The Taylor Swift ticket presale drama brought millennial and Gen Z offices to a halt

By Jo Constantz, Bloomberg

Thousands of Taylor Swift fans attempting to buy presale tickets for the star’s upcoming tour meant work grinding to a halt for a certain cadre of millennials as demand overwhelmed Ticketmaster. Swifties across the country moved meetings, blocked off time on their calendars and stopped responding to work-related messages as they obsessively checked their status in the queue.

The presale frenzy, originally set to take place at 10 a.m. local time across the US, created a major predicament for working fans, especially those whose bosses simply do not understand. Many chose to work from home with both personal and work-issued laptops up and running, with one eye on Zoom meetings, the other on Ticketmaster. Some bit the bullet and told their bosses they wouldn’t be working at all Tuesday, while others deputized a trusted friend, partner or family member (or even college professor) to get the job done.

Registration for the superfan presale ended last week, and those who got an access code unabashedly set out to revamp their calendars.

“Sorry, everyone… I will be five minutes late for our meeting because I need to get Taylor Swift tickets,” May Huang, an account executive at Highwire PR, a San Francisco-based communications firm, wrote to her team on Slack last night. “And then this morning our VP on the team Slacks and is like, ‘Oh, me too, actually. So let’s just push it,’” Huang said in an interview.

When West Coast sales were postponed to 3 p.m. local time, she and her coworkers blocked that time off on their calendars, too.

And while, theoretically, fans should be able to quickly secure their tickets and get on with their days, the reality is that the presale process has been painful, with many stuck waiting on Ticketmaster for upward of an hour in queues.

Read More: Taylor Swift Crashes Ticketmaster as Fans Scoop Up Presale Tickets

For Huang, the entire affair has consumed her whole day: “How can I focus on anything else?” she said.

Slack channels everywhere have gone haywire. At Vox, “writers are melting down because they are getting shut out of taylor tickets and i’m honestly worried,” tweeted Alex Abad-Santos, a senior correspondent at the online publication. At Highwire PR, the Swiftie Slack channel #taylortalk has been flooded with panic and info-sharing. Employees there frequently use emojis on Slack to signal their status throughout the workday — a lightbulb for heads-down focus work, a red “X” for busy, a palm tree for vacation days. Today, those on a mission to lock down their tickets put a Taylor Swift emoji next to their names to give others a heads up.

Meanwhile, a presale for Capital One customers originally scheduled for today was pushed to tomorrow, and that’s left some Swifties irate. “What about those of us who took off work today and now can’t participate in presale that have been moved to tomorrow??” one fan tweeted in response to the announcement.

The whole ordeal has forced people to make hard choices. Tianna Groelly’s first day at her new full-time job was scheduled to begin at the same time as the presale, presenting a painful dilemma. “I work in the music industry, maybe they’ll understand?” she joked in a TikTok posted Monday.

Groelly’s brother and sister-in-law were able to get the tickets for her — though she had to run to the bathroom to forward additional confirmation codes to them to avoid being seen on her phone as a brand new employee. Other than that, day one went well: All told, she said she was more nervous for the presale than her first day.

Ultimately, things worked out for Huang, too. Even as tickets vanished as she clicked on them, she managed to snag three for the Las Vegas show in March on her birthday.

“I feel lucky that my colleagues all get it,” Huang said. Many of her coworkers are Gen Z and millennial, and most are women. “I’m like, thanking God that I had a meeting-light day, because if I’d had an important call today I don’t know what I would have done,” she laughed. “A lot of companies give people the day off to go vote. But no one’s going to give you the day off to get Taylor Swift tickets.”

A warning for bosses: The general public sale ticket sale is slated for Friday, which may very well bring another round of chaos.

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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