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LETTER: 'Peasants in the bleachers' getting gouged for poor service at Rogers Centre

Blue Jays fans are 'treated/abused while we wait for our turn to empty our bank accounts for a hot dog and drink,' says letter writer
2022-04-12 Rogers Centre
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I took my 10-year-old grandson to his first Blue Jays game. Once I figured out how to get the tickets onto my mobile phone, I stressed over the fact that I would hold up the entire entry process for 40,000 fans until I got us into the dome.

Why can’t they just email my tickets as was the practice in the past? I’m the dinosaur here.

The Rogers Centre staff, including those in the Blue Jay shop, and other ambassadors were great, giving us hints for finding things, getting his first-game certificate, directing us to our seats and other stuff.

Of course, I had to make the requisite pilgrimage to the vendors in the bowels of the Rogers Centre. And, quite frankly (no pun intended), this is where the experience starts to unravel.

Like anyone who attends events in the ‘Dome’, I cringe at the prospect of being gouged for basic services and amenities — $5.50 for a 500-millilitre bottle of water?! (I refuse to buy a beer.)

But it is the way we — the paying customers who offset the exorbitant salaries of the players and owners — are treated/abused while we wait for our turn to empty our bank accounts for a hot dog and drink.

Here’s how things transpired:

Me: ‘Where is the Tim’s that used to be here?’

Staff: ‘Oh, that’s long gone.’

Me: ‘Is there some other place where I can get a coffee?’

Staff: ‘I’m not sure.’

Me: ‘Oh…uh…thanks (I think).’

I look around for the shortest lineup. Every place had at least a 15- to 20-minute wait. In the meantime, the game plays on.

Me: ‘Maybe I’ll get my grandson some popcorn in the souvenir bucket.’

Staff: ‘Sorry, we’re out of popcorn.’

Really??!! How can the Rogers Centre be out of popcorn?!

Me: ‘Oh, there’s a pizza place with coffee on the menu. Excellent. I’ll have two pepperoni slices, two coffees and a water.’

Staff: ‘We haven’t had coffee all day.’

Me: ‘So why is it still on the menu?’

No answer.

Staff: ‘We're out of pizza. You’ll have to wait about five minutes for another pepperoni that’s in the oven.’

Me: OK, I’ll have a slice of cheese.’

Staff: ‘We’re out of that, too.’

Me: ‘So you have given me half my order, and now I have to wait several minutes for another slice, yet three other people have just been given single slices.’

No answer, not that I expected one.

Now my gears are starting to grind.

Lo and behold, while I am waiting… there is a double play and a home run. So I stand in line, watching the replays on the monitor in these caverns of human exploitation.

I was certain that I paid a good dollar to watch a live baseball game… not replays on a TV waiting for some astronomically priced ballpark fare just to give my grandson a positive game experience — which has all but faded from my perspective.

While I lament these events, at least the Blue Jays won. I pondered any positive ways the experience in the concession jungle could be changed. The short answer: No.

As long as professional sports personalities and owners are going to be paid the equivalent of the GDP of some countries, we, the peasants in the bleachers, will be the ones who will pay the bulk of those salaries.

Perhaps we should lock out the teams and managers until there is more equity between our disposable income and their expectations. (Again, I’m the dinosaur here.)

Let my ‘free’ commemorative Blue Jay player bobble-head always be a reminder of this excess, and from my grandson’s perspective, to a memorable day.

Alastair MacLeod, Barrie