The Setting: Friday night. Two NCAA tournament games are being played at the local Verizon Center in DC, GMU v. Witchita State and Connecticut v. Washington. The wife and I meet up with some friends to catch a bit of the action at the ESPN Zone downtown.
The Plan: Earlier in the week, we had tried getting tickets to the game, but local interest was high because of GMU. With the games sold out and prices online simply astronomical, it was the ESPN Zone for us. While waiting to be seated (the wait for our table was over 2 hours), we decided that it couldn't hurt to see what scalped tickets were selling for.
The Scalper: While walking the three blocks to the arena, my friend Taylor and I were approached by a wheelin' and dealin' scalper offering tickets at $200 a pop. He fit the scalper profile. Slightly chunky, a little short (around 5'10”), and wrapped in a massive winter coat, he had that shifty scalper look in his eye that made you certain he’d be willing to lie to his grandmother to close a deal.
Us: "$200? That's way too steep for us."
Scalper: "What's the best you can do?"
Us: "$50 a ticket, tops."
Us: "We said $50 was our max."
Us: "Nah," as we turned to walk away.
Scalper: "Okay... $200 for all four."
After mulling it over for a minute, we decided to take him up on the offer. The scalper only had three of the tickets on him so he had to run and grab the rest from a partner. I stayed on the corner and waited for him while
Other Scalper: "You got any tickets?"
Us: "We're actually looking for some."
Other Scalper: "I got you covered for one at $200."
Us: "Well... that's too much... plus we need four tickets anyway."
Other Scalper: "I don't think any of us have four tickets."
At this point our old scalper friend whistled to us from across the street. We hustled over and he pulled out his tickets.
The Kicker: When I got to the ESPN Zone,
The Attempt: Stuck with counterfeit tickets, we figured we had nothing to lose in trying to use them. So I dropped Melbo and Jennifer off at the
Melbo and Jennifer approached the ticket-taker nonchalantly, handing her the counterfeits they casually tried to chit-chat. We knew the gig was up when the ticket-taker began shaking her head though. She called over her supervisor who confiscated the fakes and smiled as he turned another pair of suckers away.
We got scammed, duped, hoodwinked... royally screwed. Out $200 with no hope of getting into the games, our wives were now officially starving and we weren't even sure if we still had a place in line at the ESPN Zone (the pager was out of range... we'd taken it "just in case"). It was a dangerous situation.
The Moral: God never leaves you when you're down and out. In those moments when you're feeling heavy laden, when the burden is more than you can bear, when you’ve done something so stupid you’re going to kick yourself for years to come over it, he's always there to lift you up. You see, as we left the arena, we bumped into a few guys who had paid $200 bucks a ticket for their counterfeits. Funny how meeting someone stupider than you can make you feel that much better about a crappy situation.
The Epilogue: Unbelievably, we still managed to get back in time to claim our table at the ESPN Zone (our pager had been next in line to go off when we returned). We finished off the night watching the 2nd half of the GMU game and a some of Villanova, Georgetown and UConn games on the big screen (they basically all overlapped). With the frenzied hometown crowd going bonkers as GMU pulled it out against