Trapped in the Electronic World

by John Delach

Once again, I have fallen victim to the ever expanding and complicated electronic world. I am forever playing catch up trying to understand that what simply eludes me before being confronted by the next revolution.  All I know is I’m continually a day late and a dollar short.


My latest trial came when I set out to purchase tickets to a football game only to be forced to confront e-tickets as my only option. Living most of my life comfortable with paper tickets I had a hard time adjusting to the first generation of e-tickets that airlines promulgated sometime in the 1990s. I wasn’t happy when I was forced to print my own boarding passes first at the airport and then at home via my PC. At least, I could live with this process as it still produced a document I could hold in my hand.


Smart phones brought forth a new leap into this brave new world: Stand-alone e-tickets. The ticket parked on your phone was the only evidence you had of buying it. I did report last summer that I took the plunge when the Long Island Railroad introduced e-tickets. I bought a round trip using my IPhone. What I didn’t realize was e-tickets are the LIRR’s friend, not the passenger’s. Once you activate it, Big Brother ends its validation 30-minutes later. A paper ticket is good for a fixed period and if the collector doesn’t take it…you ride for free. Lesson learned, I stopped buying LIRR E-tickets.


My real introduction to e-tickets came this summer. I bought four tickets from StubHub in June for a road Giants game in Tampa versus the Buccaneers. I expected StubHub to alert me when they received the tickets from the seller so I could print them at home. Instead, I received the following message on August 8:


You’ll need to download the Buccaneers app on your smart phone and create an account with the same email address you used on StubHub. Once your tickets are transferred to you, you’ll receive an email notification from the primary and will be able to view this ticket transfer on the app. If you have any questions call us 24/7.


W.T.F! Damn right, I had questions. Fortunately, I had the good fortune to reach a rep at StubHub who had the patience of Job and a think on-your-feet mentality. By the end of our conversation I had the Buccaneer app on my IPhone, a valid account and a valid password. Believe me though, it was a slog about as painful as root canal. A lesser person would have cut me adrift. Not only was she successful, but she empowered me with a sense that I had this mastered. One thing did bother me though, she informed me that I would not receive the e-tickets until September 28 and the game was on October 1.


A good thing I didn’t fret too much over this narrow window because I received a new message from StubHub two days later:


Hi John,


Your tickets are ready to print in your StubHub account.


The message included detailed instructions about how to print my tickets and what I should do with them, i.e.: Bring them to the game…W.T.F!


Before I could react, a second email arrived this time from Ticketmaster that read:


Dear John,


Brad Bond is offering tickets to the event(s) listed below. To collect the items offered, please click on the button below and follow the simple instructions.  


I presumed Brad Bond was the seller but why did Ticketmaster get into the act? I followed their instructions and pressed a box that said: CLICK HERE TO ACCEPT TICKETS…


W.T.F. Instead of moving forward a message advised that I had to close some program that blocked cookies before I could open the tickets. What program and where would I find it? Is it on my IPhone, on my HP laptop or on AOL? Confused and reeling, I called my 17-year-old grandson, Drew. Politely, he asked if I could call him the next day as he was mowing lawns for cash.


“Of course.” I replied. But wait, I then received the following email directly from the Bucs:


You are going to the event(s) below – have a blast. Before you get to the gate…we recommend you pull up your tickets before arriving at the entry gate.


Three different sources of information, StubHub, Ticketmaster and the Bucs. I repeat the obvious; W.T.F! Thoroughly and soundly defeated, I was about to give up when the thought occurred: “Why not check the Bucs app on my IPhone?”


To my surprise and amazement there were four e-tickets on the app each with a QR Code (that box with all those lines and patterns inside.) It seems all’s well that ends well unless I somehow erase the tickets between now and October 1, or even worse, lose my phone.


One final thought: “I’m too old for this s***!”