Buying from a Scalper? Five Do’s and Don’ts

Buying from a Scalper? Five Do’s and Don’ts

Who likes ticket scalpers? Pose that question to a room full of average Joe’s and the showing of hands will be few. Call them mean, sharks, cheaters, or the lowest of the low, the reality is, they have little issue with their reputation. And name calling will not get you the tickets they have for the event you want to see. The fact is, most scalpers are very shrewd business people with excellent negotiating skills. Like a stock broker they buy low and sell high. So here is a quick list of five do’s and don’ts when seeking to buy tickets from a street scalper (in places where such activity is legal, of course!).

1. Do have a seat map for the event you want to attend and know what general area’s you want to sit. If you appear unsure or don’t know what you want, they may walk off.
2. Do approach them with confidence, in a friendly manner, and ask what kind of tickets they have and at what price. I usually say, “hi, what do you have?”
3. If they do not have the tickets you want OR you don’t feel comfortable buying from the person, say “no thanks” and walk away promptly
4. Only deal with scalpers who are in public, open area’s. Police often herd scalpers around events for various reasons, but it is highly unusual for a buyer to get in trouble for buying a scalped ticket. Be discreet, but do business where it is safe.
5. Let scalpers help you. Often times, they will not have what you want, but one of their buddies will. They usually are very well connected.

1. Don’t pick an argument.┬áNo matter how rude a scalper is to you, always be kind to them. They may come off rude, but that is part of their selling tactic. Ignore it.
2. Don’t buy internet tickets unless you know what you are doing. Always inspect the tickets carefully, front and back. If anything looks odd, just say thanks and walk away.
3. Don’t be hasty to buy the first thing you see unless the price is right. Tickets are usually plentiful for even the most sought after events. Start looking no more than 30 minutes before and buy when you are ready.
4. Don’t keep a big wad of cash in one pocket. I usually keep $100 in one pocket and $100 in another pocket as back up. This is also a negotiating tactic for you, “hey, I only have $100, lets make a deal.”
5. Don’t work alone. Always buy in groups of two or more. One person negotiates and the other should stand back and observe. The reality is, buying from a scalper can include an element of risk, depending on the event location and amount of police presence.

Finally, in many cities, legit ticket resellers have store fronts close to the venue. They are always a worth a visit before you turn to a scalper as they often have deals on last minute tickets. The rule with them is never take the price they first offer unless it is within $10-15 of face value. If it is more, being willing to walk away never hurt anyone and usually net’s a price cut.

Other suggestions welcome, of course.

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