What's fair??? Hamilton Tickets edition
May 3, 2018 5:59 AM   Subscribe

My friend wants me to pay 4X her cost for a ticket to Hamilton. Her reasoning is that it worth at least that on the open market.

Last summer a good friend of mine called me up and mentioned she was going to purchasing a pair of Broadway show season tickets. I think it's like 6 or 7 shows, one of which is Hamilton. She asked if I wanted to go see Hamilton and I enthusiastically said yes. I live in a different city so the thought was to make a little trip out of the affair. Fast forward several months and my friend and I are talking about the cost of the ticket so I can pay her for it. So, let's say she paid $1000 for the pair of season tickets and there are 6 shows. She says that tickets in the same area of the theatre for the Hamilton show are going for $700 each and asks is $350 okay. This strikes me as off, because I'm thinking "what does that have to do with anything?" but I say, "that'll work" and we make arrangements. My question, though, is what is fair in this situation?

I don't want to get into it with her because I value the friendship more than arguing over a couple hundred bucks, but am curious as to what people think is fair. On one hand, yes, Hamilton tickets are much more valuable than for other shows and if she chose to sell that ticket she could make some decent money, I get that completely. On the other hand though, she invited me to go to this show at the time she was making the season ticket purchase, it's not like she picked up the tickets on StubHub. She bought as part of a value package so I thought I'd be paying cost which would be roughly $83 or so.

I don't at all think she's trying to be sneaky or try to cheat me or anything, I just think she just has a different perspective on it and that's fine, I guess I'm trying to figure out and better understand what's fair for both sides and how have others handled similar situations.

Thanks!
posted by SoulOnIce to Human Relations (89 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I can't imagine inviting a friend to a show and wanting reimbursement for anything over what the ticket actually cost me.
posted by The Deej at 6:03 AM on May 3, 2018 [216 favorites]


I have never asked a friend to pay more than I have for a ticket regardless of what the secondary market is like.
posted by Diskeater at 6:05 AM on May 3, 2018 [57 favorites]


Did she buy the season tickets just to get into Hamilton? I mean, if she's throwing away everything else, then your one ticket cost about $500, and so $350 is a deal.

But if she's going to sell off the remaining tickets or use them herself, though....then the price of your one ticket out of the six should be adjusted downward, as you note.

(I am totally sympathetic to your not wanting to make a fuss over this. Money stuff sucks if people are not 100% objective.)
posted by wenestvedt at 6:07 AM on May 3, 2018 [12 favorites]


It's definitely veering into jerkiness. Since she's a good friend why not ask her what's the deal? Something like, "When you first asked me about the ticket, you didn't mention you wanted to sell them at anything more than what you paid. It seems like you want to make a profit on these, and that's fine, so you should sell them. But I'm a bit disappointed you didn't mention up front you'd be charging me so much."

If you want to preserve the friendship, say something. Most people don't intentionally do jerky things. Keep the emphasis that you saved for the actual ticket price, not whatever a scalper can get, and you aren't financially prepared.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 6:07 AM on May 3, 2018 [9 favorites]


The "face value" is about $160, right? Even so - no, not a dollar more than I paid would I ask a friend for. She's asking you to reimburse her for "potential" profit she thinks she can make....? Nope.
posted by clseace at 6:08 AM on May 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


Asking a friend for more than face is bullshit.
posted by stinkfoot at 6:09 AM on May 3, 2018 [66 favorites]


I thought she might be doing what wenestvedt says as well – getting a pair of tickets to Hamilton for $1000 and throwing the rest away. If so, she's doing you a favor in a way, though she should have made that clearer.

But if she's simply looking to profit from the deal, then that's outrageous.
posted by cincinnatus c at 6:12 AM on May 3, 2018 [20 favorites]


Yeah, wow. My thought is if she wants to make money she should sell the spare ticket, if what she wants to have is to have a friend accompany her to a show than I think the most it's appropriate to expect reimbursement for is her actual cost for the ticket. Especially considering you'll be presumably incurring travel costs etc for this outing. So yeah, your expectation is a lot more in line with how these things usually go in my experience.

(That assumes she was already planning to buy these tickets and will make use of the other tickets herself. If she bought them solely so you guys could go see Hamilton together then she's not out of line but that should have been made clear to you at the outset)
posted by lwb at 6:13 AM on May 3, 2018 [8 favorites]


I agree she shouldn't be charging you based on what she could get on the open market, that's making a profit off you. However I think the assumption that the ticket price breaks down equally over all 6 shows is flawed, as you note yourself buying tickets for Hamilton alone (without accounting for the secondary market) would have been more expensive than the other shows.

I think it would not be unfair for her to charge you what the face value of a Hamilton ticket would have been if bought last summer. If she planned at the time to charge more she absolutely should have told you so you had the choice to buy your own single ticket to Hamilton.

(I agree with wenestvedt that what she's done with the other tickets has some bearing on the calculation although it was her choice to get the extra season ticket - if expected to sell on all the other shows and has found she can't sell she shouldn't expect you to compensate for that.)
posted by *becca* at 6:15 AM on May 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


"Good friend" + "making a $267 profit from you" = oxymoronic. I'd be embarrassed for myself if I thought like this. I hope they're good seats (and it's a good show)! Although if I was in receipt of a highly coveted ticket at cost value, I'd probably take the other person out for a meal beforehand as a thank you. Given you've agreed to the cost now, I'd not bother saying anything further. I'd just resolve to know better in future.
posted by Lilypod at 6:17 AM on May 3, 2018 [10 favorites]


I value the friendship more than arguing over a couple hundred bucks.

She doesn't.
posted by googly at 6:18 AM on May 3, 2018 [124 favorites]


I would tell your friend that work/family obligations prevent you from attending. Now you're not going so you don't own her a cent.

This really PMO. I had a "friend" once who always tried to get money out of everything and anything. Going to a movie or show with him required two weeks of negotiations. eg: if he ordered the tix on his account, ergo, I was supposed to pay him 50% above the price of the tix for his trouble. I won't go into his restaurant shenanigans as they would drive a saint to murder.
posted by james33 at 6:19 AM on May 3, 2018 [8 favorites]


Unless she bought the season tickets just to get the Hamilton ticket, which you probably would have mentioned, this is shocking to me. I hope she has some really sterling qualities to make up for this jerkiness. I would tell her she can sell the ticket because I don’t think I could enjoy going with her.
posted by FencingGal at 6:23 AM on May 3, 2018 [6 favorites]


To answer a couple of questions about the other shows in the package -- she has attended the other shows with other friends or her significant other so the initial purchase wasn't just for Hamilton tickets, there was at least 1 or 2 other shows she was super excited about. To my knowledge, she hasn't outright sold any tickets.
posted by SoulOnIce at 6:26 AM on May 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


If I contort a little, I could imagine a scenario where I payed a flat fee for a bunch of different shows, and asking my Hamilton date to pay more for their ticket than my Escape from Margaritaville date...but it definitely wouldn't be my first instinct and if that is her strategy then she should be upfront about it and not make it about market value.

In your shoes I'd do what you did, though, and just go with it, especially if I hadn't seen it yet. That's still a good price for a Hamilton ticket, and depending on your relationship you could bust her balls by implying she should pay for drinks after since she made money on the deal

Or you could always scalp the ticket and turn a profit yourself
posted by lampoil at 6:28 AM on May 3, 2018 [5 favorites]


I bought season tickets just to get the Hamilton tickets (apparently I’m insane) and I can imagine saying “I’m putting these up for $350, let me know if you want first dibs.” However, in your case I think I’d just say that wasn’t what you budgeted for, and if she wants more than face value, she should put them on StubHub.

I wouldn’t say “hope you enjoy sitting with some rando” but I’d think it!
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:29 AM on May 3, 2018 [13 favorites]


As the saying goes, it's better to be nice than right. She's right, but she could be nicer, and she absolutely should have been clearer up front. You are being nice; congratulations. If you otherwise get along with her, I'd go, enjoy the show, and ask a few more questions if this kind of offer ever comes up again.

The face value isn't meaningful, because I assume you couldn't have bought a single Hamilton ticket at face value. And her "true" cost can't be determined: It's really $1000 less how much she values all the other tickets together, which you can't know and she probably hasn't thought about.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:29 AM on May 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


If this is in some of the secondary locations, some places buying a season ticket is basically the only way to get a non-resale ticket to Hamilton - struggling theaters are doing this to pump their season tickets. So if this is the case, it’s less about “did she enjoy/was she excited about other shows” and more “was this the only way to get Hamilton non-resale tickets”. Presumably she could have bought individual tickets to other shows for cheaper than the season. 1000 by 2 is 500, she feels awkward charging you that but also non-season tickets to Hamilton are going for 750 so it’s still a good price comparatively, thus 350 feels like a good compromise, especially since there are presumably shows she isn’t as interested in in the season.

Assuming good faith, she may have assumed you knew she was buying the season tickets so she could see Hamilton.
posted by corb at 6:30 AM on May 3, 2018 [12 favorites]


Some people have issues around money. Money dysmorphia, if you will. This friend of yours has a bent frame through which she views financial matters. I'd roll with it, and make a note to myself to never enter any kind of cost sharing arrangement with this person ever again.
posted by everythings_interrelated at 6:32 AM on May 3, 2018 [16 favorites]


I think your way of calculating it is the way I would do it too.

But just to play the devil's advocate: If the ticket would go for $700, that means she is giving you a present of $600+ in value. Do you feel comfortable getting a present from her of that value? Because that's probably what she feels like she's doing in your scenario. And it's fair of her to feel that way.

I think the $350 is fair in this sense- a split down the middle. You could simply say to her that she originally calculated its value at face- and that it's worth that much to you to see the show, but not more. So you suggest that she sell it. She may say ok, or she may offer to sell it to you at face.

Good luck!
posted by cacao at 6:34 AM on May 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


I don't know if "What's fair?" comes into this equation. I would be really take aback and likely offended if a "friend" of mine tried to profit off of our friendship, which is what this sounds like. You were identified as a guaranteed buyer by virtue of being their friend. Sure she could argue they are worth 4x on the open market, but you're literally not the open market. You're their friend, which is like, the complete opposite?

I can't really tell how you feel or what you want to do about it. If you can swallow the way they are treating you and can afford the price, then go for it, I heard it's a great show. For me personally, I agree with other sentiments that my experience of this show would be badly tainted by this and I would turn them down with an honest "I didn't realise you would be charging me the open market rate, no thanks."

(My household regularly buys entertainment tickets in multiples and we never ever charge our friends more than face value. If we have spares we still try to sell them at face value even to strangers, but that's because we have a very negative view of ticket touts in general and fuck them.)
posted by like_neon at 6:34 AM on May 3, 2018 [10 favorites]


As someone who just saw Hamilton on Bway after getting tickets on the secondary market: I’d jump at it.

BUT I get your hesitation. If I were her I’d do the following accounting: I’d see what all the shows’ tickets were worth on the secondary market, then compare that to the $1k I paid for the season tickets to find what % discount I got. Then I’d offer the same discount to you on the secondary market price for Hamilton tickets. Basically, splitting the $500 season tickets cost weighting by resale value instead of face value.
posted by supercres at 6:36 AM on May 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


And just to put a slightly different take on it, I feel like they're putting a price on sharing your company. This is why I only charge face value to friends. Yes, a ticket may be worth more selling to a stranger, but sharing the experience with a friend? Priceless.
posted by like_neon at 6:37 AM on May 3, 2018 [14 favorites]


It sounds to me like she got the season tickets in order to get the Hamilton tickets. She should have been a whole lot clearer, but I think - according to this logic - that it makes sense. She has to assign the Hamilton tickets a value; it's not 1/6 of the value of the whole package, you both know that. It's somewhere closer to 100%, assuming she wouldn't have gotten the package but for the Hamilton tickets. I don't think this about her profiting.

If it IS, that's gross. But that's not what it sounds like to me.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:44 AM on May 3, 2018 [7 favorites]


I've gone to probably 1,000 shows of varying degrees with friends and have never once considered the secondary, profit-driven market, for what reimbursement on costs looks like.

I mean, what this basically means is whoever attends the other 5 shows with her gets to pay an average of $30 to go , aka well below face value, because you paid this much. I would be curious to know if she did this with the other friends that went with her - because either you've been given a worse deal than them or you've got the same deal as them and she's possibly profiting off that second ticket.

I would seriously consider saying something before you go about how your expectations when you knew the cost of the package was did not line up with hers and that, going forward, you two should be clear at the outset what the costs are going to be.
posted by notorious medium at 6:48 AM on May 3, 2018 [10 favorites]


If she's making calculations about market value then she should just sell the ticket for maximum gain and skip the show or see it with the stranger who bought it without any pretense. If she's seeing the show with you as a friend then face value is the only thing she should dream of asking. I don't really see much room for ambiguity there.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:53 AM on May 3, 2018 [15 favorites]


People are bringing up the point that there is a mitigating factor if she bought the season tickets just for the Hamilton show. But per OP's update:

"the initial purchase wasn't just for Hamilton tickets, there was at least 1 or 2 other shows she was super excited about." and she has already gone to some shows although it's not clear if or what she has charged her companions for them.
posted by like_neon at 6:55 AM on May 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


I've got to admit, I can see a few ways that your friend's actions could be completely fair here, from her perspective.

First, if the other shows are considerably less popular than Hamilton, then it doesn't make sense to calculate the Hamilton ticket's value by flatly dividing the $500 / 6. Depending on what's on offer, the internal breakdown by value could well have been something like $300 Hamilton / $80 next-most-popular show / $30 each of the four remaining shows.

Second, if she called you about Hamilton at the time of purchasing the tickets, that says to me that the second $500 package was a decision largely made with you in mind. Friend may have been efficient about "using up" the remaining shows' tix by diligently attending even the less-interesting shows and recruiting her fiance, etc., to go along. But if she wouldn't otherwise have purchased $400 worth of tickets in order for them to accompany her to the other five shows, then it's not fair to mentally charge her the price of their attending on the season ticket. That's value she didn't actually get, and wouldn't have chosen to pay for if she weren't also trying to hook you up with the Hamilton spot.

It does sound like her up-front communication could have been better-- but if, in her mind, your wishes were 70% of the reason she purchased that second $500 ticket, then the $350 is just what makes her whole, not some sort of extortionate attempt to shake you down for extra cash.
posted by Bardolph at 6:59 AM on May 3, 2018 [12 favorites]


Okay, this is a 'friend' who has certain utility to you. Not everybody wants to or can afford to go to the theater. I would think of her as a person who doesn't understand friendship, wouldn't trust her or think of her as a real friend, but if it's convenient to have someone to see Hamilton with, to have a couple days in New York, I might go.
posted by theora55 at 6:59 AM on May 3, 2018 [6 favorites]


Reasonable or not, any reimbursement above the face value of the ticket really should have been mentioned before purchase. Especially if it was her suggestion to pick up tickets for you, and it sounds like that was the case.

It sounds like she's generally a friend though and this is unexpected behavior from her or why else would this be question-worthy? That probably means that this is some kind of honest miscommunication. Assuming you can afford it, I would just roll with it and make a note to be clearer about money with her in future.
posted by Garm at 7:00 AM on May 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


How much resell tickets are selling for has absolutely nothing to do with this. She asked you to go with her, not if you wanted first dibs on purchasing a ticket she was reselling for profit. I think it's a jerk move and what is fair is for her to ask you for the same amount she paid for them.
posted by Polychrome at 7:07 AM on May 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


Yes, people are selling tickets at way over face value to strangers. Because the sole purpose of that transaction is to turn a profit.

That is not this. (Or shouldn’t be.)

In summary: not how I do friendship. Would not be happy.
posted by Salamander at 7:08 AM on May 3, 2018 [15 favorites]


I can see why this isn't a typical face value situation. But it's not a secondary market price situation. That's for transactions with no relationship skin in the game.

If you've committed yourself to pay $350, at least get tickets to the other shows. But even then, all of this chafes. I'd come up with an excuse not to go, and let her take the reimbursement she's been expecting from a stranger. Maybe the stranger won't fart throughout the performance while sitting next to her.
posted by holgate at 7:30 AM on May 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


Some people have issues around money. Money dysmorphia, if you will.

I am one of these people. It's basically my issue and not others' though. And one of the ways I deal with this is never to make assumptions about money in anything that might be more expensive than, say, a dinner out. This gets me into trouble sometimes because I'm that person who talks about money all the time, but I'm more comfortable that way than having surprises that I feel weird about. In this case I don't think I would have agreed to go unless I knew ballpark-ish what sort of money we were looking at (because it's SO variable)

As you said here, you are okay paying this extra money because friendship and etc. So I think that makes it clear/OK for you. I feel like that price is not crazy presuming a few things

- that you have the money and this is an ok expense for you and your friend knows that
- that you don't think your friend is trying to make money off of you and.or rip you off but genuinely, for whatever reason, feels this is fair
- that there wouldn't really be any other way for you to go to this for $83, realistically (and I have no idea how theater works but that is my assumption)

And it's also assuming your friend didn't do anythign bnutty like wait on line for tickets in a snowstorm or have to call in some special favor or something.

Your friend may also not care and is just trying to act like a businessperson (we all know people like this, who think "What is the market rate of this, I will charge a little less that" and think they are offering a deal), your friend may also be broke and needs to make rent, your friend may have a number of different issues up to and including money dismorphia type issues. I have one friend like this who is often skimpy with tips and/or "forgets" her wallet and offers to get us some next time that never comes and she is a grown ass lady with a job who nonetheless views money as some sort of anxiety/control issue. It's a tough place to be.

So I don't necessarily think your friend is a jerk, but I do think that this is a higher price to pay than I would expect from a friend who did NOT have some sort of external issue going on.
posted by jessamyn at 7:34 AM on May 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


I also signed up for Season Tickets in order to get access to Hamilton, and if I were selling my ticket to a friend I would do it for cost. I think upcharging a friend for this kind of thing is gauche, and I would not do it, nor do I think it's okay under any circumstances. If I wanted to sell my tickets on the open market for $MONEY then I would do that.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:36 AM on May 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


Turning an outing with a friend into a profit-making endeavor is a dick move.
posted by enn at 7:38 AM on May 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


I've made this point before, but there are two kinds of people when it comes to money and friends, and they work a bit like Ask/Guess. There are people who want everything to be scrupulously fair, and people who think that they need to always be looking out for their own interests.

When people deal with people from their own group, this all works out okay. The scrupulous people might disagree a bit about what constitutes fair but they'll usually work it out okay. The self-interested group will keep negotiating until they find a deal they can both live with. But when people from different groups try to deal with this stuff, it can end up with the self-interested person walking all over the fair-minded person, under the assumption that if they really minded, they'd fight back.

It doesn't always work out as well as you'd hope -- some self-interested people think they *are* scrupulously fair people and those people will both want everything their way and get offended if you fight back, unfortunately. But you shouldn't be friends with those people anyway.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:40 AM on May 3, 2018 [8 favorites]


this is, imo, weird and off-putting, and i would be tempted to bill them an hourly fee to spend time with me, going by the top salary in nyc for your profession.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:41 AM on May 3, 2018 [12 favorites]


to be clearer, i am coming at this from the position of someone who thinks it is painfully gauche to discuss anything money-related ever for any reason. i would never ask a friend to pay me for something to which i invited them in the first place, much less (dear god) charge them retail.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:47 AM on May 3, 2018 [12 favorites]


I still don't see how this has anything to do with profit.

It sounds like she got the season tickets in large part because they included Hamilton. Hamilton is objectively worth more (to you, to her, to the open resale market) than the others. $83, or the average cost per seat in her season ticket package, is not reasonable, and it's not what that ticket is worth to anyone (and it's a lot less than "face value" from what I can tell). If you're talking about what she paid, that can't be disentangled from the other shows she paid for and how much she wanted to see them.

If the ticket isn't worth $350 to you, don't go. But it seems like it is, because you're going.
posted by supercres at 7:48 AM on May 3, 2018 [6 favorites]


Another thing is that I never would’ve assumed as the friend who is trying to pay the split, that I would be paying approximately $83, or that the Hamilton tickets would be the same rough price as the other tickets. Like, if I were your friend in this scenario, I would actually have a genuinely hard time figuring out what was appropriate. It would be this really complicated mix of how much I actually wanted to see the other shows, minus the shows I wasn’t that interested in but would be seeing only so as not to waste the tickets, minus my friends financial circumstances, plus how much it put me out to buy the season tickets upfront and not be repaid for months.

And so if someone came along with an easy way of sorting out that situation – like, half their value on resale, which still seemed even within spitting distance of the crazy calculations I was going over in my head, I probably jumped at it, just to not have to do those calculations. The issue of how to split tickets on a season ticket cost is not actually easy.
posted by corb at 7:54 AM on May 3, 2018 [9 favorites]


Asking a friend to pay market value for a ticket purchased at a significant discount?? I have never heard of such a thing! IMO if she was excited about all 6 shows in the package, she should have contacted 5 friends (including you) and asked everyone interested to kick in even amounts ($90, say) towards the $1K season tickets. You get to see Hamilton, coz you are the special friend she asked to that particular show. Everyone gets to go to a show (and she gets to go to 6 shows!) for about $90 each, and have a good time. Done.
posted by RRgal at 7:56 AM on May 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


You're being taken advantage of. One can try to spin it in various ways, from "misunderstanding" and "she thinks differently about money" to "Hamilton is worth more" - but in the end, your friend is taking advantage of you - taking advantage of your friendship.
posted by gyusan at 8:02 AM on May 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


And to add to what I said above, but on point to the specifics of ticket buying:

In my experience, when you buy season ticket packages, each ticket still has a face value on it. That value varies from show to show, so higher value shows have higher values on them, rather than 1/x of the total package price. That value is less than it would cost to buy non-package tickets to the show.

As a person who thinks of herself as fair, I would ask for reimbursement only for the face value, but I would be reasonably happy to pay up to the non-package price for the ticket.

I would also have been happy to have been asked at the time if I wanted to split the whole package in order to get access to the Hamilton tickets and paid $500 but also got half the tickets to other shows.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:06 AM on May 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


You've already said yes, and if the friendship is that important to you I wouldn't want to renegotiate the price afterward, but there's still some missing information here. It's safe to assume that Hamilton tickets cost more than the average price for the season (so not just $80) but none of us knows what the face value is on the tickets she did buy.

I can only give concrete examples for the price of Hamilton tickets at the Kennedy Center, because that's where we bought ours. We did not do the season ticket deal, which meant waiting until the general sale. Our tickets are okay, and they were $149 each, ($170 each including fees). There were $600 tickets at orchestra level and in the premium boxes and $99 tickets in the rear of the mezzanine or in the balcony. If she bought $600 tickets and is only asking you for $350, she's a great friend indeed. If she bought $99 tickets and is asking you for $350 based on current resale, that's not so great.

In your position I'd probably have asked what the face value was before agreeing to pay $350, but I also had the learning experience of agreeing to pay face value for a concert ticket once without asking how much it was. When I got home my wife asked how much I'd paid, and then asked, "wait, do you even like Belle & Sebastian that much?" "No, but I didn't think to ask the price first and it would have been kind of shitty to back out after committing."
posted by fedward at 8:08 AM on May 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


I feel like the problem is that she didn't disclose the price at the time she asked you to go to the show.

Hamilton tickets are in high demand and worth a lot of money, this is true. $350.00 is not a bad price to pay for a ticket.

There's also nothing wrong with your friend wanting to make some money from a Hamilton ticket. Even selling it to a friend for $350.00 is fine. Had she said to you "Hey, I have a ticket to Hamilton for $350.00, do you want it?" then you could have made the decision to go or not.

However, the price for this ticket wasn't discussed at the time she asked you. She mentioned she was buying X theater tickets for $1000.00, you did the math of $1000 / x and figured the price for a ticket was $83.00. This may have been an incorrect assumption on your part, but it's an assumption a lot of people would have made.

So yeah, it's partially your fault for assuming the ticket was $83.00, but she should have been clear about the price at the time she asked you to go.

I feel this is kind of a dick move from your friend, but as others have said, different people have different ideas about money. If you can afford the $350.00 and it's not worth it to get into it with your friend, then just go ahead and do it. The show is certainly worth that much. I still think it's a dick move. I can't imagine charging a friend any more than what I paid for the ticket.
posted by bondcliff at 8:11 AM on May 3, 2018 [5 favorites]


Incidentally, do you know how much she charged the other friends she saw the other shows with?
posted by poffin boffin at 8:16 AM on May 3, 2018 [6 favorites]


Wow, yeah, this is really shocking to me. FWIW, I just went to Hamilton last week and *SPENT LESS THAN $350 PER TICKET*, likely because we bought them 4 months in advance, so I don't even thing it's fair to assume that much. To do some guestimation work based on *current* ticket value after she asked you A WHILE AGO if you wanted the ticket is extra bizarre.

Frankly, if you really want to see the show, if you can afford it, and if she's a medium-good friend, then just go and enjoy the show.

If she's a really good friend, straight up tell her that you were expecting to pay for the true cost that she paid for the ticket and that this is a blow to your wallet at the moment. Appeal to her senses, here. She shouldn't be charging you market rate, because you are not a random person. You are a good friend.
posted by ancient star at 8:19 AM on May 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


I won't get into whether a friend should ask for money. But I just sold some NYC Hamilton tickets I couldn't use and I got $350 each for them. So that's the going rate for the back of the mezz.
posted by interplanetjanet at 8:20 AM on May 3, 2018


The friend should have mentioned the scam before you agreed that you wanted to attend. I find it obnoxious and would question that friendship. A friend is upfront, not a "gotcha" person
posted by JayRwv at 8:21 AM on May 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


I think this is super weird and jerky, personally. She's used the other tickets (and I assume even if she was just buying the package for Hamilton, she wouldn't have just thrown them in the garbage -- likely would've given them as gifts/sold them/etc.) and the whole point of buying tickets in advance is so you don't have to pay after-market prices for shows that have sold out. I also would feel weird paying more than 1/3 of what she paid for the whole package, especially when she's used the other tickets. I'd feel like I'm subsidizing her expensive hobby.

Plus, while you don't say how far away she is from you, you do mention you're making a trip of going to see this show. Even at its least expensive, any kind of travel is still an expense.

If you're OK paying it and she's a good enough friend, then it may be worth just shrugging this off (but the fact that you're asking makes me think you're not OK with it). For me, this kind of thing would change my friendship pretty dramatically because it just feels disrespectful.

(I'd also wonder if she's having money issues currently, and that's why she wants $350 now, but maybe that's another matter. To me, if the money was important, I would've asked for it when I was initially buying the tickets.)
posted by darksong at 8:35 AM on May 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


Maybe try setting aside the idea of fairness, and ask yourself: is seeing Hamilton while sitting next to someone I'm disappointed in worth $350 to me? Because that's the value proposition. What this ticket is worth on the open market, or what a ticket elsewhere in the theater might be worth, is irrelevant. What is this particular ticket worth to you? If it's not what she's willing to accept, don't pay it.
posted by jon1270 at 8:50 AM on May 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


I would thank her for thinking of you but regrettably you’re not in the habit of spending that much on tickets so she can sell to the market, isn’t it wonderful that there is one and the ticket isn’t going to waste.
posted by koahiatamadl at 9:03 AM on May 3, 2018


If you have some awkwardness around discussing money with friends, a good thing to do when someone offers to buy something on your behalf is to respond with "Yes, thank you! What do I owe you?" (doesn't have to be right in that first response, but somewhere in that initial "I'm so excited, this is going to be fun, we can make a day of it, etc." conversation). This goes double when there are complicated accessory charges/efforts/sacrifices. Getting it out in the open at the beginning is much less awkward.

Personally, I would be just as uncomfortable paying a friend face value for a Hamilton ticket purchased as part of a season package as I would be asking them for more than face value, so I can empathize with the fact that coming up with that $350 figure may have been tough for your friend.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:07 AM on May 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, do you know how much she charged the other friends she saw the other shows with?

Yes, I'd be curious about that. Perhaps the market value of the other shows is $120, or maybe just $100. (There are very few Broadway shows where even not-great seats can be had for less than that.) If she asked 5 other people to pay $100 and you pay $350, she's been reimbursed $850 for her $1000 layout for the 6 show package. She gets to see 6 shows for $150 -- that's $25 a show! How is that "fair"??

Honestly, I've done group-discount things on occasion, and everyone pays the same toward the group price, no thought whatsoever about "your thing X is worth more than my thing Y." I really can't imagine doing it any other way.
posted by RRgal at 9:23 AM on May 3, 2018


Well, if you want to get all fair-is-fair about it, you need to know the street value of all 6 shows, not just Hamilton. Lets say its 50/50/80/80/100/300. She bought two of each, $1320 worth, for $1000 - basically, at 25% off. So your single ticket "face value" is 25% off of $300, or $225.

Now, explaining this math is tricky and gets into pendantic-ness I don't bother with friends. I'd probably do something sorta similar however, but always rounding down for friends. The final conversation would probably be something like "hey, i'm getting season tix, do you want to go to Hamilton with me? The ticket works out to about $200". Only when they question my math do I start explaining.

I suspect this is closer to whats going on, and where the problems are occurring are due to a (a) lack of clarity up front about cost (b) nitpicking how the math was done.

So in the end, I don't see your friend necessarily being the evil person some are making her out to be; whats missing here is the full logic (or faulty, or lack thereof entirely) with how things were calculated. I think you did ok with how you handled it, and now you know more about how to deal with money matters when they come up with this particular friend.
posted by cgg at 9:24 AM on May 3, 2018 [13 favorites]


This would have bothered me enough to bring up with ANY friend I have. (Maybe I don't like my friends enough?) But I would find this basically unacceptable, especially as the right time to discuss this would have been last summer.

I get a lot of tickets for face value for sold out shows due to professional connections (I also get a lot of free tickets) I've never asked a friend to pay more than I did for these even when the street value of the tickets could be hundreds of thousands more.
posted by French Fry at 9:31 AM on May 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm from NYC and I keep trying to figure out her position on this.

She must really need the money somehow, that's the only thing I can think of.
posted by jbenben at 9:36 AM on May 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


I don't tend to think well of people who do this kind of thing. Judging from this thread, I'm clearly not alone. Either she knows that it can make her seem mercenary and is ok with it, or she really has no idea how mercenary this makes her seem.

Perhaps you can figure out which it is in her case, and then determine how that info changes your feelings about the situation.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:40 AM on May 3, 2018


Well, if you want to get all fair-is-fair about it, you need to know the street value of all 6 shows, not just Hamilton. Lets say its 50/50/80/80/100/300. She bought two of each, $1320 worth, for $1000 - basically, at 25% off. So your single ticket "face value" is 25% off of $300, or $225.

I think the answer for what your friend is thinking is probably something in between this and whether she wouldn't have bought the season tickets without you also wanting to go to Hamilton. You probably honestly won't be able to know what is "fair" until you see the face value of the individual ticket you're looking at.

The other thing I'm wondering is if maybe she's facing some pressure from her fiancé? I know that after I got married my own method of how I split costs for things wound up changing a bit, as the finances became shared. It's possible that he's the one saying 'well if SoulOnIce is playing fair then she needs to pay 350$'.
posted by corb at 9:41 AM on May 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


That strikes me as shitty friend behavior on her part but the real question is whether you'll still enjoy it if you go, and whether you'll feel resentful toward her. If the answers are yes and no, respectively, then wash your hands of the morality of it and just go. If you're going to feel gross about it, tell her to scalp it (and don't say the part we're all thinking about "...and enjoy going with a stranger since apparently my company wasn't part of your calculations.")
posted by Smearcase at 9:41 AM on May 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


cgg's explanation of the arithmetic for making a fair valuation is correct, and it makes the important distinction between factoring in the market resale value of the ticket (not relevant, as others have pointed out) and the relative value of the Hamilton ticket to the other tickets in the season package (relevant). The assumption stated by some here that face value of the Hamilton ticket is $500/6 is misguided. Think of a sports season ticket, for example -- even though a person buys access to the games all at once, obviously a playoff game would have greater value relative to a regular season game.

However! Given the actual numbers stated, my guess is that the friend isn't following cgg's math either and is making the mistake of factoring in the market value. The reason is this: if following cgg's math, Hamilton at $350 out of $500 total package price implies that the average ticket cost of each of the rest of the shows would be $150/5 = $30. It strikes me as unlikely that Hamilton tickets are still commanding >10x the cost of a given Broadway show at this point.

So to me it seems like your friend is understandably acknowledging that the real value of the ticket is greater than $86, but their math for determining a fair compensation value is wrong.

As a side note, it'd be interesting to know what they've been asking for compensation on the other show tickets. If they're not asking for under $86 (to account for the fact that the relative value is lower than the average ticket cost from the season pass), they're having their cake and eating it too by charging more for the Hamilton ticket.
posted by Expecto Cilantro at 10:02 AM on May 3, 2018 [5 favorites]


At first I liked all the comments about paying more than face value for the ticket is bullshit. I would never choose to make money off my friend.

However, after reading through the comments, I realize that face value for Hamilton is NOT $83 or 1/6th of the cost. It's probably a bit higher than that. The package was probably made up of Hamilton, one or two other decent shows, and a few other duds that are thrown in as "look, you get tickets to these THREE shows, how amazing and valuable is this package!").

In other words, bundling, bundling, bundling.

So to give your friend the benefit of doubt, she did a bad job at explaining it (i.e. tying it to the secondary market) AND hasn't really figured out friendship works yet.

If I were her, I would have probably put the price at $100 - $150 and just stated it as such. I may have taken a small hit on the overall value package (there are a couple of dud shows in the bundle), but I get to go with a friend.
posted by moiraine at 10:14 AM on May 3, 2018


I bought season tickets to a theater that had gotten a spot on the Hamilton tour to get first dibs on decent Hamilton tickets, and as part of the package, I could buy up to two additional tickets for Hamilton itself. I asked one of my nearest and dearest friends if she wanted me to buy her a ticket for Hamilton. She said yes, I found her a decent balcony seat, and she paid me back for the cost I paid for her ticket, plus Ticketmaster fees.

I can see asking you to pay for the seat plus the fees, and heck, maybe the cost of parking or a taxi or dinner before the show, as a thank you to your friend for thinking of you and asking you to take the extra ticket instead of anyone else. Anything over that is... a bit much.

Also? While Hamilton tickets are still in high demand, they're not selling at the 1000% mark-up that once were going for. It's much easier to get a ticket to Hamilton at our just above face value, especially if you're willing to do a little research beforehand (or wait a few months to see it). I don't know if she'll make quite the profit she's thinking that she will, based on reseller sites, especially for a single ticket.
posted by PearlRose at 10:15 AM on May 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm kind of curious--you say you live in a different city so you're making a little trip out of it. How much is it going to cost you to go to NYC? Presumably, she lives there since she bought a season tickets. And she invited you, knowing you would have to travel.

I invited a friend in NC to see Billy Joel with me at Madison Square Garden. She bought plane tickets to come up and bought me dinner. She offered to pay for the ticket, but I said no, because I invited her and she paid to fly up, which cost about the same as the ticket would have cost. Obviously, I'm not suggesting your friend give you the ticket for free, but she asked you, you have to make arrangements to go there, and she's going to charge you that much?
posted by ceejaytee at 10:32 AM on May 3, 2018 [6 favorites]


Okay, so my friends and I bought season tickets to see Hamilton in our not Broadway city. 3 of us bought 4 tickets, and then I used my access for better seats to see it with my aunt.

So we gifted two tickets to a good friend and his girlfriend because we knew he couldn’t afford it. In our case we refused reimbursement, but we all knew that it was a really extravagant gift worth more than face value and closer to the season ticket amount. It made him feel a bit uncomfortable, and we had to assure him it was something we could financially afford and wanted to do, with no strings attached.

That meant we had 5 other shows where we had to find another person. For 2 of the shows, we couldn’t give tickets away. The seats were so plentiful nobody would bother to pay the face value on the resale market. The rest, we didn’t ask for reimbursement because it was all part of a larger gift. But asking them to pay face value when the market rate was close to zero, would have felt like ripping them off. Would you really feel comfortable charging your fiancé the same to see “Somethings Rotten” as your friend to see “Hamilton”? That would feel like trying to profit off your fiancé.
posted by politikitty at 10:49 AM on May 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


She, like many others, likely bought the season package to have guaranteed seats at a predetermined price, due to all of the news reports about instant sell-outs, etc. That IS how the theaters are marketing this, btw-- to "guarantee Hamilton". It is definitely unfair to expect to only pay 1/6 of the package cost, because the purpose of buying it was to get Hamilton seats. Even if she was excited to see 1 or 2 other shows, she would not have purchased the package just to get those. I would have a real problem if she was obviously profiting (i.e. if she paid $1,000 and is now charging you more than half) but valuing Hamilton at 70% of the season feels reasonable, and pretty close to what I was thinking when I considered buying season tickets (alas, they sold out almost instantly and I had to nervously wait for the general sale). The only problem I have (and to be clear, it's a BIG problem) is her not making this clear upfront. Even if it's the same amount, there's a difference between "70% of the value of this package to us is Hamilton, are you ok with this price" and "the current market value happens to be 70% of the package, so pay up".
posted by acidic at 10:56 AM on May 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


Did she buy the tickets to see the shows with friends or did she buy them to make bank.

What she paid for them was obviously an acceptable price between her and the ticketing authority and that transaction is done and settled. She paid for them and they are hers now.

Any profit-seeking financial transactions regarding the tickets is arbitrage -- and the question you have to ask yourself is: do you think arbitrage is compatible with friendship?

I am in the "no thanks" boat, and frankly if a friend sprung a profit-taking price on me after I'd agreed to go, I'd be like "get bent." Also, important thing: if you agree to something in principle, and then the actual details of the transaction aren't to your liking, backing out is fine.

But on the other hand if you have said $350 is fine, then that's a commitment and she can take that as face value and if you back out now then she's lost some opportunity to sell them onwards for a profit.

I think it's ultra-shitty of her to involve you in her little ticket arbitrage scheme, but now that you've agreed to buy them at her named price you may be honour-bound to take them? Unless you want to just say "NOPE" which is fine, but that's kind of a dick move. But she's already pulled a dick move on you.

Do you want to be friends with this person?
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:03 AM on May 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


I know people who would do this. I am not good enough friends with them that I would get invited, and I would probably not accept anyway. When I invite friends to go to shows with me, I don't expect them to pay at all. I buy two tickets to shows I want to see and hopefully I can find someone who wants to go with me. If they ask about the cost of the ticket, I just wave off and say buy the first round of drinks. For Hamilton, I might ask for the face value if they brought it up.
posted by jeffamaphone at 11:11 AM on May 3, 2018


She bought as part of a value package so I thought I'd be paying cost which would be roughly $83 or so.

Season tickets aren't really what I'd call a value package. They're a value for the theater, not for the purchaser, unless the purchaser is really hardcore into going and was actually already intending to see every single show in the season. If your friend doesn't do this every year, then I'd assume this is just about Hamilton, in which case yes, I'd expect that she'd be asking for less from friends for the other shows and more for the Hamilton ticket. I've just been staring at my local theater and trying to do the calculus about whether I intend to stay in Omaha long enough and whether I care enough to buy season tickets for the sake of Hamilton. My local theater's Broadway season is seven shows, and... yeah, no, most of them are not things I'd normally pay 1/7 of the season ticket price to see, though if I do buy the season ticket I will probably go just because I can.
posted by Sequence at 11:26 AM on May 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm reading the responses of people weighing in with the 50/50/80/80/100/300 split variants and how a more simple division is "unfair" to the friend and am still not buying it (I wouldn't be buying a ticket for $350 either but that's another matter).

The friend mentioned when she called that she was purchasing A PAIR of season tickets for $1,000. I don't know how season tickets work on Broadway but either she wanted company or they're only sold as pairs. To see the shows she wants, she only technically needs one season ticket. In her position, the most I would ideally then want to pay for myself attending would be $500. I'd be hoping to recoup the other half if I'd HAD to buy the pair, but if I had ACTIVELY paid for a second season ticket because I wanted a friend's company at each show, then I'd be less concerned about recovering the full $500 because I'm a grown-up who has made a decision that it's more fun not to go alone.

$500, therefore, is what I would ideally be paying for my six/seven tickets, irrespective of how those single tickets could be prorated internally. Let's further say that the other $500 WILL be covered by friends offering to pay their way or strangers buying at cost. If one ticket alone then for 'Hamilton' would have cost $700 in the area where I'll be seated but I'm getting in for $500 max, I would already consider I've made the saving I was looking for via my season purchase. The fact I'm seeing five or so other shows as well - including ones I'm excited about - and have friends' company at each is bonus, bonus, bonus!

Anything else is too bonkers for me to contemplate.
posted by Lilypod at 11:37 AM on May 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


You sound a bit more like her customer than her friend.
posted by 4ster at 12:05 PM on May 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


If she wanted you to pay, she should have discussed the amount with you before purchasing a ticket.
posted by asteria at 12:06 PM on May 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


Last comment from me I swear.
If her original intent was to buy a season package to get Hamilton tickets and she invited you to partake in this scheme, the most clearcut way should have been to invite you to also buy a season package whereby you would have 6 tickets as well for $500. This chopping up the Hamilton ticket alone on her own relative terms and telling you after the fact is what is really getting my goat.
posted by like_neon at 12:14 PM on May 3, 2018 [9 favorites]


As a data point, in her shoes, I’d probably just ask you to get dinner/drinks, especially because you have to travel. If you insisted, I’d probably ask for around $100, rounding up the difference to account for the fact that it’s Hamilton.
posted by Weeping_angel at 12:22 PM on May 3, 2018


I wouldn’t be hugely impressed with her generosity, but from the moment she asked me I’d be wondering how much the tickets would cost me and I would have almost definitely asked up front.

It’s very possible this is not arbitrage or making a profit; she could have taken other people to the less valuable shows no one cares about for lower prices or for free. Maybe she’s made back about $100 from other people who wanted the cheaper tickets and $350 comes close to making her whole.

Personally, I would find it too stressful/complicated to deal with this kind of thing socially as the giver, but she’s giving you a pretty good deal. Basically she’s fronting the $500 cost of this guest ticket to give you and other friends discounted tickets to the theater. Not bad.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:59 PM on May 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


And I mean, you can try to see things her way where she’s taking a risk to get you discount tickets, or decide that she has plenty of money and doesn’t need to be running a scheme on her friends, or whatever. Ultimately, how you like and trust her as a person is the deciding factor. If she’s always shady, I’d be inclined to say “whatever” and never involve myself again. If she’s always pretty nice and/or generous, I’d assume we just don’t see things the same way. And if I didn’t know her well, I’d probably give it some time and give her the benefit of the doubt for now. But in the future, I’d try to settle these things upfront.

Also not trying to accuse anyone here but this kind of divvying up behavior is much more common among my male friends and family, while my female friends and family tend to just give. So you might want to contemplate whether gender is coloring this for you at all. (Not saying this is always the case, just something I would think about before making a judgement.)
posted by stoneandstar at 1:03 PM on May 3, 2018


This is weird. I would never do math for friends like this. The price should absolutely be the face value of the ticket. I find it profoundly odd that people are talking about market value and resale value.... Like, this is a friendship. This is not a financial transaction. She's not a retailer and you aren't a stranger. Why would you pay to subsidize her season tickets?

I don't know if I were you I'd honestly just say "no thanks" because the other plausible option is giving her a bunch of money and feeling annoyed by it. I'm sorry she did this to you. It's a weird thing to do to a friend.
posted by sockermom at 1:06 PM on May 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


What is your friend's class background? If she comes from a proletarian/lumpen background, this makes a lot of sense to me. It's the hustle. If I've got an ounce and you want an eighth, I'll absolutely give you the friend hookup -- AKA significantly less than you can get an eighth for on the open market, but certainly above cost. I wouldn't sell an eighth to my best friend without getting my piece, that defeats the whole purpose.

From this perspective, your friend is doing you a solid and hooking you up for well below market, but it's foolish to think that she shouldn't be coming out on top for taking the trouble and putting her own money up front. That's the hustle. Where your friend screwed up is telling you how much she paid for her ounce and thus highlighting the profit aspect over the hookup aspect.

N.B. I am a communist and obviously don't endorse a system that forces people to adopt cultural practices that transactionalize interpersonal relationships. I may be way off base here, given that we're talking about people throwing around hundreds of dollars for Broadway tickets, so a bourgeois or petit-bourgeois social frame PROBABLY applies here, meaning other commenters' horror about the bad manners is probably more accurately applied to this situation. I just want to point out that in a different, less affluent cultural frame, this is a pretty unremarkable way to interact with a friend. If that's upsetting, blame capitalism and the violence of poverty.
posted by Krawczak at 1:23 PM on May 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


It’s very possible this is not arbitrage or making a profit; she could have taken other people to the less valuable shows no one cares about for lower prices or for free.

Yeah, I really, really think it's extraordinarily unlikely that she's making a profit by charging friends for the dud shows. My guess is that she isn't charging anyone other than the OP, because the OP is taking the other seat for the 'main attraction' and the other are shows that people wouldn't ordinarily pay money for. I'm completely bewildered by the idea that the friend is 'profiting', like, if she paid 1000$ and is getting 350$ back, assuming she's willing to put up 350$ herself, that's a net loss of 300$ for her, assuming she's not asking other friends to put up the small amounts for their tickets.

And like - I get where that might sting? But also, everyone's financial situation is different. Like, I can happily treat a friend to coffee, but I can't afford to treat them to a fancypants dinner, and I wouldn't think I was somehow rolling the friend I asked to the fancypants dinner by asking them to go splitsies. The only difference is that having a serious background in being poor as hell, I would always, always, mention the actual cost before someone said yes, because I wouldn't want to be stuck with the bag. And also, I probably wouldn't invite someone to the fancypants dinner unless I was pretty sure they could pay for it.

Do you make more money, on the whole, than your friend? That's the only reason I can think of for not talking about the price up front.
posted by corb at 1:57 PM on May 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


Let's say you invited her around your place for dinner and drinks, you cook a nice two course meal, pop a bottle of wine and drink it together. At the end of the night, just before she leaves, you reach over and give her a bill for the evening, charging her at private dining restaurant rates.

You'd feel pretty damn awkward, right? 'cause that's what's she's doing to you, and for some astonishing reason, she doesn't.
posted by Static Vagabond at 2:14 PM on May 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


All the excuses and rationalizations people are listing in this thread just seem like excuses. She's scalping the ticket to you, a friend, and that's just rude. I think you're in the right to bring up the cost again- find out where the seats are and what the actual face value is for the ticket (e.g. $200). Then you could say something like "hey- so the face value of that ticket is X. Would it be ok if I just paid you that? I'm already spending a fair amount on travel. I know we previously agreed to the $350 and if you need the money that's ok but thought I'd check."
It might blow up the friendship but scalping a ticket to a friend means that ship has already sailed. In my friend group the you would pay face value then maybe treat the buyer to dinner or drinks as a thank you. The scalping price would have never come up. I do have friends who buy and resell tickets to make money but they do that as an intentional side hustle and only sell to strangers.
If you really don't care about the money or the principle then just go and enjoy the show and don't bring it up. But considering you asked this question it is bothering you- and rightly so!
posted by emd3737 at 3:05 PM on May 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


The passive agressive move would be to hand her a check plus a 1099 for the amount over face — if she wants to claim a loss for the other shows, that’s between her and the IRS.

Being passive agressive is seldom the winning move in a friendship, so it’s not actually the course of action I would suggest. But, honestly, charging a friend scalpers prices for a ticket bought by arrangement in advance is also crass.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 3:41 PM on May 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


What strikes me about this is that if you had done exactly what she has done (bought two season’s tickets, and provided the prices you are quoting check out) and only used the Hamilton tickets – one for yourself, one to sell at current market value, you would still be saving 50 dollars compared to the friend’s price she seems willing to offer you.

I must say, where I come from what she is doing would be so rude that it comes round full circle and becomes funny. I mean, there are all sorts of ways in which her attitude is more understandable – like, maybe she is currently going through an unforeseen rough patch and she really needs the money, or she is the one who tends to subsidize your outings and this is the one time she chose to make a stand, or whatever. But given the barebones of the situation as described, in my circles this would be an insta-friendship re-evaluation move.

I also find the various explanation via gender and class a bit weird – in my (non-American) experience with a fairly large variety of people from a range of classes and from various places, this kind of approach to friendship would be seen as jerkish and the few people who I’ve seen do stuff like that are generally avoided. In fact, being relational rather than transactional with things like this is even MORE valued by people who are relatively poor, since they/ we are more reliant on mutual support than someone who can easily throw money at things and problems*.

Given what I know of myself, if I was in your situation I would back out of the show and maybe meet her afterwards (or another time, whatever). I’d back out completely, because if I went I would end up resentful, even if I tried my best to let it go, and there is a good chance it might fester in the future and have a negative impact on the friendshop. If I tried to negotiate the price with her and she acceded, I’d end up feeling guilty (and resentful about being put in the position to feel guilty), I would still not enjoy myself freely, and the friendship would still suffer. If I didn’t go, then this all ends up being just that one time with the weird communications snafu between us and that’s that. Only you know if you are truly more easy-going that I would be, or if this would take its toll on your friendship either way.

PS – I’d still feel guilty even if I went for the 350 ticket – I mean, she made sure you’re aware you’re costing her the difference to 700, so…

*It would be very different if she had said the first time she made the offer ‘I’ll need to recoup some money on this, but I’d still like to have you there, so I’ll cut down the price I would hope to make to get some of my money back’.
posted by miorita at 4:39 PM on May 3, 2018


She says that tickets in the same area of the theatre for the Hamilton show are going for $700 each and asks is $350 okay.

Everyone seems to be assuming that that $700 pricetag came from Stubhub but it's possible she meant that the face value of tickets purchased directly from Ticketmaster in that section of the theatre is $700. It's entirely possible that the face value of orchestra seats is $700. If this is the case, it's still a strange way of determining what to charge you (half of face value?), but she does need *some* formula - as others have pointed out, since the tickets were part of a package, it isn't clear what their face value actually is, and it's safe to assume the Hamilton ones are worth a lot more than the others, but their value is not clear-cut.

I would just tell her that you were expecting to pay a lot less for your ticket and you're wondering how she calculated the value of your ticket vs the value of the other tickets in her package and go from there. I agree it would be really gross to charge a friend anything more than face value, but the issue here is that it's really unclear how to calculate face value in this case. I personally would've estimated something like:

Hamilton ticket = $150
All other tickets = $70

$150 + ($70 x 5 other shows) = $500

And I would've explained my calculation.

But I'm not really sure her specific calculation matters, as there are lots of ways the ticket costs could be split up and no clear-cut "correct" split. I think what matters is: was she trying to be fair? and did she collect more than $500 total from you and her other friends? If the answers are yes and no respectively, I think it's ok.

And hey, if it turns out she *was* trying to charge you based on some numbers from Stubhub, I agree that that's gross but I also think people are imperfect and if she is a good friend in other ways, I'd let this one slide and make a mental note for next time that you don't like her methodology in charging friends for tickets...because maybe she is a good listener and a caring person and maybe you two make each other laugh till your stomachs hurt and so maybe you can let a money-related flaw slide.
posted by sunflower16 at 4:46 PM on May 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


Why not turn up and just before you go in, ask her for the $350 she owes you, because that’s how much you hire yourself out to accompany acquaintances to events. She’s already proven she’s not a friend after all, and that your relationship is purely transactional. I’m sure she’ll understand!
posted by Jubey at 5:17 PM on May 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


From where I grew up, this would be breathtakingly rude. I do, however, have friends who work like this. It doesn't help you in this case, but once I know who they are I make sure to discuss costs up front. The upside of those friends is that they don't seem to find discussing it up front rude, so it works out for everyone.
posted by frumiousb at 5:41 PM on May 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


If she spent $500 and got $350 for the tickets she is a very bad scalper. I mean, she’s paying part of your tickets.
posted by stoneandstar at 11:13 PM on May 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


Ha, ha. This question is like out of some behavioral economics textbook and about 95% of the answers here are economically irrational. (Now whether that's a problem with the answerers or a problem with the concept of "economic rationality" is another topic of discussion.)

It doesn't matter how much she paid for the tickets. All that matters is a) how much you're willing to pay to go to the show and b) what price you would have to pay to get these tickets.

Scenario One: Let's say that Hamilton tickets are so hot that paying $700 per ticket on the secondary market is the ONLY way to get tickets. But then your friend called you up out of the blue today and said that she was able to pull some connections and she snagged two tickets for $350/ticket, would you go for it?

Scenario Two: Your friend calls you and says she could advance purchase Hamilton tickets for $350/ticket for next summer. Would you go for it?

Scenario Three: Your friend calls you and says that she wants to buy Hamilton tickets, but she has to buy some stupid package which is one Hamilton ticket and five $30 gift certificates for some restaurant for $500 (i.e. a ticket worth $350 + (5 x $30) = $500). You have to pay $350 for the ticket and she'll cover the rest for the gift certificates, which she will gift to her nieces. Would you go for it?

Scenario Four: What happened to you. Your friend buys a $500 season ticket for six shows. The ticket is nominally priced $500/6, but she asks you for $350 for the Hamilton ticket. Would you go for it?

Scenario Five: Your friend mugs an old lady in the street and steals two Hamilton tickets from her purse. She offers to let you see the show with her if you front $350. Would you go for it?

I think most people would definitely go for Scenario One, but it would be a sliding scale going down this list and most people would blanch by the time you got to Scenario Four or Five. But if you personally value seeing Hamilton with your friend at least $350, rejecting ANY of these scenarios would be irrational. All five of these scenarios are equivalent in terms of marginal cost ($350) and marginal benefit (seeing Hamilton with your friend.) If the true price of buying just one Hamilton ticket in advance is about $350 (either buying only one Hamilton ticket in advance would have cost $350 or buying the $500 season ticket and scalping the rest would have only netted her $150), then your friend is NOT ripping you off.

On the other hand, if the true cost of the ticket Hamilton ticket it less than $350, then she IS ripping you off. If the value of all those other tickets was way above $150, or if you could have purchased a Hamilton ticket in advance for significantly less than $350, then your friend is in the wrong.
posted by alidarbac at 9:04 AM on May 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


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