What they hope to achieve with this, is questionable. Scalpers are not politicians, so why would they be swayed by a petition? If they are sitting on large numbers of tickets, the lamentations of a few hippies in the Burner community about “injustice” are unlikely to move them more than the massive profit$ they’re looking at. Especially when price$ keep going up every week on the secondary market.
Whether you like it or not, right now scalpers are providing the only way for Burners to get tickets to Burning Man – just like any other event in America, except maybe the Oscars. It’s clear now that STEP was a flop, it was shut down in 20 minutes with less than 200 tickets going through the system. It seems that even the most “altruistic” of (non-)Burners did not want to take a 3% loss on tickets that they could make a 400% profit on. It would’ve cost BMOrg a mere $14,000 to pick up the handling fees on the 2000 tickets they were expecting to go through STEP, but no, their preferred solution is that the community must pay the price for their frivolous entry of a lottery for an event they now don’t want to attend. And BMorg did not want to listen to the almost unanimous cry from the Burner community to solve the scalping problem by linking tickets to IDs – something done all the time, all round the world, and surely possible to organize in the 6 months remaining until Burning Man.
All BMOrg has done – whether deliberately because there’s tens of millions of dollars at stake; or through ignorance and incompetence of their huge team of paid workers, volunteers, and game theorists, who only have to handle one relatively small event per year – has been to create the line outside the club, and run the guest list. Scalpers are like the promoters selling VIP tables to a sold-out event.
I’m struggling to understand the underlying logic to the argument that scalpers hurt the Burner community. It appears to be based on the idea that if scalpers were to sell tickets to Burners then in the future, ticket prices might go up. Never mind the fact that BMOrg has continually increased ticket prices since 1995, without any input from scalpers…it completely ignores the other expense$ that the more generous members of the Burner community put into making a great Burn for all the rest of us. The price of a ticket on the secondary market is nothing compared to an hour of fireworks, or even one wheel of a giant Trojan horse.
For some, radical self-expression is fulfilled by how much they selflessly give. This is what the true gift economy is all about – those who can afford to give unconditionally, doing so; not those who can afford nothing, having a great party at the expense of everyone else, and leaving with a whole bunch of swag.
BMorg claim that Burning Man is not about money. But, seriously…can you imagine a Burning Man without rich people underwriting it through patronage? How much gifting, how many sound stages, how many art cars do you think there would be – if it was all people on food stamps, catching the bus from Reno?