I've Been Scalped | Letters | Chicago Reader

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I've Been Scalped

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Dear Reader,

After reading your "Scalper Scam" article [Hitsville, December 1] I became compelled to tell my story. I was scammed twice at the former Rose Records on 53rd Street. The first time occurred while attempting to get decent R.E.M. tickets in January for the June 2 show. The lottery tickets were supposed to be given out at 9:30. When I arrived at 9:10 I was about 20th in line. Then a pack of grimy scalpers came. We were all given lottery tickets at 9:45. A random person in line drew the winning ticket and handed it to the employee. He read it off, and the winning ticket belonged to the first scalper in line. Of course this meant that I was almost last, and the line had grown immensely in that extra 15 minute delay. I couldn't believe it. I had been waiting nine years to see R.E.M. and I was last in line--but what could I do? I cried, went to the end of the line, and figured it was just my bad luck. (I ended up getting decent seats a few days before the show because Ticketmaster released more tickets. Where do these tickets come from? I guess this is another story/scam entirely.

My next scam occurred in the spring at the same Rose Records while waiting for Beastie Boys tickets. This time I decided to wait until a scalper got in line and then stand behind him. I did, and when the lottery ticket was drawn I ended up being second in line. Coincidence? I think not.

Meanwhile, while I'm inside buying tickets, my friend is outside throwing a fit. The employee says, "What's that asshole's problem?" I told the worker that my friend was just a little upset. I told my friend what was said, and he decided to return to Rose Records the next day.

First he confronted the worker for calling him an asshole. The worker apologized. Then after an extended argument, the manager basically admitted to fixing the lottery, but his reason was . . . "What does it matter anyway, we're going out of business." At that moment the scalper from the day before came into the store. The manager quickly shot him a look, and the scalper left.

I have a few theories on how they fixed the lottery. One being that the worker memorizes the first scalper in line's number and then calls it off. Another being that the worker gives a random number and the scalper says that it's his number.

Well, that's my story. Rose Records on 53rd Street is out of business, but that doesn't change the fact that I wasn't in the front row on June 2, 1995.

Lori Rakoczy

S. South Shore

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