Sugar Plum scam: Ballet West saves family night out after Nutcracker tickets turn out to be fake

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Carl Conde was impatient.

With fond childhood memories of attending Ballet West’s performance of The Nutcracker at the Capitol Theater in downtown Salt Lake City, Conde was eager to bring his own children to enjoy the show.

“When I was young we all dressed up and went as a family,” Conde recalls. “I remember going to see the costumes and it was fun, it was wonderful. And my children, I wanted to give them the same experience as me.

He was especially thrilled to have his daughter, Kate, who takes ballet lessons, to attend the world-class performance of the holiday classic.

With his children and parents accompanying him, Conde and his team reached the doors of the theater on Friday and received what is called “a punch”.

The five tickets, which he bought for almost $ 900 from a website he found online, were fake.

The fake banknote on the left, compared to the real banknote on the right. Courtesy of Carl Condé.

Condé hastened to retrieve the receipt sent by email with his order number, but to no avail. He had been duped by a clever scam. The tickets he bought online – and overpaid – weren’t good.

“I was showing them emails and this lady sees the price I paid and she started a little frown. She was blown away by how much I spent, ”Condé said timidly. “I don’t really buy concert tickets and just wanted to have a good time and thought that was the norm. And yes, I spent way too much. She said, ‘Yeah, I don’t have your tickets. It is fraud.

Fortunately, the folks at Ballet West were able to find a place for the Conde family, preventing the big night from becoming a less than memorable disaster. However, the company and Conde are hopeful that Friday night’s ordeal can serve as a warning to those looking to catch the show.

If you want to see The Nutcracker, the staff at Ballet West say the best place to go to buy tickets is the spring itself. Not only can this prevent a “punch” on the door, it could also be the best deal.

“Unfortunately, there have been many stories of people who have purchased tickets online from sites which are not the official source of tickets for the show and who show up at the theater very disappointed to learn that their tickets are not available. not real or that they have significantly overpaid, “says Andrew Goldberg, Marketing Director of Ballet West.” And if they had just come straight to the original ticket source, they would have had real tickets, would have paid a much better price and would have had a much better experience overall. “

Stories like Conde’s happen far more often than the company would like, he adds.

It was a lesson learned for the father of the Highlands, who was grateful that he could still see the show.

“It’s just a beautiful show, our balcony was just awesome and we had a great time,” Conde said.

Her six-year-old ballet student had her eyes riveted on the stage all the time; it was a dream come true for her, says Conde. Her eight-year-old son Calvin, though understandably a little less enthusiastic about ballet, still had several moments of admiration, especially when Clara and the Nutcracker Sleigh flew over the theater during the second act.

“He has gone mad,” laughs Condé. “He was like ‘Look! Did you see him fly? “

Courtesy of Carl Condé

Even though things went well on Friday, Condé is still a little frustrated with the depravity of the scam. He has been in contact with his bank, which is investigating a possible refund of his money. He is also considering contacting the FBI to inform them of the scam website.

“Don’t make any shortcuts,” Conde says as a tip for people looking for tickets online. “I think I trust Google too much and have used a place that you feel like you can trust, but there are people cheating all the time. And I was it was me this time.

Ultimately, Conde is grateful that Ballet West, which is at the heart of its most successful Nutcracker season to date – and can boast of being the longest-running production of the Tchaikovsky classic in the United States. – saved the evening for himself and his family at no extra cost.

“Especially for a company and a beautiful theater like this, you imagine they would like” I’m sorry. That’s what it costs, ”says Condé. “I’m surprised they got tickets and just said ‘Merry Christmas’. No one does that anymore. They just made the Christmas spirit even brighter and more meaningful to me.

Rachel J. Bradford