Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: March 2007 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Sweat the Small Stuff

Went to the rodeo last night. The musical performance was mediocre at best, so I checked the local paper for a review; you know, see if the critic was spot-on or pandering to some special interest or other.

Lo and behold, there’s a full-blown controversy shouting at me from the entertainment page, and I hadn’t heard a thing about it. Probably because I’m not nine years old or I don’t listen to talk radio. Or both.

The dustup wasn’t about the night I attended, though, which was very enjoyable regardless of the talent of the headliner. It was about the day before, when the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was overrun with hyperactive preadolescent suburbanites. Throw in some technical difficulties, and there’s an epic event in the making.

For those of you not from Houston, the rodeo is a major annual event. Not only does it give Reliant Stadium a reason for existence in the off-season, it provides scholarships for rural teens, many of whom would not be able to afford college otherwise.

Sunday’s headliner was the Cheetah Girls along with Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana. Now, as a basic cable subscriber, I know that Hannah Montana has infinitely more brand recognition than the Cheetah Girls and Miley Cyrus combined. Stir into the mix last year’s attendance-record-breaking Hillary Duff concert, last Sunday’s again-record-breaking attendance (what, did they add folding chairs?) and the related record-breaking sellout duration (three minutes). What could possibly go wrong?

I don’t know about you, but at this point I’m picturing hordes of pre-teens rushing the stage to see their role model; material girls obsessed with boys and pink trinkets. Word is, during Hannah Montana’s opening set, the sound crew couldn’t hear Miley over the squealing crowd, so they cranked her up.

Halfway through her set a breaker tripped; the western half of the crowd got the Hannah mini-concert while the eastern half got only its echo. Suddenly, parents are shocked, yes, shocked, that they have to suffer the indignities of paying exorbitant prices for “brokered” tickets, only to have the event treated like any other charity event! It’s an outrage!

Well, the problem was fixed, the Cheetah Girls took the stage without incident, and the day ended happily ever after.

Or did it? Outraged parents took to the phones, and now talk radio is leading the charge for accountability.

Long story short: the percentage of people whining about paying $35 for a cheap t-shirt is about the same percentage as the people whining about not being able to get a $35 t-shirt.

The controversy lies herein: should the HLSR offer refunds? If so, should they petition their vendor (Reliant Stadium) for refund coverage?

My question is this: if someone is financially able and willing to buy “brokered” tickets at $200 apiece to spoil their spawn, what’s the point of getting a $16-$26 refund? Principles?

As for the parking and traffic complaints, one would naturally think that a sold-out concert would cause some congestion in and around the area. Get over it, y’all.

Let’s just hope that the rodeo can weather the storms that this onslaught will bring, and carry on its mission. I gotta get me one of them calves in the calf scramble next year.