FIFA FAIL


Got my fix in, finally. And yes, FIFA deserves an entire blog post just to itself. As if it’s not bad enough that it’s a monopolistic entity that bans not only the poor vendors who might otherwise be able to make a buck off the tourists in town, but even bans fans from arriving at the stadium wearing branded clothing (not kidding, this is in the Ts & Cs), and strong-armed Cape Town into putting a huge stadium in Green Point rather than in Athlone, an area that needed revitalization. Oh, and … you know what, I’m going to stop now lest the FIFA marketing police insist that I cease and desist. I wouldn’t put it above them to try and figure out a way to stifle free speech. If FIFA were a country it would be a dictatorship. If it were a company it would be Apple. Most definitely.

So this morning I was assigned to heart pump, which is a little motivational starter to the day before the morning meeting gets going. I am not one that is generally motivated by the usual sort of stuff. What motivates me is accomplishment, big problems, things along those lines. As you can imagine I struggled mightily to figure out what I might do then when my friend John posted a Flyers anthem to my Facebook wall, problem solved. The YouTube video was a big hit, especially since the South Africans aren’t used to ice hockey as a sport.

On this day, FIFA released the final tranche of World Cup tickets, so I called my friend (one of three who had arrived at the ticket office at 7am; the tickets went on sale at 9am). He said that the ticketing systems were down at the moment (it was around 10am), but that they were maybe 15 minutes from the front of the line once things came back online. I was pretty sure he had bought tickets before and so this estimate would be accurate. Little did I know that the systems would be crashed pretty much all day.

When I arrived, the line was all the way through the parking lot to the street, and around the corner. One of our friends had gone to a FNB bank branch nearby (certain FNBs were also selling tickets). He and another friend decided to take a car to a branch 45 minutes outside of town, while another friend waited in the FNB line and I stayed in the main one.

So we waited. And waited. And waited. On the plus side, I met a bunch of cool guys in line, including two people both named Jared and from the same suburb, and a guy who works in data analytics for Shoprite. On the minus side, I didn’t eat lunch because I didn’t want to leave the line and the local vendor options were a bit lacking.

We did move forward, slowly … maybe 10 meters an hour or so. This was complicated by the stadium construction workers arriving to pick up the tickets that they were allocated as part of their remuneration. Why this couldn’t happen on some other day was beyond all of us.

At a certain point someone decided to move the line from through the parking lot to alongside the building. Around this time what had been an orderly queue started bunching up. When they posted a sign showing what matches had tickets in what categories still available, the crowd pressed forward even more.

It was around this time that the real sh*t show started. The first 200 people in line (presumably either last night or VERY early in the morning … there was a massive storm overnight that literally shook the building, so possibly it was last night to get the people out of the rain) were given number slips. Now in general this is a good idea. When you don’t give number slips to everyone in line and are not conscientious about collecting number slips when people get in, then you wind up with a thriving secondary market for number slips. A bunch of people were really getting steamed about this, especially as the guard at the door was literally not understanding what everyone was telling him, that the slips were being reused. The best part was when this one guy who had been complaining about the people reusing the slips got inside with one himself! Priceless.

I can speak like this because I was one of the lucky ones – our friends were able to get us tickets at the FNB branch outside of the city, so we were able to abandon the line around 3pm or so. I was pretty steamed at losing an entire day to FIFA (actually, MATCH to be specific) disorganization but so it goes.

Following that massive fail, I went home to wolf down some leftovers, then back to work to pick up my coworker.

A bunch of us had planned a surprise party for a group of people who are leaving at the end of the month, so I went to that but I was mainly still pretty beat from the illness earlier in the week, and standing around all day so when the time came to head out to Long Street I eventually demurred and headed to bed so I could work out the next morning.

However, instead of going to bed I went to the FIFA web site just for kicks, to see what tickets were still available. I found a Category 1 ticket in the third deck for the semifinal here in Cape Town for $600 but decided to pass. Then I found some tickets for the England-Algeria group match, in the first deck by the goal (along the pitch, not behind the goal – those are Category 2 and a little cheaper). But somehow by the time I got to check out the web site had lost them. So I went back to search, and got tickets for even closer to the pitch, and one section more towards center field. Can’t complain. That game is going to be fun!

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