The Olympics Tickets Balls-Up
Still the whining goes on about Olympics tickets, and still no-one seems to have identified the problem.
Look. I was given a ticket for an event which I won't be attending as it has no value to me. Ain't I the hideous one, eh?
Its original price, according to what I can find out, was £87 if you were to buy it from the official site. I'd have sold it for a fiver and been ecstatic about it, except that I'm not allowed to by law.
The unauthorised selling of Olympic tickets is a crime under the Olympic Act punishable by a £20,000 fine, and police have warned they will take tough action against touts.
It therefore resided, until recently when the council picked it up, in my recycling bin.
We know very well why this approach was taken. It's because there is an attitude in our country which is so fearful of "the privileged" sucking up tickets by virtue of being rich, that every effort has been taken to stop them doing so. It's easy to concede that there is some merit in that, even if it can arguably be seen to be driven by ugly envy.
However, it's been done in such a cack-handed way that they have forgotten how good humans are at sorting themselves out and ending up with a mostly decent result.
The London 2012 organisers had already priced anyone without a massive deposit account from buying the vast majority of the popular tickets anyway, quite rightly too as they are obliged to get return for the tax cash they have spent.
But while those who seem committed to egalitarianism and (presumably) re-distribution of wealth, are happy to see the rich restricted from buying seats at the expense of the less well off, they have woefully overlooked the more important aspect of re-distribution of value.
The value I placed on that ticket was quite literally zero. I would have happily given it away but for the fact that I had no-one to give it away to as no-one in my social circle was interested in one adult ticket (the spectre of over-bearing security and oppressive restrictions on what is allowed on the day of 'celebration' may have contributed to the disinterest, I reckon).
Someone, somewhere, would place a different value on it, though. If I was able to offer it for sale - in a free market - the person who valued it most highly would be able to see the event and be just as ecstatic as I would be for receiving, say, a fiver for something I personally thought was worth nothing.
They might believe it's a steal as they were prepared to pay only half of the £87 asking price, but got it for a fiver. I'd be dead happy that I got £5 for something which wasn't absorbent enough for me to even find value by wiping my bum with.
If the organisers are so dead set against re-distributing the natural value of Olympics tickets - by way of brutal laws involving £20k fines, no less - how on Earth can they be surprised that they are left with empty seats all over the place?
The only possible result is that just about everyone is left unsatisfied. Except, oddly enough, the privileged and the rich who the rules were meant to frustrate in the first place.
Meanwhile, Mrs and Mr SportsFan are allowed to believe that it's a corporate failure, instead of a massive mistake by those who swallow our taxes and refuse to recognise that a free swapping of value could have put bums on many of those empty seats the BBC, and others, are scratching their muddled heads about.