Some Sweet Pirate Love

I am not sure how I am supposed to feel about this…  it’s almost a little… dirty.

As you may have read in this space over the weekend, I had no serious problems in purchasing tickets to a Sox-Pirates game coming up in June.  The website was a lot less crowded than I expected, the transaction took less than five minutes, and I still had the rest of the day to do homework, watch television, and read my Kindle.  And I truly thought that would be the end of my relationship with the Pittsburgh Pirates website.

Until yesterday afternoon.

The Pittsburgh Pirates sent me an email entitled “Special discount as a thank you from the Pirates” yesterday afternoon.  I don’t normally open emails from MLB.com addresses, but there was something about this that intrigued me.  The email opened up to a page with the Pirates logo and it stated…

Dear David,

Special Ticket Offer
To show our appreciation for your purchase of tickets during the first days of availability, we would like to extend an offer for an additional game at a significant discount.

Choose ANY one game between April 9 and May 25 and receive a 50% discount off the price of your tickets.

You can pick your game based on the opponents — including the World Champion San Francisco Giants (April 26-28) or Interleague opponent Detroit Tigers (May 20-22) — or select your game based on a promotion like Zambelli Fireworks Nights (April 9 and May 7), Neil Walker Bobblehead Night (May 21) or Kids Pierogy Beach Towel Day (May 22). The choice is yours.

To take advantage of this special offer, click on the green button and use your personal password supplied below. The password can be used once and is good until 10:00 a.m. on Friday, February 11.

Additionally, we are always interested in your feedback; if you consider completing the short survey presented with the ticket offer, it would be greatly appreciated.

We are looking forward to the season and appreciate your continued support.

I am stunned.

I have purchased tickets from the Boston Red Sox, their website, their automated phone line, the ticket office, the illegal scalpers in Kenmore Square, and the ticket agencies known as StubHub and Ace Tickets.  I have been an active fan for almost 29 years now.  I have never once received a note from that organization thanking me for purchasing tickets.

Yet here I am purchasing tickets from the Pirates to see my beloved Red Sox and I receive an email from them thanking me for my business.  AND they send me a coupon for my next ticket purchase.  I am well aware that the Pirates have to do whatever it is that they can to get asses into the seats.  I get that.  The Red Sox do not.  The coupon isn’t the issue here.  It’s the thank you note.  The Red Sox don’t do that.  Never have.  Probably never will.

At least with me.

Bryna and I are headed to Pittsburgh this weekend.  We booked the trip a few months ago and now the Steelers are playing in the Super Bowl.  So I guess it works out for the three of them.  I am thinking with a weekend to kill in the ‘burgh, I might just head on down to PNC Park and thank them for the nice form-email.

Seriously.

It’s not often that a multi-million-dollar business, possibly billion-dollar business, thanks its customers for their support.  I am living proof that the Red Sox have never thanked me for my die-hardedness.  But here are the Pirates, who just happen to be the Red Sox opponent that weekend in June in my wife’s hometown, and they are thanking me for my one-time, $50 ticket purchase on their website.  So while the entire city of Pittsburgh is getting stupid for the Super Bowl, I plan on heading where I know the crowds won’t be.  I want to make sure the Pirates know how appreciative I am of their appreciation.

The Red Sox could learn a thing or two from their late-June opponents.  How to treat the paying customers is the number one lesson.

David Finer lives in Bennington, Vermont with his wife Bryna and their cat Freddy. He is a life-long Red Sox fan that still counts their 2004 World Series championship as the #2 moment of his life. He has visited 20 MLB stadiums in his lifetime and wants to see all 30 before he dies. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, you can always shoot him an email to let him know what you’re thinking . . . EMAIL HIM.


2 Comments on “Some Sweet Pirate Love”

  1. Kevin says:

    David,

    The simple act of a “thank you” is becoming a lost art, and it’s definitely something that stands out to people when it happens now (which is probably why Gary Vaynerchuck’s new book is about “The Thank You Economy”). The smaller-market MLB teams (and the A’s) are doing a great job with social media and one-on-one customer interaction, something that I hope professional sports on the whole jumps into.

    Great read.

  2. --- says:

    It sounds like a form letter that was sent out to everyone who purchased tickets. Just a promotion to try to sell more tickets. Honestly, chances are if the Red Sox did a similar promotion the response would be “I just spent hundreds of dollars on tickets and I get an email from the Red Sox asking me to spend more on games nobody wants in April & May! They should be glad I’m buying any tickets from that at all–at the prices they charge!” But, yeah, the Pirates do it and they should be honored.


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