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OCL to sell more Winter Ball tickets next week

Published: Friday, January 31, 2014

Updated: Friday, January 31, 2014 03:01

The Office for Campus Life (OCL) will sell additional Winter Ball tickets next week, after many students had problems purchasing event tickets when they first went on sale on Jan. 27.

When students first tried to go to TuftsTickets.com, the website redirected to a virtual waiting room, where students stayed in limbo between five minutes and two hours.

One of the students directed to the virtual waiting room, junior Adam Nagy, said that by the time he could access TuftsTickets.com the Winter Ball tickets had sold out. 

“I wasn’t really vigilant and I left it open, and then by the time I was out of the virtual waiting room, it was already too late,” Nagy said.

Others, like senior Nick Harmon, tried, but failed, to access the website, and got in line at the Mayer Campus Center’s Information Booth to purchase a Winter Ball ticket in person. Though a long line of students streamed around the campus center for several hours after the tickets initially went on sale, Harmon successfully purchased a ticket from the booth.

The virtual waiting room on TuftsTickets.com was a new feature, designed to better manage the flow of people to the website, according to David McGraw, the assistant director for campus life.

“What the waiting room was supposed to do was it would only allow a certain number of people in at a time, thus communicating better with the purchaser that there are still tickets available,” McGraw said. “The way the ticketing system works is, basically, once you put it in your cart, it’s counted as sold even if you haven’t completed the transaction. So when a high number of people [were] doing that, it caused the system to appear sold-out even though it wasn’t.”

Some students experienced long wait times because others had not exited the website after they purchased a ticket, McGraw explained. Other students found loopholes in the system and purchased more than one ticket, according to McGraw. 

“People also realized that if they stayed on the page, they could purchase
 more than one ticket,” he said. “By doing that they were extending the length of the time they were in there.”

Because tickets are nontransferable, McGraw said students should not purchase tickets off of their friends. If people bought more than one ticket on Jan. 27, McGraw said the supplemental purchases won’t work.

“I personally have gone in and refunded all tickets except for the original ticket that people purchased,” McGraw said. “I want people to know that if they are buying tickets from their friends, buying tickets online [on Tuftslife] — all of these tickets are going to be void.”

According to McGraw, TuftsTickets.com is contracted through UniversityTickets, a company that operates ticketing websites for most universities. But the issues with the company’s services are unique to Tufts, McGraw said.

“Tufts is in this weird middle ground where we’re small enough that there’s this mindset that everyone needs to be able to go, but we’re too big to fit into venues,” McGraw said. “At schools I’ve been to in the past, such as Central Connecticut State [University] where they have 14,000 people, the biggest event we usually do is a thousand [people]. When tickets run out, people are like, ‘I didn’t get a ticket, it’s not the end of the world.’”

The tickets that OCL refunded will go on sale again next week. McGraw declined to say how many tickets will be available, but said that students should carefully read the email they will receive on Monday.

“If anything, I just advise students to, in the future, try to work with the system instead of against it,” McGraw said. “We do spend a lot of time trying to make this a very easy process and when people get worried because something doesn’t work well, try to communicate that with our office rather than trying to find your own way. When you try to find your own way to fix it, it just causes more problems.”

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