Sunday afternoon turned out to be a horrendous day for me, and not just because the Rockets lost another Game 7. That’s almost inconsequential the way I’m feeling right now.
As you may know from my earlier post, I decided late Saturday night to buy a ticket online from Ticketmaster under a program they call TicketExchange where you can buy tickets from season ticket holders who put their own seats up for sale to anyone who comes to the Lakers’ Ticketmaster Web site, and pick them up from “will call” the day of the game.
So I flew to LA on Sunday morning and everything was going fine. Flight down there. Check. Rental car pickup. Check. Parking. Check. Laptop in hand to be able to take some notes and maybe use the Internet during the game (if Staples makes it available like Toyota Center does). Check.
That’s when things started going south.
When I went to the will call area at Staples, they have this kiosk where you can swipe your credit card to have your will call tickets printed from the machine. I tried doing that on two different kiosks, but it didn’t work. The message on the kiosk screen said go to a will call ticket window staffed by a human. So I did that.
I had my iPhone in my hand as well as my brand new Macbook, and set them down on the counter so I could reach for my wallet and pull out my ID. (NOTE: Because I was attending this game not as part of the official media, they don’t let regular fans come in with backpacks or cases. So I had to carry everything in my hands).
As I was giving my ID to the will call agent, all of a sudden I heard this loud “boom!” on the counter, I looked down, AND BOTH MY IPHONE AND MY MACBOOK WERE GONE!!! I guess the loud sound was someone slamming their hand down on it and running away with it!
I looked behind me to see if anyone was fleeing the scene, but there was no one other than a whole bunch of people standing around who were in line to get their tickets. Then I asked if anyone had seen anything, and no one did. Then I went over to 2 police officers, and they said they didn’t see anything, either, and they couldn’t help me and that I should talk to building security. What a waste. Later I found out these guys were “off-duty” police officers who were hired as private contractors to stand there to deter criminals, but if anything happens, they refer you to Staples security, and you’re essentially S.O.L. WTF??!!!!
So I basically had to become like a crazy man running around like Jim Valvano after NC State beat the University of Houston in 1983, going back-and-forth between the off-duty police, building security, and on-duty officers hoping that the thief was still in the vicinity and could be caught. Meanwhile, every minute that elapsed was giving the thief a better chance of getting away or blending in with the crowd.
It’s a long story on what I tried to do for the next 3 hours trying to find my iPhone and Mac Book, like waiting 45 minutes for a detective to show up at the Staples Center police sub-station who could take a police report.
I couldn’t focus on the game at all and was trying to get the Staples Center security to take a closer look at the video taken from cameras above the will call area to see if they had a recording of what happened. I had to lobby with 4 layers of bureaucracy to find the person who would ultimately watch the tape to see if they could find the perpetrator They wouldn’t let me into their “restricted area” where all of their security monitors are, so I had to trust they were going to be diligent looking at the footage. Meanwhile, I spent alot of time walking around Staples hoping by chance I might come across someone carrying my laptop under their arm.
I’m angry at Ticketmaster for their kiosks not working as designed. That forced me to go to lines with lots of other people around, some with bad characters in those lines looking to prey on unsuspecting people.
All of this explains to you why I couldn’t Tweet during the game on my phone, because I didn’t have the tools to do so! Most of the time I was working hard to get the security guys and police around Staples to work on my case. I could see what was going on during the game through the TVs in the concourse, and because the game wasn’t going well at all, it allowed me to focus on trying to help solve the crime that just happened.
So now I’m in the process of talking to Apple, and the police, about seeing if there’s a way to recover my gear. Luckily I password-protected my machine, so alot of my private data *should* be safe. And of course, the major problem is the data that is on the machine may now be gone forever. Like most people, I hadn’t backed up the data very much. The amount of time it will take to try to piece just some of the data back together will take forever, with no way for me to put it all back together again. Dozens of hours of work are on that machine, as well as lots of vacation photos I recently took.
As you can guess, I’m not too thrilled about writing about what happened in Game 7, partly because I didn’t see much of it, but also because it looks like all the players and myself had awful days. So let’s try to move on without rehashing the angst.
I guess there’s also a part of me that hopes whoever stole my stuff will catch wind of this post, realize the iPhone and MacBook are no good to them since they’re both password protected, and contact me at john @ yaomingfanclub.com, and ship them to me intact with the deal I won’t pursue prosecution after the police identifies the thief on the security camera tape.
So who would have thunk after me seeing almost every Rockets game this season, I wasn’t able to see the biggest game of the year. Looks like I didn’t miss much.