Monthly Archives: March 2016

Redemption, Part 1

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Road trip!

It’s no secret that our trip to Pasadena for the CONCACAF Cup was basically the worst.

Tuesday’s World Cup qualifying match in Columbus was our first foray back into the USMNT game circuit since last October’s Trip From Hell and we are pleased to report that it went well.

Very, very well.

Starting with a disastrous phone call.

We were about 30 miles outside of Columbus when we got a voice mail.

It was the Holiday Inn Express calling. To tell us that our room for that night had been cancelled and given to another customer. They were booked. We were screwed. Call us if you have any questions, have a nice day.

We called because, yes, we had questions. Questions such as HOW COULD YOU JUST GIVE OUR ROOM – THE ROOM WE BOOKED THREE MONTHS AGO – AWAY?

See, just recently, the credit card that the room was reserved with was stolen and had to be replaced. Then the hotel tried to charge the old credit card number and, when it didn’t work, instead of doing some basic customer service such as calling us, they just cancelled our room.

We were 30 minutes from Columbus and had nowhere to sleep.

Holiday_inn_expressThe front desk agent who we talked to was not helpful. His contribution to the phone call was basically a shrug of his shoulders and a disinterested eye roll. No apology. No offer of any solution whatsoever (including offering to get us booked at another Holiday Inn Express location in Columbus, of which THERE ARE TWO MORE).

After a good bit of back and forth, he finally found the problem solving skills to transfer us to a reservation agent.

(“Our computer system cancels the room automatically, I’m so sorry that happened. Our property is booked for the night but I would be happy to help you find another room in the area.” Is that so hard?)

The front desk guy had insisted that the hotel was sold out that night, but the reservation agent miraculously found an available room. An available room that was identical to the one that had been cancelled.

For an additional $50 a night.

Yeah, no thanks. We’ll pass. You’re a Holiday Inn Express, not the Ritz Carlton, and we were only staying there because we could walk to the stadium from the hotel not because we are passionate about your bland-ass rooms and your stingy breakfast buffet.

Powered by the magic that is Priceline, it took all of 5 minutes to book at a nicer hotel, in a better area, for 35% less.

A nicer, cheaper, better hotel that also turned out to be the team hotel.

But we didn’t know that just yet.

Yes, again

Once again, sadly, we find ourselves in the position of receiving many questions about our plans for travelling to France for this summer’s European championships.

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Once again, we can assure you that our plans have not changed.

Sorry, terrorists.

In two weeks’ time

IMG_0757You didn’t think that all of this looking forward to France meant that we would skip out on the Men’s National Team’s World Cup Qualifier in Columbus, did you?

Our trip to Los Angeles may have been a heartbreaking and disastrous mistake but we will overcome. We will road trip to Columbus.

Anything for Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and patriotic merriment and — fingers crossed — a win against Guatemala.

 

5:50 am wake up call

It was an early morning.

It was a very early morning.

The next and final round of ticketing for Euro 2016 opened at 6:00 am today. This ticketing is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Sleeping in was out of the the question.

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Dark, early.

Coffee was made as the laptop and the tablet were fired up.

And then began the waiting.

UEFA’s system works differently than the Ticketmaster-style of first-come, first-served ticketing that we’re used to. With UEFA’s this system, you’re basically parked in a virtual waiting room. The system incrementally lets individuals in to shop for tickets, presumably to keep the website from overloading.

Then, when you get into the system, you have 15 minutes to shop for tickets before you’re booted out of the system and have to begin the process all over again.

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We were in the waiting room for three hours.

And then we just got really, really lucky. The first-come, first-served tickets are seats that are being resold by the original purchaser. So, there’s no rhyme or reason to how they’re posted on the site and made available for purchasing. It just happened that, as we were frantically refreshing the site for the tickets we wanted: a pair popped up.

Sold!

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The Last 16 match in Saint-Étienne, here we come!

We were prepared to dedicate the day (okay, the entire month that this ticketing round was open) to obsessively refreshing the webpage until we secured the tickets we wanted but it turns out that all it took was one (very long) morning.

It turns out that we are ticketing wizards.

Ticketing wizards who have officially secured all of our tickets for this summer’s European Championships!

Oh my

This is getting very exciting.

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