A crucial commodity

There should be more ticket issuing booths for the Olympic Games like the one outside the central Panathenaic Stadium. I have heard lots of people complaining about being obliged to visit a specific bank (and official Olympic sponsor) or having to surf the Internet to buy a virtual ticket with virtual money – if they are familiar with the Internet, that is. However, the booth outside the stadium – a poorly designed construction roasting under the summer sun – is hardly a model to mimic. There is no canopy offering shelter to the customer, nor to the sales representatives who, nevertheless, manage to put on a brave face… Urged by my son, I asked for tickets to see the national basketball squad and the US «dream team» but was told that they had all sold out but that the sponsors may return some they had reserved for celebrities… So, I bought tickets for other events. And then I read the terms and conditions again – and got angry. There were restrictions on what one can wear and carry, but the most annoying is related to water: no flasks, and no glass or plastic bottles. All Athens 2004 guides advise visitors to drink a lot of water during the hot August days. So we should drink water but are not allowed to carry it? Even though we may have to sit in a stadium for five hours? Surely this is not the organizers’ way of ensuring that visitors spend their money on the main Olympic soft drink sponsor?