Events in high demand that have limited capacity sell out. See for example the Wellington Sevens or Toast Martinborough, which sold out in three minutes and thirteen minutes respectively. These events sell out as demand far outstrips supply at the price that the seller sets. In other words, many of those purchasing the tickets would be willing to pay much more than they actually do pay in order to attend said event.
High demand events such as these are the capitalist world’s version of queuing for basic food items in a communist shit-hole. When buyers are unable to adequately express their willingness to pay, due to blunt ‘one-for-all’ pricing and an inability of the seller to price discriminate, shortage ensues.
Enter the scalper. Scalpers are typically demonised by the media in New Zealand. However, scalpers simply allow buyers to reveal their true willingness to pay. When a scalper auctions off a ticket on Trademe, buyers are able to pay exactly what they value their attendance at said event at. What ensues is the efficient allocation of resources – scarce resources are allocated to those that value them highest – an admirable economic goal. Contrast this with the lottery that is the current ‘log-in and hope’ method of ticket allocation. Rather than be vilified, scalpers should be commended for their actions that facilitate the clearing of the market!
Indeed, a commentator at the NBR goes further, calling scalpers “unsung entrepreneurs”. I tend to agree with this sentiment.
Disclaimer: I have both scalped and been scalped. Both experiences were highly pleasurable and I encourage you all to try them.