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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 11-Oct-06


Wednesday 11-October-06

Never accept no

It's Monday night and I'm sitting somewhat smugly with my wife in the Royal Albert Hall in some rather good seats, which is the result of a mistake and some determined changing minds.

The story starts last Spring, when I found out that the Moody Blues were appearing here. We have all their albums (first on vinyl, then on CD) and couldn't pass up the chance of seeing the old guys again. The sixties sex symbols are now creaking grey-beards, but they still rock and have a huge repertoire with scarcely a dud song in there.

Tickets were going like hot cakes and I ordered some online. Not the best seats, but not bad. A couple of weeks later I checked the website again and put the date in my calendar: Monday 9th October. Time passed and I bought a couple of tickets for a local concert by Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson on the Wednesday of the same week. The Moodies tickets arrived recently (anti-e-Bay tactics) and it was only at the weekend that Eleri looked at the tickets and realized that they were for Wednesday -- the same night as Wakeman and Anderson! A panicked scan of the web and email showed that the Moodies were on for three nights and I had managed to double book the Wednesday. Double drat!!

Oh well. On Saturday I called the online place where I got the tickets. They reassured me, took my details and told me their service department would call back the same day -- which they didn't. I called again on Sunday and was told that the service department didn't work at weekends. Further probing concluded that even if I did get through to them it would be too late as they would not send another ticket until they received the one I had -- and this was yesterday.

So, we decided we had nothing to lose by blagging it. Eleri came into town today and we arrived early at the booking office (but not too early -- better to catch them busy). I told a tale of woe, having come into town and only just discovering it was the wrong night. The nice young man looked at my tickets, frowned and said that, because I had bought them from an agency and not them, he could do nothing about it. I upped the woe, but to no avail, though when I asked if there was someone else I could talk to, he told me to go to another desk and ask for Brian, the duty manager. Bingo! I now had a name, given to me in exchange for going away.

So I went over to the next desk and asked for Brian. Unfortunately, he was not there and I had to explain my tale again to a blank-faced young woman. Putting on my best puppy-dog expression I laid it on thicker (but still without overdoing it), but all I got was the same story about 'not bought from us' and a refusal to call Brian. Turning up the woe further, I explained that we had come a long way. I asked if they had spare seats, which they had (I knew this -- I had checked the website beforehand). I explained that the nice young man over there (wave - he waves back) had said that Brian would be able to help. After more puppy-dog eye contact and the queue building up behind me, she relented and phoned Brian. I heard her telling how I had come a long way and was looking upset. And then she put the phone down, came back and said that Brian, quite unusually, had said we could exchange the tickets. I groveled copiously as she wrote out the tickets and thanked her profusely as she handed them over. Remarkably, she smiled (and maybe felt good about helping this poor old chap).


And here I am now, on the train on the way home, having had a wonderful evening (all the more sweetened by a successful negotiation) with my lovely wife, culminating in a stunning rendition by Justin Haywood of 'Nights in White Satin'. They say nostalgia isn't what it used to be. I think it improves with age.

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