A HWE first! This is a guest post by Rodrigo Nunes, an assistant professor of Global and Latin American Studies at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas:
This is another potential dumb way to die in Rio: buying tickets for a match at Maracanã.
I exaggerate; but at the very least the process can lead to irreversible damage to one’s ability to think rationally, and shake whatever faith in the private sector one might possess. Readers of this blog should be familiar with the stadiums recent history of over-budgeted reforms and transfer to private hands, but they are not prepared for the sheer level of incompetence that the new lords of the stadium have displayed in the last couple of days.
Of course, I can only speak about my own experience. I wanted to buy 9 tickets for the Sunday match between Fluminense and Vasco, the first official game of the Private Maracana era. I’m no cambista, mind you, but I have a group of American students that are dying to experience the jogo bonito live (they are in for some disappointment on that front also). In any case, the game is on Sunday and on Tuesday it was announced that online sales would begin the following day. Ah, for the conveniences of post-industrial life!
The first ducha de agua fria hit me when the online seller limited each buyer to three tickets. No matter, I said, I have two credit cards and a debit card. 3x3=9. As I proceeded, the next guardian of the gates raised its ugly head: online sales do not grant you a ticket. After the purchase, you have to print a form, sign it, and bring it together with an id and the purchasing credit card to the Maracanã in order to redeem your ticket!
But mind you, tickets will not be distributed on the day of the game. No will-call window. You, dear customer, have to haul your sorry carcass to Maracanã in the middle of the week to collect your online-purchased tickets!
At this point I’m already fuming. And I root for Mengão! But now for the cherry on top: For this convenience, futebolcard.com will charge you a R$6 fee, which basically amounts to 10% of the ticket price. Are you still with me? Hello, hello?
This is beyond incompetence, it’s just mean.
So I collect a few students and go to an official ticket booth in the Zona Sul where we can supposedly buy tickets without having to pay a convenience fee. There is a line. The line does not move. The line does not move because everybody in Brazil, apparently, is entitled to a half-price ticket. But to get these half-price tickets, you see, we need to make sure that you are who you say you are, of the age you say you are, of the profession you say you are, etc. Every person walking into the ticket booth spent 10 minutes filling up forms and unearthing documentation. In the meantime, a gentleman started fuming because he was told that he could not buy a half-price ticket for his 12-year old son. The reason? His 12-year old son, rather than be in line like a good consumer, was at school (or with his mom, or doing whatever it is that 12 year olds should be doing on a beautiful winter afternoon). How can we know he’s really 12? Without the kids documentation, or the kid, there was no chance.
All’s well that ends well and we got our tickets. But if this process is any indication of things to come, I’m not sure I’m looking forward to watching this game after all. Maybe I should do a pay-per-view and watch it at home.
Oh, wait, that will cost $R80….