Did you hear about the unfortunate man whose dog ate his tickets for the Masters? He forced his dog to vomit, then pieced back the chewed up tickets as proof of his purchase. That's disgusting. But what can you do when a physical ticket is your only way into golf's most iconic tournament? Or your favorite band's concert, or that touring Broadway show? As far as systems go, physical tickets are as broken as they come.
Here's an idea: Let's just use electronic tickets for everything.
Here's the only good thing about actual physical tickets: They make for good souvenirs... that eventually get swallowed by a pile of unnecessary papers in your drawer, and thrown out in the spring with the rest of the clutter you never look at. No, seriously. Unless you have a fancy binder (that you never look at), you will lose them within a year. Quality card stock has a nice texture to it, I guess, but so do a dozen bunny rabbits. In both cases, keeping track of them isn't worth the hassle.
Here's the great thing about having electronic tickets: If your dog eats the tickets you printed out, you don't have to force Fido to vomit. You can just print out a new set of tickets.
I don't know about you, but avoiding vomit is a general rule I live my life by. E-tickets let me avoid vomit. That's enough for a win on its own. But let's take this even further.
What I really want is to avoid physical tickets altogether. Get them out of my life. For everything that requires a ticket—movies, sporting events, concerts, plays, musicals, flights, buses, trains—there should always be an option to use an electronic ticket. And this isn't some flight of fantasy. Some companies and venues already do this, and well.
When I fly with Delta, I don't have to scour the city for a printer. I don't have have to waste paper to print out something that's inevitably going to get tossed. I just load up the e-ticket on my smartphone, scan it during security and again before boarding. That's it! So easy and so mindless. I don't have to worry about another thing. As long as I have my phone, I'll be okay. My dog won't eat my phone.
So why not make that universal, across all ticket takers and all events? If you have a smartphone, just pull up your e-ticket on the display for entry. If you don't have a smartphone, it's likely you've got a printer you can use to crap out an emailed ticket. Everyone wins, except ticket manufacturers, and if you are one of them I am sorry on a number of levels.
Look, of course you want a memento from the special occasions in your life, many of which came with a price of admission. I get that. But think about what it is, exactly, that you're saving. It's a mercantile totem. An empty form. It's got as much emotional weight as a credit card statement. You want to remember the event? Bring something home from the event. A playbill. A scorecard. Some grass from those lawn seats. For god's sake, take a picture. That's nostalgia. Not a silly piece of paper. [Deadspin]