We decided to get tickets to take Milo to see Yo Gabba Gabba this November when they are in the Bay Area. It occurred to me that I will need to get front row seats for Milo and Matilda due to their vision and hearing impairment. I called San Jose Civic about accessible seating and they directed me to tickemaster.com. The process turned out to be super easy and I was told that my accessible seats are on the front row. I was thrilled and told Milo how we are going to see them and he was ecstatic. Later that day, I went to check the seat map of our seats and discovered that the tickermaster representative had booked us at the Fresno location!!?? I called ticketmaster.com and luckily I was able to get a refund. (It almost seemed too easy when I did it because they made a big point about how the tickets are nonrefundable and blah blab blah.)
FORESHADOW OF THIS LITTLE EXPERIENCE: THIS WAS JUST A PRACTICE RUN AS TO WHAT IS TO COME.
Here comes the craziness and I will try my best to refrain from using bad mouthing language:
CALL TO TICKETMASTER.COM – OCTOBER 26, 2011 AROUND 9PM (SPOKE WITH KIMBERLY):
I called to get tickets for the correct location and was told that there were no accessible seating for vision and hearing impairment for this event but they have wheelchair seating on the balcony level in the back. WhatWhatTheWhat was in my head so I repeated my question and I was told the same thing and that I should contact the venue because it is up to them to release those seats. AND she made a point to tell me (more than once) that it is very rare that they get requests for accessible seating for vision and hearing impairment. I did not respond to her because I was confused and surprised by her comment and not sure why she felt the need to say that to me. Was I suppose to say oh in that case never mind, let me just get some regular seats for my vision and hearing impaired kids so that they can go and sit super far away and won’t be able to see or hear a thing.
CALL TO SAN JOSE CIVIC BOX OFFICE – OCTOBER 27, 2011 AROUND 9AM:
I asked to speak with someone that can help me with accessible seating and he told me that they have no control of the seating arrangement and how it is up to the producer of Yo Gabba Gabba and I should call them to complain. I told him that I called ticketmaster and they informed me that the venue itself should be able to accomadate accessible seating for me. He then told me again that he cannot help me because they are not selling tickets to this show and that I need to call ticketmaster.com or call the producer of Yo Gabba Gabba and question them about accessible seating because they are the ones that have the ultimate control. Our conversation ended. I was pretty confused and a bit frustrated at how difficult it is to get accessible seating. It reminded me of speaking with lame-O airline representatives and how you get a different answer for the same question based on who you speak with.
I took a break since I had to take Milo to his weekly swim class. On the way, I kept thinking how I should approach this because it’s a bit ridiculous how NOT easy it is to get accessible seating and how ironic it is that it’s so hard to do it. AND the thought of reaching out to the producers of Yo Gabba Gabba did crossed my mind because I want to share with them how hard it is to get accessible seating and how they need to accommodate since it is part of the ADA law. I decided that I will call San Jose Box Office again to get more information about accessible seating and how it is arranged so that I can have all my information and start my complaint and get my answers. At this point, my goal was NOT about getting accessible seating for my kids, it’s about fighting for my kids’ rights. (I know it sounds kind of like a breakthrough point in a movie but unfortunately this is FOR REAL people.)
CALL TO TEAM SAN JOSE – OCTOBER 27, 2011 AROUND 10:30AM:
Instead of pressing 4 to be connected with the San Jose Box office, I pressed 0 under all other information (I was hoping that there would be someone else that I can speak with aside from the person that I spoke with earlier this morning at the box office). Claudia answered and I asked her who should I speak with about accessible seating for an upcoming venue. Right away she told me I should call the box office and Kevin or Peter can help me. She kindly transferred the call.
CALL TRANSFERRED TO SAN JOSE BOX OFFICE – OCTOBER 27, 2011 AROUND 10:32AM:
I started out the conversation again with can I please speak with someone that can help me with accessible seating. I was told by the other end that he was the one because he did not transfer me to another party and he responded by a yes. I told him that he might have been the person that I spoke with earlier in regards to accessible seating (I knew he was because I recognized his voice) and I would like to get a better understanding on this subject. He confirmed with me that I did not speak with him earlier (but I am sure it was him.). I told him that I want to find out more about accessible seating for the Yo Gabba Gabba event and he quickly told me that I will have to talk with the producer of that show because they do not sell tickets to this show and that San Jose Box Office has nothing to do with the seating arrangement and I should call ticketmaster to get the ticket. I told him that I did talked with ticketmaster and was told that I need to talk with the venue because they are the one that has control over the seating arrangements. Again, box office guy told me that he cannot do anything and that I need to call the producers of Yo Gabba Gabba. (As you can see, this is pretty much the same conversation that we had earlier that morning.) I then proceed to ask him how does accessible seating work for any shows that takes place at the San Jose Civic and I shared with him that I was booked by mistake for the Yo Gabba Gabba show in Fresno and they had accessible seating and it seems strange that the producer would make arrangement for Fresno location to have accessible seating but not at the San Jose Civic. The box office boy’s voice got very irritated and told me to stop calling him about this because 1) he cannot solve my problem and 2) he does not work at Fresno location so he has no idea what they do. With that being said, he pretty much confirmed with me that he was the one that I spoke with earlier in the day because he told me to stop calling him about this subject. I was too pissed off at this point to point this factor out to him. I told him that 1) I am not asking him to solve my problem 2) I am simply asking and gathering information as to how accessible seating is arranged so that I can have all the correct information and make complaints to the appropriate party and 3) he needs to calm down because I am not blaming him for anything. The all worked up box office guy kept on going off about how I need to stop calling him and that there is nothing he can do and how if I want to discuss SJBroadway he can tell me all about that. I pretty much tuned out at this point because I was getting very upset. SO, in a very calm voice, I said to box office guy, let’s get this straight, if I am to come into the box office today in person and told you that I need to get tickets for accessible seating for Yo Gabba Gabba you would tell me sorry I cannot help you. He said yes that’s right. I knew with that I was so done with him and that this is turning out to be even more crazee than what I expected. For reference sake, I asked him for his name and he did not say anything. I asked him if he was Kevin or Peter and he paused for a bit and said Kevin is not here. I said you must be Peter. He paused again and said no. I asked him again for his name. He paused and said there is no need for you to know my name because I am not selling you anything. I said are you refusing to tell me your name, he said yes. I told him that your name must be ASSHOLE because you are a complete ASS on this and he better read up about the ADA law. He was going off about something but I tuned out and was livid and almost in tears because I cannot believe the words that came out of that guy’s mouth.
CALL TO TEAM SAN JOSE – OCTOBER 27, 2011 AROUND 10:45AM:
I chose option 0 again because I want to find out the name of the box office guy and to file an official complaint. Claudia answered and I reminded her that I had called earlier and I told her what had happened. She was quick to apologize and assured me that she will go and find out the name of the guy and she will put in the compliant. I was a bit emotional when I was speaking with her because I was filled with so much frustration. Claudia told me that I should talk with Peter who is the ticket manager and he is extremely nice and would be able to help. I thanked her and was put on hold to be transferred to Peter.
TRANSFERRED TO PETER, TICKET MANAGER AT SAN JOSE BOX OFFICE – OCTOBER 27. 2011AROUND 10:50AM:
I got his voicemail.
CALL TO TEAM SAN JOSE *OPTION 0 – OCTOBER 27. 2011 AROUND 10:51AM:
I informed Claudia that I was not able to reach Peter and she told me I should leave a message for him and that Peter is extremely nice. She suggested that I should mentioned my bad experience with the box office guy to Peter.
TRANSFERRED TO PETER, TICKET MANAGER AT SAN JOSE BOX OFFICE – OCTOBER 27. 2011AROUND 10:52AM:
Peter answered and I told him that I need help with accessible seating for Yo Gabba Gabba and before I even told him what had happened, he quickly told me that yes he can help me even though they do not sell the tickets directly. I then told him what had happened and that I was told that they are not able to help with accessible seating and he confirmed with me that it is not true. He said he is able to look at the same seat map as ticketmaster and he saw available seats for accessible seating. Since he cannot sell tickets directly from his box office, Peter put in a request for Kathy from ticketmaster to contact me with my reserved accessible seats. I think at this point I was relived because there’s actually someone that is reasonable and know what the hell they are talking about. But at the same time I think I was still thinking about that nasty useless box office guy and how stupid it is that I had to go through all that just to get seats.
All this ended pretty much when Milo was done with his swim lesson and I am sure parents and teachers at the pool were wondering what was wrong with me since I was on the phone and was so emotional. Milo had no idea of course what happened.
When I got home, I called Claudia to thank her for her help and to ask her for the name of the rude ass box office guy. HIS NAME IS MICHALE. Claudia assured me that a verbal complaint has been made to a supervisor and that an internal talk has happened and that he is or has already gone through some people skill training. (In my opinion, Michael needs more than people skill training.) She again apologized and said that box office staff should have excellent customer service and she did not know what happened.
CALL FROM KATHY AT TICKETMASTER.COM – OCTOBER 27, 2011 AROUND 12:30PM:
Kathy got Peter’s message and helped me processed the accessible seat tickets that Peter had reserved for me. I asked her why is it that Peter can see the availability of the accessible seating in his system but the representatives I spoke with at ticketmaster.com could not. She said that she could not see them as well. I was confused because Peter told me that his system for the seating map is the same as ticketmaster.com. Why do they make it so difficult for people that need accessible seating to get a ticket? It’s already annoying that people that needs accessible seating have to call or email versus getting it online like a regular seat. And since San Jose box office does not sell tickets to this show directly how will people get accessible seating if ticketmaster cannot see those accessible seat or if they get someone like Michael that is no help. ANSWER THAT TICKETMASTER.COM AND SAN JOSE BOX OFFICE??!!!! Please refer to this ADA requirements on ticket sales ticketmaster.
CALL TO PETER AT SAN JOSE BOX OFFICE – OCTOBER 27, 2011 AROUND 12:50PM:
I called to say thank you to Peter and told him that I got my tickets. He apologized for my horrible experience and told me that they had talk about it internally.
Yet again, I learned a lot via my kids’s disabilities and how hard things can be and will be for them and for many out there. When things like this happen, I really wish I have more time to get involved to help. But as of now, all I can do is to be a constant advocate for my children and to blog about it so that others can see and will pass it along. I will for sure share this eperience with Early Start’s teachers and parents. Please kindly re-tweet this or share this on your blog and pass it along. I have every intention to email this to the producer of Yo Gabba Gabba, to City of San Jose, to ADA.gov, to my local news team and to other places that I can find along the way. If you can think of anyone else, tell me. I love sharing!
THIS SHOW BETTER BE GOOD.