It’s important not to settle for less, especially when money is involved. I pride myself on making priorities, and spending accordingly. There’s no shame in no-name brands and second-hand clothes if they help you afford the finer things in life. In my case, that meant going to see Christina Aguilera in concert with a co-worker. Figuring the show would sell out, I bought two extra tickets, certain my great seats would turn into a great investment.
Except the show didn’t sell out. Rather than let that worry me, though, I put the tickets aside and waited for something interesting to happen. Nothing did, until the day of the concert, when reality kicked in and I began to scramble. Two people in the animation department were eager to go, but overloaded with school-work. I went straight to the scalpers. A stoned guy ushered me over to a car where a man read his newspaper and spoke without making eye-contact. I said I’d sell the tickets at cost and he offered me half. Not wanting to lose money, I passed.
Then I did something only I would do, and ventured into the shops lining Ste Catherine’s Street. “Would any of your staff care to attend tonight’s concert? I’m not a scalper, I swear!” Again, no luck. Remembering that all the young, wealthy Montrealers went to Dawson, I hung a sign around my neck, took a seat in the atrium and waited for the fish to swim to me. There were plenty of bites, but despite all my creativity and confidence, time had run out. I met up with my co-worker outside the Bell Center and told her to go inside. The show, and my career as a scalper, were about to start.
I didn’t know who to approach. Everyone there had tickets, and the mysterious car-man was no longer interested in buying mine. Cops began driving around and I shivered in the cold. Clearly, my mantra was in need of some revision. I caved, and dropped my asking price from eighty to sixty. That’s when a forty-year-old man came up and cautiously pulled two twenties out of his pocket, claiming it was all he had. Now, as a child, I’d played the same game with neighbours while bargaining at their yard sales. But a grown man, acting as though I could afford what he couldn’t? With no other options, I sold him the ticket and then practically gave away the second one for twenty dollars before trudging, defeated, into the concert.
Though the show had yet to start, I was too depressed to care. My brilliant investment had left me paying two-and-a-half times more than anyone else in the section. Speaking of which, mister forty dollars realized we were sitting only two seats apart. He offered me his binoculars during the Pussycat Dolls’ opening act, but I really wasn’t in the mood to enjoy myself. At least not until Christina took the stage and began belting out “Ain’t No Other Man”. A couple in the next row stood up to dance, blocking the miser’s view. Five songs later, he was having a full-blown argument with them, claiming he’d paid a hundred and twenty dollars for his seat. I intervened, reminding him (and everyone within earshot) that he’d only paid forty dollars for the ticket I’d sold him. He said the cost of the ticket shouldn’t matter, and I agreed. The real issue was that he was ruining the show for everyone and should sit down and stop being a dick.
It was the first time I’d ever yelled at a stranger. I can’t claim it was my best moment, but I also can’t deny how cathartic it felt. As much as he’d needed to be reminded to have a good time, so did I. As Christina started into her next tune, and the noise-maker retreated to another seat, everyone in our section stood up to dance, uninhibited. I might have lost out big, but I wasn’t going to miss the chance to enjoy the show, and boogie my butt off. That truly would have been settling for less.