Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Olympics Tickets Round 2
Today was two of getting Olympics tickets.
The first session was in late June. You had to fill out a ticket request form online or paper, submit it and then hope that you would get something.
People were supposed to pay up by mid September, but a newspaper article said there was an unusually high number of people who didn't purchase the tickets either by Visa or cash at the Bank of China. As a result the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee (BOCOG) decided to be lenient and give people until sometime in October to pay up.
Those tickets that still weren't purchased would be put back into a pool for people to snap up in the second round, which was today.
And the only way to get them was to go online, call the ticket office, or go to a designated Bank of China branch and wait in line. First come, first served.
But, as I predicted, the system crashed soon after 9am when the sale started.
All of us in the office were constantly refreshing our computer screens hoping to get into the system. I started after lunch and then restarted after 4pm when I managed to get logged in. But then when I requested tickets, the system took forever to process. It finally told me that the ones I chose were not available. I tried again, choosing different price ranges or different events. Again the same message. Thinking three's a charm, I made another attempt, but it said my choices weren't available.
The online ticketing system should be able to tell you which ones are "taken" so you can try and get something else. I say "taken" because they will only be snapped up after the person pays up in two days' time.
BOCOG probably did this after a headache trying to decide who got which tickets in the request form. But it's no good when you want to sell tickets online and your system crashes. Think about it -- the most populous nation in the world and millions of them are trying to get tickets to the biggest event their country has ever seen.
This is a good experience for BOCOG to get their logistics up and running properly. They probably don't want their system to crash when the real event happens.