House of Blows
Tuesday night, we strolled into House of Blues–one of my favorite music venues in Chicago. The incense-laden air. The crazy shit on the walls. The soaring balconies. The intimate space. And, of course, the acoustics. We got there a little early to enjoy it all, and to get a good spot.
As I handed over my ticket, I grumbled about the “convenience” charge. Nine dollars–50 cents under half of the cost of the ticket itself. Not really “convenient” for me. We walked in and the crowd was sparse, and there was plenty of seating around the main floor. That’s convenient. We ordered $7 beers. Not so convenient. We picked a good spot, stage right, and found a couple of stools where we could perch for the evening. But there’s a sign taped to these stools. “See Security.”
“Hi. So what’s the story with these stools?”
“Oh hello. Tonight, we’re offering these seats for $20. Or, $30 for two seats.”
“That’s for every seat in the building?”
What the fuck?
To recap: I paid $18.50 per ticket. Plus, a $9 “convenience” charge for each ticket. For two tickets, that’s $55–$18 of which goes toward my convenience. But you know what’s not convenient? Paying more than the cost of the ticket… to sit down. In the venue you just paid to enter. Where, I’m buying one beer for the cost of a six-pack at the store. Now really, whose convenience am I paying for, exactly?
This is like paying to enter Wrigley field, only to discover that if you want to sit in your seat–the seat you just paid for–it’s going to cost you about the same amount as what’s printed on the ticket. Otherwise, you’re required to stand next to your seat for the next three hours.
I’ve always enjoyed you, House of Blues. I’ve always respected you, and I’ve never much minded your high-priced tickets and libations because you’ve always taken care of me. You’ve always made me feel welcome, and I’ve always left satisfied, sometimes even elated. I’ve always looked forward to coming to visit.
I feel nickel-and-dimed. I feel duped. You feel cheap. And you’ve cast a toxic black cloud that stinks up the place. Once, you were special. Now, you’re conniving. Greedy. And an all-around asshole.
You blew it.