Service of Reserving a Hard-to-Get Ticket

April 20th, 2023

Categories: Concert, Museums, Music, Timed Tickets

I think I now know a little about what it’s like to try to get a ticket to a Springsteen or Rhianna concert even though all I wanted was two timed tickets to the “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty” member preview at the Met Museum.

Usually, museum members get to choose from four consecutive days to visit an exhibition at their leisure before it opens to the public. We just show up.  For Lagerfeld, there were only two possible member-only days, a Tuesday and a Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

We learned about the drill a month ago in an email that notified members that timed tickets were required and couldn’t be ordered before noon on April 18.

I marked my calendar, was happy I remembered and then, even though my laptop and iPad were open to the notice, it took me 10 frantic minutes to find a hotlink to reserve a time. By then, I was number 783 in the virtual line and the estimated time to get to the front of it was over an hour. I was advised to look for the next email to confirm my spot and then to keep an eye out for another email that would return me to the line.

And, we were warned to take care, because the place in line would only be kept for a certain amount of time once the museum tagged the hopeful member. I forget how long I had to respond because I didn’t pay attention: I was keeping my eye on my email box.

All went well, I got the day and time I wanted or so I thought until the confirmation showed up with two times: One 10:00 a.m., at the top and the other, which was noon, the time I’d requested. [Photo below].

Once I read the fine print, I saw that the first time—10:00 a.m.–was when the exhibition opened. It was meaningless information on a ticket for noon entry. I wonder how many people won’t read the mouse type instructions and will be confused by the two times on their e-tickets. I predict that either there will be a crowd at 10:00 or the membership office will be inundated with calls.

I got it into my head that I would see this exhibition in preview just as music fans focus on acquiring concert tickets no matter what. I’m curious: Do most people have time to do this more than once or do they hire someone to do the ticket-acquiring for them or do they take days off from work?

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6 Responses to “Service of Reserving a Hard-to-Get Ticket”


    I think this whole process of registering to get into an exhibit in what is supposed to be a cultural institution is ridiculous.It is an extraordinary waste of one’s time and energy with possible totally useless results. What has happened to being able to go to a museum and see an exhibition. It no longer seems that any of the convoluted forms of registration are for disease prevention. They just seem like tacky marketing devices to create a sort of frenesi about actually being able to see a show. Any cultural significance is overwhelmed by the air of desperate fandom for the most superficial of events.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    So well put! And went over my head. I couldn’t understand why only 2 preview days. You answered that!

  3. BC Said:

    In a small town, we get tickets from the box office. One person gets many tickets for a large group going. We have four small theaters in Melbourne with mostly amateur actors.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I love amateur theater.

    I have no problem with signing up online for timed museum tickets. It was the sense of “rush-rush” that I disliked. Martha hit the nail on the head: They may have deliberately created drama as a marketing device to achieve a sense of frenzy similar to what happens when a popular singer comes to town or to the stadium near you.

    Going to the box office–or to the discount TKTS booths in NYC–always a pleasant way to go.

  5. lucrezia Said:

    One day, perhaps, there will be a must see, but that day has yet to arrive. At the risk of sounding too smug for my own good, I’ll worry about it when it comes.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I like to get my money’s worth as a member…so if I can visit an exhibition without crowds or lines, I’m in–that is if I can pass the required time entrance test! I saw that there will be a similar drill for the Van Gogh exhibition that I also would like to see, but at least they are spreading out the required timed entrance for the member preview over four–not just two–days.

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