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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Author of How-To Guide on Scoring Scalped Tickets Scoffs at Giants' Claim Buyers Could Be Arrested

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 5:30 AM

click to enlarge An expert on scalped tickets calls bullshit...
  • An expert on scalped tickets calls bullshit...
Yesterday we wrote about how a sign at AT&T Park warned would-be purchasers of scalped tickets that such an activity is against the law, and they could be jailed. And yet, the police code cited on the sign referred to the need for street vendors to obtain peddler's permits; we could find nothing within the law noting buyers of such goods were liable to be arrested. And the San Francisco Giants' legal team still hasn't gotten back to us to explain their claim.

One person who did weigh in was Fred Salas, author of the book The Poor Man's Guide to Buying Scalper Tickets. He guaranteed that no purchaser of scalped tickets was going to jail -- since San Francisco's codes refer to peddler's permits, would those who buy pots and pans from an unlicensed peddler face arrest? What's more, "If a police officer busts up a transaction, you may lose your tickets you just bought and your money may be taken in as evidence. But who's going to testify against [the scalper]? You. So that's not going to happen," said Salas. "More often than not, they'll just cite the scalper on the spot."

Salas added that Stephen Happel -- an Arizona State economics professor who penned a study titled The Folly of Anti-Scalping Laws -- told him he's never heard of a scalped ticket-buyer being arrested, either. Salas felt that the AT&T Park sign warning passers-by of the law is meant to "intimidate fans who have no knowledge of the penal codes."

The author also offered three pieces of advice for those who wish to avoid buying counterfeit tickets from scalpers:

1. Never purchase tickets while sitting in your vehicle. "You just cant get a feel for the ticket when the guy's got his head in your window. You've got to get a feel for that ticket. You've got to look the scalper in his eyes."

2. If a scalper won't walk with you toward the stadium's gates as a gesture of goodwill to ensure the ticket is legitimate, you shouldn't buy it.

3. Use the smudge test: "On the backs of those tickets, no matter how small the fonts are, they're razor sharp. Lick your thumb, rub the back of the ticket, and if it smudges, don't buy it."

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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