I got my 2012 Great American Beer Fest tickets today, and boy was it painful.
Last year, I signed in at 10:00 for the AHA members pre-sale and had my tickets by 10:05. I remember it being very straight-forward and easy.
This year, it appears there is no way to order all your tickets at once. For each session I wanted to attend I had to do a separate search, pick my tickets, and fill out the check-out information. I paid a "convenience" fee for each of the transactions.
That was bad enough, but when I went to actually place my order, there was a bug on the site that kept telling me to check the terms and conditions checkbox before I could place the order. I kept checking it and getting the same order. Eventually, I tried calling TicketMaster. Busy signal.
I looked at the #GABF hash-tag on twitter. Apparently EVERYONE was having the same problem. A few tweets suggested using the mobile site, so I gave that a try. It was slow and the CAPTCHA challenge was too small to read, but eventually I got one order placed.
I never had to put in my AHA membership number for this order, which made me nervous. At this point some of the tweeters were reporting that TicketMaster had their main website glitch fixed, so I placed my other orders on the "real" website.
Then, I checked my email box. I had chosen the option to print my own ticket on all the orders. The two orders that I had placed on the "real" website had PDF's ready. The mobile site order didn't.
Eventually, I called TicketMaster again, this time getting through. After 10 minutes on hold, a representative told me they were aware of the problem and would email me a PDF.
Now, I appear to have everything I need. I am a little nervous that with all the issues it is possible that TicketMaster did something stupid like over-selling sessions. According to twitter, the Member-only session is already sold out and the fact that mobile users didn't even have to enter their AHA number makes me question that that will actually be only members.
I guess we will see how it goes. At least I can say as of right now, I have tickets to all the sessions I want to attend.
Are YOU attending? See you there.