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Confessions of a Box Office Manager: A mini online booking tragedy

The latest encounter from our West End mole involves a digital catastrophe

(Box Office phone rings)

BOX OFFICE MANAGER: Good morning, you're through to the Box Office. How can I help?

QUAVERY VOICE: Hello?

BOX OFFICE MANAGER: Hello.

QUAVERY VOICE (pause): Hello??

BOX OFFICE MANAGER: Yes, hello.

QUAVERY VOICE: HELLO??

BOX OFFICE MANAGER: Can I help you?

QUAVERY VOICE: Is that a real person?

BOM (checks self): I appear to be... yes...

QV: Oh I thought you were an answering machine...

BOM: Yes I get that a lot.

QV: Oh how funny.

BOM: ...

QV: Hello?

BOM: Yes, I'm here, live and in person! (does silvery laugh) How can I help?

QV: I am looking at seats on the Internet.

BOM: Right. Which site are you on?

QV: Yours.

BOM: OK, I only ask as there are a number of online booking agents and...

QV: No it's definitely yours. I looked up your show.

BOM: Right then, so how can I help?

QV: I was trying to book seats for this Saturday.

BOM: Matinee or evening?

QV: Matinee. I can't go out after dark.

BOM: Er, OK.

QV: There were two places down the front. I saw them on the screen.

BOM: On the live seating plan? Right...

QV: I clicked on them.

BOM: Good. (pause) What happened then?

QV: Then I rang you.

BOM: I see. Alright, well give me a second and I'll go to that performance on my system. Right I'm there. So which seats were you looking at?

QV: Down the front. Can you see them?

BOM: In the stalls? Actually the stalls are pretty much sold out apart from a few single restricted view seats. I've still got some clear view pairs in the upper. Would they be any good?

QV: I can't sit upstairs. I get vertigo. And nosebleeds.

BOM: Oh dear. Um, well. Oh wait. Were you looking at C12 and 13? I can see that they are being held by somebody. Might that be you?

QV: Is it?

BOM: Er... well you said you clicked on them and then rang me. So I'm guessing you may still be holding them. If you'd find it easier to book them over the phone, just unclick them, I'll grab them and we'll take it from there.

QV: Oh but I can't.

BOM: Why?

QV: I got confused and shut my computer down.

BOM: Still with those seats on hold? Ah... Have you tried logging back in?

QV: Yes but it keeps asking me for something called a password.

BOM: You can't remember your password?

QV: I don't know what it is. My son set me up on this, and he's in Tenerife. Computers frighten me.

BOM (deep breath): Right. Well we have a number of alternatives here... we can either wait for the system to release those seats which will take up to two hours, or-

QV: TWO HOURS??!!

BOM (ploughing on): ... or... OR we can find you other seats on this date, or book for another performance.

QV: No, it has to be this day. It's my friends birthday.

BOM: So. As I said, the only seats available are in the upper circle where you can't sit.

QV: Because I get vertigo. And nosebleeds.

BOM: Yes indeed. Look, I'm not supposed to do this but I have got a pair of producers seats which I'm going to let you have. They are the best in the house. How does that sound?

QV: Oh aren't you lovely. Where are they?

BOM: Row J. Right in the middle.

QV: ROW J??!! But I wanted C row!!

BOM: Er...

QV: Well, if that's all you've got then I suppose that's what I'll have to take.

BOM: OK, lovely. So how are you paying?

QV: Hang on, I'll go and get my card...

(pause of approximately 15 minutes during which BOM contemplates the meaning of life)

QV: I'm back.

BOM: Hello again.

QV: Are you sure you haven't got anything in row C?

BOM: I'm absolutely sure, I'm afraid. You'll have to wait two hours for those seats to become available again if you really want to sit in the third row.

QV: It's not a very good system is it?

BOM: (stifles sob)

QV: Actually...

BOM: Yes?

QV: Actually, you know what... I think I'd better call my friend to see if she can definitely come on this date.

BOM (weakly): OK then.

QUAVERY VOICE: Thank you for your help, but I must say again, it's not a very good system you've got there is it?! (rings off)

BOX OFFICE MANAGER (to the dead line): Goodbye and thanks for calling.

(BOM bangs head on desk)

BLACKOUT

(but hey, nobody died)

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