Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Ticket Scalper

The best they could do for me was a 2:00 pm - 10:00 pm shift. I'm not on the default schedule anymore, so I should be grateful for getting anything for a home night game. It was a 7:00 pm kickoff at Camp Randall, so I knew I'd get the business before the game, but it could easily die by 7:30, and stay dead until after 10:00. Somebody asked me how my day was going, on the way to the stadium, and I told them it was great so far, but in order for it to stay great, Penn State would have to blow out the Badgers. If the away team blows out the Badgers, the home fans will start leaving the stadium in disgust around half time, so it wouldn't stay dead until 10:00. My passenger wished me well, and noted that she wanted the Badgers to win.

The last stragglers went to the stadium during the first quarter. Those are all short rides, I ran a few. The dispatcher gave the score a few minutes into the game. Penn State 3 - Wisconsin 0, the Badgers would never catch Penn State, and it was indeed a blow out. Something like 41 - 7 during the beginning of the 3rd quarter. It got really busy, really quick. It was fat, as we say.

I came down Monroe and picked up a lady in front of The Grid, "Travis Terrace", she said.

I would turn left on Regent. I would take it slow until we got past the crowd, looking for another fare going short west. Yes, I split load flags with passengers already in. On a football Saturday, I do it frequently. I rolled up to the light at Monroe and Regent, and a couple of guys walked up to the cab, they wanted to go east, nope, can't help you, this lady is going west. Then we rolled past a couple who were waving, through the open window, they said State st., again, no help. Now it was a guy and girl sitting on the curb at the corner of Breeze and Regent, he tried to help her to her feet, she needed to go to detox, no thanks I don't need vomit in my cab right now, and past them we went. Then there was this older guy, waving in the dark, just past Lathrop. He was the last chance to get a second fare in, so I pulled over, and BINGO, he wanted to go to Hilldale. Get in sir.

Neither of these 2 folks were football fans, and they were both stone cold sober. Refreshing! The guy was 40 something, he said his bike had been stolen. He hadn't locked it, so it didn't surprise him, it was only a 20 dollar bike from St. Vinnies, anyway. I told him about my Raleigh that I got for a $3.00 fare from Busk, I ought to include that story some time.... I noted that they were both sober, and asked them if they were working the game. I figured concessions, selling bratwursts and hot dogs.

As we rode, they talked about living in Europe, he'd lived there for many years, she'd lived there for only a couple, but he knew the city she'd lived in. Lately he'd lived in Mexico. We dropped the lady off, and headed down Midvale, I said, "You must be independently wealthy."

No, he said, he was broke. He said he'd gambled all his money away. He said he had indeed been working the game, he was a ticket scalper.

"Wow, tell me about ticket scalping, if you're willing", I said. I'd always wanted to find out about it, they don't do too many Discovery Channel specials on ticket scalping. So, he told me about his trade. He travels all over the world scalping tickets. He gave me a brief tutorial on how to do it, and made a big point of noting the potential pit falls. 1) You can lose money! 2) Beware of counterfeit tickets! Hilldale was pretty close, so I pulled into the parking lot, and dropped him at his saloon of choice. He pulled out a big wad of twenties, $1,500.00 minimum, and paid me for the ride. I guess he had a passable day at work.

A few fares later, I was telling a lady in the cab about the scalper, and she said she'd had one arrested in Las Vegas when she was out there for a bowl game the Badgers had played in a few years ago. She said she was pretty amazed when she brought the cops back to where she'd bought the tickets, to arrest the scalper who'd sold them to her. He was still standing in the same place selling tickets. Why did she have the guy arrested? She'd been sold counterfeit tickets. The must have been pretty good fakes, the scalper certainly didn't know he'd sold her bad tickets. If he had, he would not have hung around. Kind of makes me wonder, how many people that counterfeiter ripped at that bowl game.

It was a great shift, even if it was only a 2 to 10!

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