialize and buy up the first 10 rows of the section. So the poor schlubs like me don’t stand a chance at somewhere decent.

We are not renewing. We are not renewing because:

  • I don’t believe them. People who held out last year still had a chance to buy their exact seats (OR BETTER) in March.
  • Last year, seats opened up in the row in front of us, despite us being told there was nothing better, and they wouldn’t sell them to us because there were 3 seats and we only needed 2.
  • We can put together our own plan for games we actually want to see on days we actually want to see games and buy tickets at the box office the day the tickets go on sale. It will take more work and we won’t get the discount but we’ll get seats we want for games we want and can replicate our old 25 game Tuesday-Friday plan at Shea, instead of Fridays and some random other weekday nights and at least two afternoon games we’ll never get to use and will have to waste.

I hate that I can never trust the information I get from the person who answers the phone at the Mets Ticket Office. This has happened not once, not twice, not three times, but at least half a dozen times (if not more) where I am told that I will get an email or my account will have access or that the information is arriving any day now and only by calling back repeatedly, because i see information in other locations that indicates strongly that the information I have received from the Mets is completely incorrect, do I finally find someone who will listen to me and fix the problem. This happened last year with buying opening day tickets, this has happened with invoices, this has happened so many times I have just given up hope. The sad thing is, I have alternate information sources and am not afraid to make myself into a pain in the ass until I get the correct answer. What about everyone else that doesn’t, that just believes whatever they are told by the first person they talk to? Why is this ineptitude tolerated? Given the current unemployment rate and job market I imagine there is no shortage of bright individuals who would be pleased to perform their job at a level of excellence. Maybe it’s too much to hope that we’d clean up the MTO the same year we’d clean up the front office.

Here is the other sad thing: once again, as my disposable income goes up, the Mets continue to get less and less of it. If the Mets offered me a 40-game plan in rows 1-5 in sections 520-509 I would buy it. Instead they will not get money from me in advance, they will not get me to buy 15 games up front, they will get my money when I choose to give them my money. I will put the money I would have spent up front in a slush fund and if somehow a miracle occurs in 2011 and the Mets make it to the postseason we will go to the secondary market. It will take more work on my part but I am smart enough and motivated enough to do it. And that’s of course without patronizing the secondary market from time to time for regular season games, which will be very attractive this year given that plan holders get a discount for the first time in the history of the world. No one will be clamoring to buy a Tuesday game against the Rockies in April, but I will likely be happy to take those tickets off someone’s hands.

Everyone is so blinded by the discount and the once-in-a-lifetime Season Ticket Holder opportunities that this story will continue to be overlooked, omitted, neglected. Because beat writers don’t buy tickets, and no one really cares about the fans sitting in the top row of the ballpark. The fans in the cheap seats would sit somewhere else if they could, and some of those people might some day get their hands on more money that would allow them to do so. Don’t think they won’t remember how they were treated when all they could afford was the top of the ballpark.

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