An evening at Carnegie Hall, the most iconic of New York music venues, has been on our must-do list for some time. When the Winter 2019 schedule was announced and individual tickets became available to see YoYo Ma perform Beethoven with Emanuel Axe and Leonidas Kavakos, we were ready to pounce. It turned out that most of the tickets had been scooped up before I got online and the price of what remained was simply too much. To see this caliber of performance, you’ve got to get up early.
Not to be defeated so easily, I fell back to the offering of Beethoven symphonies and found acceptable balcony seats two places off the right aisle for performances of Beethoven’s Fourth and Fifth (my favorite). I registered and completed all the required information, including credit card, only to be greeted by a message that an unexplained “error” had occurred. The instruction was that if you received the error message you should send an email to a provided “feedback” address. I did that, but it felt like sending a complaint to the moon.
Not to be defeated so easily, I tried again, but now the offer was for seats I did not think were acceptable and at the same price as the better seats previously offered. I wrote the “feedback” email address again with my final moon-shot, telling Carnegie Hall that we were going to pass and why. I emailed my wife with the bad news that I was defeated and that Carnegie Hall was not in our immediate future after all.
Within a few minutes, literally, my phone rang – I answered to hear a young man at Carnegie Hall [YMACH], “I see you’re having a problem buying tickets?”
I am not fantasizing; this actually happened (I have the confirmation).
Me: “Yes,” explaining in passing that I had really been hoping to get two seats starting on an aisle.
YMACH: “You want an aisle seat?”
Me: “Yes, but … (thinking, this is going nowhere but at least I can convey how disappointed I am).”
YMACH: “I can put you in an aisle and adjacent seat closer to the center, better than the seats you were trying to buy.”
Me: “Done and done.”
That, dear readers, is how it should be done. I am now a devoted fan of Carnegie Hall for life. Humans over computers – is that great or what?! I did not spoil the moment by asking why the computer offered me worse seats than were available at the same price. The young man likely could not explain it anyway, but the lesson is clear. Next time I just call or go to the box office. Now the waiting begins – the performance is in February!