20 Days of Thinking Blue: The strangely disheartening effect of Paperless Tickets

The countdown has begun, kids. Opening Night (well, American Opening Night) is fast approaching as the Dodgers take on the Padres down in San Diego on March 30th. Leading up until then, MAMBINO will tackle 20 of the most important–and some not so important–questions that will get you set up for a season of almost unparalleled expectations. Let’s get it going:
Does anyone else think the move to paperless tickets ONLY is a disastrous one?
(An answer from our friend Jack Stonetree in his MAMBINO debut post!)
It’s 2014. We’re at the point with our technology where I can literally do everything from home. I can work, shop, “see” friends, and stay completely connected to everything on the outside. This is good for a hermit crab such as myself. However, allow me to vent to the lovely MAMBINO readers about one technological advancement that has been thrust upon Dodger fans without our consent.
Paperless tickets.
Now you might say, “dude, what’s the big deal? Of course there should be paperless tickets for Dodger games. Save some trees bro, get with the times.” Okay dude, just put down the bubbler for a second and listen to me. This season, the Dodger front office has decided to make a mandatory switch to paperless tickets. The fans were not given a choice… you do not even have an option to use paper tickets. I’m not taking issue with the move to paperless… I’m taking issue with the mandatory nature of it.

Let me explain from where this beef comes. Reminiscent of Obamacare, the entire web presence surrounding the Dodger tickets is a complete disaster. Freezes, crashes, abysmally long wait times, and malfunctions. My father runs his own business and does not have the hours to spend trying to log in to his mandatory created Dodger account to access our family tickets. Once he was finally granted access (after about 3 days), the site told him his account was blocked because he hadn’t paid in full. Was he truly being a shady customer? No. He had decided not to subscribe to the optional Dodger magazine for $40. Optional. Sure, he had spent over $30,000 on tickets for the season, but the site decided to block him as a shady customer because he didn’t pay the $40 for the magazine that he doesn’t have to pay for in the first place. Because it’s optional. Now, many Dodger season-ticket holders have been loyal season-ticket holders for quite some time. My family is actually one of the 10 original season-ticket holders since the Dodgers moved here from Brooklyn. Is this any way to reward such loyalty?Here’s some more beef. While we of a younger generation can handle ourselves online without issue, people like my father, grandfather, and many other season-ticket holders (they do tend to be older) really have a lot of trouble. If something online isn’t laid out for them clearly and simply, it will frustrate and confuse them. Yes, I’m making a big generalization here…but I have seen/heard stories from several season-ticket holders (all of an older generation) about the stress and anxiety the paperless system is causing. Besides the tech glitches surrounding the site, it’s really not that easy to use. You have to watch a series of instructional videos in order to get your tickets. Seriously? If something is difficult enough that you need to watch a series of instructional videos on it, surely there’s something wrong. Also, let’s say you miss one thing in the video and want to rewind a bit…nope. You can’t. You have to sit through the entire video again (including the annoying commercial).

Also, in this day and age, people just assume universal Internet/computer access. What about this long-time season ticket holder I spoke to, a grandfather, who is still in charge of handling all the tickets for his family— he does not own a computer. Are you telling me that in order to continue enjoying Dodger games with his family, he has no choice but to buy a computer, printer and Internet access just to get his tickets?

Additionally, many season-ticket holders share the tickets with other families. We do. In the past, we could simply give the Dodger office a schedule, listing which family would be at which game, and the office would mail the tickets out accordingly. Now, the burden of ticket distribution falls solely on my father. And this isn’t just my father, it’s many season-ticket holders.

All in all, yes, this is very much a first world problem. We’ll figure it out, and at the end of the day, we have freakin season tickets to the Dodgers, why am I even complaining? Well, the question was about a blunder in the Dodger front-office, and I really do think this is a blunder. For people of an older generation who don’t like change and can’t handle the interwebs so well, why on earth would the office make the switch to paperless mandatory?? Paper tickets may be going the way of Blockbuster Video, but there’s a more graceful and tactful way to introduce sweeping change, and the Dodgers didn’t do it.

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