The Jesse Sandler story fell into my lap.
We were just a newsletter at that point with a dinky website (still a work in progress) and five thousand subscribers.
Jesse was a friend of a friend, and I — like everyone else — couldn’t believe a big, corporate, “legit” company like StubHub would give him such a viciously dry hand job without any semblance of a climax.
But Jesse had emails (and a voicemail from someone in the customer relations department admitting that StubHub was fucking him over) that proved every detail of his story.
Note: Jesse didn’t want the voicemail published because the guy who left it was “the only person who tried to make it right,” and he didn’t want to get him fired. You’ll never meet a nicer person than Jesse Sandler.
By 9:00 AM PDT the next day, I got a call from Kobe’s biggest fan: “Dude, StubHub just called and offered me tickets to Mamba’s last game and another game of my choosing, plus access into their suite at Staples — what do I do?”
The next 24 hours were a whirlwind — in a brilliant business move, Tickets For Less swooped on the free pub and gave him tickets, Budweiser got involved, and StubHub experienced (as far as I know) the biggest PR nightmare in the company’s history.
And let’s be clear about what happened — Reddit fucking happened.
I’m not a big Reddit guy – I have an account, I go on occasionally, but I’m not a frequenter of the site. It’s a Hansel/Sting thing: “The music he’s created over the years… I don’t really listen to it, but the fact he’s making it?… I respect that…”
I know Reddit’s raised a ton of money for a variety of different charities over the years, which is awesome. You guys make things — both important and irreverent — go viral on a daily basis. But I think your community is underestimating and under-utilizing its power.
u/panopticism reached out last night about his ordeal, and I just saw on Reddit that StubHub called him and swept it under the rug (hope he at least milked it for some better seats). But the problem runs much deeper than terrible customer service. Online ticketing is a totally backward, corrupt, unregulated industry.
Redditor u/js155306 probably said it best in the comments section of Mark’s post:
Like, what fucking good is StubHub to me as a consumer if I’m paying as much or more than I would pay to a random scalper if they’re not going to guarantee my entry into the event? That peace of mind is the entire point of buying from StubHub. If I’m gonna get dicked out of attending a game, I think I’d rather the local parking lot guy benefit from my naivete than a multi-million dollar company that can’t be bothered to do the one fucking job they’ve promised to do for their customers.
I hope social media fucking explodes on StubHub for this. I hope they get dragged far enough through the mud that it costs them business for years to come. The fact that they’ve already been called out for this exact behavior before, publicly apologized, and then proceeded to do the same fucking thing to another customer is a testament to the fact that they don’t give a single fuck about delivering a quality product.
Fucking. Nailed it.
Everyone reading this buys tickets online. We all know we’re getting screwed, but nobody ever does anything about it.
The most depressing thing about Jesse’s story is that StubHub got away with never issuing an apology. I remember daydreaming about the scene in StubHub’s corporate office. Fists pounding on decks, tipped over water coolers, a bunch of d-bags snorting Adderall into the wee hours of the night trying to figure out a solution to Jesse Sandler.
But a week went by and…nothing. The internet moved on, and FlubHub quietly returned to screwing over consumers.
Jesse spoke briefly with one lawmaker in California who was trying to push legislation to regulate the rigged ticketing industry, but not surprisingly, nothing came of it.
So here’s a thought from an outsider to Redditors all over the world: boycott StubHub until they agree to stop using bots. There’s a lot more to cleaning up this industry, but the robots buying up all the tickets before consumers get a fair chance is what really fucks things up.
And yes, all online ticketing platforms use bots, it’s not just StubHub, but StubHub’s the worst, and fuck StubHub.
If you listened to any of Jesse’s interviews after the resolution of his debacle, he hoped that his ordeal would be a catalyst for regulation. In the moment, he felt optimistic that his ticketing turmoil might spur everlasting change, and that the bullshit u/panopticism just dealt wouldn’t happen to anyone else, ever.
So I’m genuinely curious: why doesn’t Reddit get behind a cause like online ticketing and try to promote actual, real-life, legislative change?
If Reddit staged a boycott, StubHub (and the industry as a whole) would find themselves in a deep quagmire of public relations feces. The country as a whole would open their eyes to how shady ticketing is, realize they’re paying 30-500% more than they should be for every concert or sporting event, and things would…well, they’d get interesting.
I don’t expect y’all to do anything — it’s Friday, you’re checked out, probably don’t give a shit — but I’m gonna throw it out there to Redditors anyway: boycott StubHub, and make the world a better place…