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Hannah Montana-itis can be stressful, expensive for families

Hannah Montana-itis can be stressful, expensive for families

By: By DAVID CRITCHLOW JR. Messenger editor

Hannah Montana-itis can be stressful, expensive for families | StubHub, Hannah Montana, Miley Stewart, Miley Cyrus
Warning: There’s an epidemic spreading wildly among children.
It’s called Hannah Montana Fever and it’s contagious.
I should know. I’ve got two daughters, 9 and 10 years old, and they’re infected, as are most of their friends.
For those of you who don’t know, Hannah Montana is the lead character on a show that appears on the Disney Channel.
It centers on 14-year-old Miley Stewart (played by Miley Cyrus) and takes place in Malibu, Calif. She’s a teenage girl who has a big secret. Only those closest to her know she is living a double life as teen pop sensation Hannah Montana.
If you thought I knew all of that, you’re wrong. My daughters watch the show religiously but, if not for the Internet, I wouldn’t know any of the show’s background.
More background via the Internet: Miley/Hannah lives in a house by the beach with her father, who is played by the actress’ real-life father Billy Ray Cyrus, and her older brother, who works at a surf shop by the beach. Miley’s TV mother died before the show began, leaving the singer-songwriter dad a widower and the sole caretaker of their children. He has also given up his previous career as a famous country singer and is the disguised father and manager of Hannah Montana. Miley’s two best friends also live nearby and attend school with her.
Follow me so far? Me either.
Anyway, each episode deals with life, personal conflicts or problems that are easily solved with lessons learned by the end of the show.
So there you have it — all wrapped up in a nice little show on Disney Channel.
But that’s not the case.
Now Hannah Montana, a.k.a. Miley Cyrus, is a real-life pop sensation, traveling the country and performing at sold-out arenas.
So how big can a teen sensation be? Big enough to rate among stars like Bruce Springsteen and Kenny Chesney when it comes to securing a ticket.
And therein lies one of the problems.
Shows sell out in a matter of minutes, with many of those tickets often ending up at online auctions or in the hands of other ticket brokers. The quick sellout of the Memphis show drew outrage from many fans and was documented in the local newspaper.
My wife and a friend attempted to buy tickets for one of the area shows for their daughters as soon as they went on sale a couple of months ago. No luck. The shows sold out and tickets became available on eBay almost immediately.
Disappointed, but not giving up, they were able to track down tickets on StubHub, a secondary market for buyers and sellers.
Their site makes statements like: “Welcome to StubHub! Where Fans Buy and Sell Tickets™. The Fan’s Marketplace. FanProtect™ Guaranteed. Peace of mind for both buyers and sellers.”
Taking comfort in their claims, the women purchased tickets at a somewhat reasonable price two months prior to the show.
Secure in believing they had the tickets, the women informed their young daughters of the surprise as part of a birthday gift.
As the weeks passed, no tickets arrived, so StubHub was contacted. “Your tickets will be overnighted to you soon,” the StubHub representative claimed.
Another week, another call and another “all’s well” response from StubHub. That is until this week.
Two days before the concert, which was scheduled for last night in St. Louis, the StubHub rep broke the bad news. “We don’t have tickets and can’t get tickets,” he said. “We’re sorry, but we’ll offer you $100 off your next purchase.”
This whole time, I had been on the sidelines, but when I got the call from my highly distraught wife, I tried to comfort her and tell her we would find some tickets somewhere. Wrong.
As any parent of a youngster with a case of Hannah Montana-itis can tell you, the only tickets available are in the hands of scalpers who are asking for a couple of house payments in return. Which means, of course, the concert plans were off.
With my wife out of town, the delivery of the bad news to our daughters fell on me.
“Hey girls, thanks to StubHub, the concert is no longer an option, so how about a movie or some bowling?” I asked.
“But we’ve told our friends at school we’re going to see Hannah Montana in concert,” they said.
“Girls, I know you’re disappointed and upset and so is your mother,” I said. “But life’s full of disappointments and….”
“Whatever,” they said, before I could finish my mini-lecture on life.
In defense of StubHub, it was a generous offer of $100 toward the next ticket purchase — that is if you find a concert or game for which they actually have tickets.
Published in The Messenger on 10.19.07

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