Rewind back to April 26th. I tried to get tickets for the London 2012 Olympics. I didn't enjoy the experience so I wrote this open letter to Seb Coe.
By the end of the day the blog had received over 25,000 hits.
Dear Seb Coe,
I have just applied for London 2012 tickets. It was one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life, and this is coming from a man who has had a colonoscopy.
Allow me to elaborate.
Tickets, as you know, will be allocated by a sort of ballot or lottery system. This, at initial glance, seems fair. Rather than first-come-first-served, everyone has an equal chance of getting a ticket. In reality this means I have no idea whether I will actually get the tickets I have applied for.
This leaves me with a dilemma. Do I just apply for one lot of tickets, for an event I really want to see? Or do I hedge my bets and apply for a number of tickets across a range of events and dates in the hope of at least getting one batch?
I have opted for the latter. It would be hugely disappointing to apply for one event and fail, thereby ending my participation in the Olympics a year before they actually start. I am hoping my strategy pays off and that I am able to take my family to at least one event.
Ahh yes, my family. They are a lovely bunch but they are proving to be bloody expensive to bring along with me. I have a wife (at the time of writing that is, she may leave me when she finds out how much I have potentially pissed away on your tickets) and two children - Ethan (12) and Martha (9). None of us are particular sporty - Ethan plays tennis once a week and Martha has a regular gymnastics class - but we are all quite excited about the Olympics and recognise that this is the only chance we will have to see them in our own country.
I have applied for 4 tickets to 5 separate events - two different days of athletics, a day of tennis, one of gymnastics and one of rowing. The rowing is of particular interest as we live in Windsor and it is taking place within walking distance of our house.
The cost for these tickets - and in nearly every case we have gone for the cheapest available option - comes to £723 pounds. That's SEVEN HUNDRED AND TWENTY THREE POUNDS. I cannot actually afford this - and I am not what anyone would describe as badly off - so I bloody well hope we aren't successful in all of our applications but your allocation system means that loads of people are taking a similar approach - apply for loads and pray that you don't actually get them. A bit of a daft situation Seb, old bean, don't you think?
Now, before you start spouting off about all the splendid special offers that are available - kids only pay their age and all that bollocks - such deals were only available for one of the events we have applied for, and our applications are not all for big finals days. I have had to pay full whack for nearly every ticket. One of my group is 9 years old. She doesn't even have to pay full fare on the train and train companies are the biggest lot of thieving toerags out there. Bad show, sir, bad show.
But, you know, an opportunity such as this really does only come round once in a lifetime so perhaps I shouldn't moan so much. I am, after all, quite fortunate. For one thing, I happen to have a Visa card. If I didn't then you wouldn't have let me apply for any tickets at all.
And I am sure I can make a few savings here and there between now and the big event to make sure that we can afford the high cost of actually attending these games that are supposedly going to inspire and delight us. For example, I could take a packed lunch to the events themselves, that will save a few bob. What's that? Sorry? Oh, I see, I am not allowed to take any food or drink into the venues? I have to purchase these items from approved vendors inside? And what will the prices be like? No, no, let me guess, how does FUCKING EXPENSIVE sound to you? I hope I am wrong but if I have to pay £5 for a hot dog I am going to hunt you down and shove it up your failed Tory arsehole. With mustard.
A stupid allocation system which means I have over-applied purely to stand a chance of seeing something, anything. Credit card restrictions that must surely fall foul of EU competition laws. A ban on cheese sandwiches and Kia-Ora. This is supposed to be fun, Lord Coe, fun and exciting, instead it is deflating, demotivating and depressing.
But at least you are aren't charging me £6 to send me my tickets, that would be taking the piss.
What's that? Oh, you complete cunt.
I received no tickets. This blog post may have had something to do with that.