Thursday, July 17, 2008

Buying tickets - the hard way

www.bilietai.lt now sells tickets for many events, at a cost of 2 LT per ticket, even if you buy them at some concert venues such as the St Christopher Festival, the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra and some other events. It's called contracting out, and a guy arrives with a little case containing a laptop and a printer and you get yer fancy tickets.

Of course, you can buy tickets from home, via the internet. For that you need to be signed up to bilietai.lt with name and password. Then it becomes complicated. Either you can reserve tickets and collect them within a certain number of days from one of their offices (which are in many locations), or you can buy them directly.

Here you have the choice at picking them up at the ticket office (not sure about the box office of the concert venue - have not risked that one yet), or getting them sent to your home address, at an additional 5 LT per ticket - provided the address is in Lithuania.

So this morning it only took me two hours to buy tickets for four events. To say that it is an annoying website is putting it mildly. For each event you have to pay separately. This means starting with going through one of those screwed up numbers that you then have to type in, to prove that you are a real person, and then you put in your credit card details - all of them, and for each event.

So I put them in four times? No, more like 20 times - with some tickets I kept getting error messages. You'd have to be really committed not to give up. The good news is that although the system tells you such reservations are only held for 15 minutes, in fact it held them until I got the money through two hours later.

And what you do then is write down very carefully the 18-digit code number for each ticket, with which you run round to the ticket office to pick up your ticket. With my 4, the page in my notebook now looks like 007 stuff. Customer-friendly it is not!