As most St. Olaf students know, Jesse McCartney came to campus on Friday, Oct. 7. Upon the announcement of the fall concert, I had to Google him to remind myself who he was. While I had no interest in seeing him, others apparently did as the tickets sold out quickly. I didn’t understand why anyone would be interested in seeing a washed-up one-hit-wonder who hasn’t been popular in over a decade. Nonetheless, people like a lot of things that I don’t.
After the tickets for the show were sold out online, something interesting happened. St. Olaf students began reselling tickets on the popular email alias stolaf-extra for a marked up price. This process, known as ticket scalping, is illegal in many states and countries. Now, it’s technically allowed in Minnesota (as of 2007), but unless people are declaring their profits from resell- ing the tickets on their taxes, they are committing tax evasion.
That’s right, the same crime that sent Al Capone to prison and has caused much controversy for current Republican presiden- tial nominee Donald Trump, was commited on St. Olaf’s campus. Scalping Jesse McCartney tickets may not be as serious as corporate tax evasion, but St. Olaf shouldn’t allow it to occur on a public forum.
I would argue that the act of scalping tickets of any sort is anti- capitalist because it’s a form of market manipulation and hurts the free market. This practice allows those who bought tickets early to manipulate the market to their advantage. In the process of scalping, students hurt others who were less proactive. It also potentially creates artificial infla- tion, which can have negative con- sequences.
Besides the fact that scalping tickets is illegal in some states and arguably anti-capitalist, it’s also unethical. People who partake in this practice are unethical and selfish, and make me ashamed to go to the same school as them. It is rude and mean and I honestly expected better from the St. Olaf community. There’s no good jus- tification for it. If you can’t go to the concert, swallow the five dol- lars and give it to a friend or sell it at the original face value.
There are plenty of legitimate ways to make money that are legal and ethical. Is ticket scalp- ing the worst thing in the world? No. It’s not even the worst thing to happen at St. Olaf. However, if we want to present ourselves as a stand-up community then we have to set the bar higher.
Until then, in the words of Monty Python, I’ll, “pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere out in space ’cause it’s bugger all down here on Earth.”
Joshua Garver ’18 (garver1@stolaf. edu) is from Interlochen, Mich. He majors in chemistry and art history.