Creative offers give new meaning to scalping

By Justin Pritchard
Saturday October 19, 2002


SAN FRANCISCO — If you’ve got some unwanted World Series tickets, why unload them for just a few thousand bucks? 

Some ticketholders are offering trades for a Mercedes, a job offer, or even a supply of healthy sperm. 

Or maybe you need tickets? 

Demand is intense, so you’d better offer something good to compete with these deals: a week at a Caribbean beach house, 50 hours of professional massage, or the services of “a very experienced, skilled defense attorney.” 

Every World Series generates a frenzy for seats. What makes the Giants-Angels affair unusual is that, thanks to the Internet, scalping has gone from straightforward price-gouging to a bizarre public swap meet. 

Street hustlers will still be at the games, offering outrageous prices. But for real jawdroppers, check out Craigslist, an online bulletin board based in San Francisco. 

It’s the Internet, so not everything is what it seems. Still, postings reflect a sellers-market delirium. 

At face value, the best tickets at both Pacific Bell Park and Edison Field are worth $175. But most offers in the Los Angeles Times classifieds asked at least $500. 

But the ticketless have offered everything from professional services (wedding videography and new hardwood floors are among the legal ones) to earthly possessions (plane tickets, wine, gourmet meals) to dates (“WILL DO ANYTHING ... I MEAN ANYTHING TO GO.”) 

One even offered a healthy kidney, as long as the ticket holder paid surgical costs. 

Jennifer Murnin, 37, a massage therapist from Sonoma County, was hoping some stressed fan would trade two tickets for 50 hours of rubdowns — a $2,500 value. 

“There’s more people that need massages today than need a healthy kidney, so I’m optimistic,” she said. By Friday morning, she said she had a few feelers from ticket holders. 

“This is definitely the hottest ticket that we’ve ever experienced,” said Jim Buckmaster, chief executive of Craigslist. 

On the flip side, ticketholders were no less creative. 

“I am currently trying to get pregnant and for reasons that are none of your business,” wrote one woman, is willing to give up upper-deck seats for healthy sperm — a donation that would “positively NOT be made the ’old-fashioned way.”