San Diego Padres' "Loaded Tickets" Are Actually Just A Load

Jonathan purchased the heavily promoted Padres’ “loaded tickets” for his family, each costing $40 which includes a $20 credit toward concessions at the park. The family arrived at Petco Park where confused employees told them to wait in several different lines because nobody knew how to process their tickets…strike 1. During the game, Jonathan thought he would go and redeem the concession money on his tickets by getting some food for his family. However, the food-stand employee balked at Jonathan’s loaded ticket, so Jonathan spent $40 out-of-pocket for food…strike 2. After a month of phone tag and a half-dozen calls, park officials refused to compensate him for the money he spent on food at the park…strike 3, yer out. His letter, inside…

Hi there,

Stumbled upon your site a few months ago and was greatly relieved to see that we little folks could actually do more than crawl through customer “service” hell with little satisfaction. Here is my regrettable story:

I recently moved my family to San Diego and decided to attend a Padres game. When I called I was told about a new promotion called a “loaded” ticket deal. You spend $40 per ticket and each ticket comes with $20 in concessions (of course you have to spend it all on the same game day). Sounds too good to be true, right? Well it is.

After jumping on those tickets, I was also talked into prepaid parking. They neglected to mention that it was nearly ten blocks away ( in a bad area of town and not worth the $10 plus service charge at all). After a nice long wait in line at the window I was informed that the front gate could issue my proof of prepaid parking but not my “loaded” ticket. No one could explain why, I was simply directed to wait at the turnstile and swipe my credit card but of course this did not work either. We were rerouted right back to the same ticket window where I received my proof of parking, to wait even more and watch the same group of people scratch their heads and make phone calls in an attempt to figure out the issue.

Finally finding our seats in the second inning, my wife asked me to head to the concession stand and get some food because we were now tiered, hungry, and in unpleasant moods from the long delays. Since my goal of being in our seats before the first pitch was utterly destroyed I figured I could make things a little better with some beers and decent ballpark food. After waiting in line for the entire third, fourth and fifth innings (not the three up and three down kind either) the gentleman at the register handed me our food and drinks and informed me that our tickets were not loaded at all! I fork over $40 more dollars and upon returning to my wife and daughter we decided to go to guest services to make a complaint and then leave.

Of course I had to leave three messages with different departments before receiving a call back. Then we played phone tag for over a month (six or more calls)to be told that they could not offer me any money back. They would only offer us some more tickets but no apology, explanation or money back on the concessions.

So if you live in or near San Diego and like baseball, don’t forget the LA Dodgers, Oakland A’s and LA Angels are just a stones throw with cheaper prices!

Jonathan [redacted]

We understand why you are in a foul mood, Jonathan. We usually watch baseball on television while lounging in our underwear and now we remember why. It’s dehumanizing to be treated like human cattle while at the mercy of incompetent employees. Considering the error with your tickets, we can’t understand why Petco Park won’t step up to the plate and reimburse your food money.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Greeper says:

    There is no state like CA with government agencies willing to punish such offenders. You can probably even file a complaint online with the AG.

  2. HalOfBorg says:

    I just love it when a store or someplace has a special promotion going on – and no one working there knows ANYTHING about it.

  3. backbroken says:

    Personally, I blame Barry Bonds.

  4. Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

    I probably would have been “that” customer who refused to budge (and certainly refused to pay for the food) until someone from Guest Services showed up bodily to handle the situation. But I also understand, after all that time, just wanting to get your food and finally sit down.

    They owe this guy more than just tickets to another game. They basically ruined his day out and took his money under false pretenses (or, if I’m being charitable, without training anyone at all on how to handle the loaded ticket promotion).

  5. azntg says:

    This year is the first time I’m actually going to any MLB game, but I finally found out how they manage to stay in business aside from television/radio contract. They like to gouge the paying customer who go to the stadium to see the game in person.

    In New York City, the Yankees are worse than the Mets in that sense. At least the Mets have some affordable tickets ($5 a pop) that are actually purchasable by anyone that shows up. The Yankees on the other hand, good luck trying to get any ticket cheaper than $30 (just the plain ticket. Nothing special otherwise) unless you’re willing to pay through the nose for a season pass just to get those cheaper tickets. Boo!

    If it makes you feel any better, I still did get tickets to a Yankees vs Padres game for later this summer ($10 a pop… not too bad). I’ll be rooting for the Yanks on your behalf ;-)

  6. MikeB says:

    In this case you may want to send this to your local TV news. They may be able to shame the Padres into giving you your money back.

  7. heavylee-again says:

    Who did Jonathan actually purchase these tickets from? The Padres themselves, or a 3rd party ticket vendor? If the latter, they could have been lying about such a promotion.

  8. Nighthawke says:

    Cattle, Petco.. Priceless metaphors.

  9. CubFan81 says:

    @backbroken: Nah, this ones all Jim Edmonds fault.

  10. LionelEHutz says:

    Well, the Padres suck on and off the field — always have, always will.

  11. ryanv1978 says:

    Oakland is more than a stone’s throw away FYI.

  12. stephenjames716 says:

    this guy deserves some primo seats for another game and free food and beers.

  13. That-Dude says:

    @heavylee-again: []

    There is a bases loaded promotion . . .

  14. humphrmi says:

    @azntg: Cubs fans would chop off extremeties for $30 tickets. At least they treat us nice at Wrigley Field… they earn the name “Friendly Confines”.

  15. bravo369 says:

    @azntg: I got yankee tickets for the 2nd game of the season for $5. it sounds like no one knew of this promotion. I know NJ nets have special lines for ‘VIP’ ticket holders. Maybe he was supposed to go to a certain concession stand. I have seen this type of promotion done before in the NY area but never got it. Either way, they probably did a bad job of conveying the information to him

  16. r081984 says:

    If he paid with credit he needs to file a chargeback for everything.

    Here is the article on the Padre’s website about the loaded tickets:

    All you do with the loaded ticket is have the consession worker scan the barcode on the ticket and it pays for the food.

  17. grouse says:

    Local media is probably a good idea.

    Then small claims court.

  18. AstroPig7 says:

    @heavylee-again: It’s plausible, but since the front gate personnel had problems processing the ticket, it’s reasonable to think that something was going on. A lying representative wouldn’t account for that.

  19. Pop Socket says:

    Plenty of fine print on that promotion:

    The $20 in added value is good only on tickets purchased through this promotion. The added value can be used towards the purchase of food or merchandise at all Toyota Terrace Level fixed concession stands and merchandise outlets as well as Club 19 during the game printed on the face of the ticket. The added value on the ticket and any portion thereof, is not redeemable for cash. Any remaining value on the ticket which is not used by the conclusion of the game on the ticket may not be used, redeemed or in any way replaced….

    Yadda, yadda, yadda.

  20. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Calculate the difference between regular tickets and the loaded ones and do a partial chargeback: you didn’t get any services above a regular ticket.

  21. azntg says:

    There was definitely a cockup. So the “loaded tickets” promotion is a legit one and somewhere from the Padres end, there was a massive screwup.

    I can’t really imagine the customer screwing up much in this case, since it’s just a matter of paying for the tickets and showing up.

    @humphrmi: Yeah, I know there are hardcore baseball fans out there who’d kill to get some good tickets. And I know a couple of people will kill me just for rooting for both the Yankees and the Mets (admittedly, I’m a bit more partial to the Yankees, but whatever).

    @bravo369: I knew about the $5 promotion on certain game days for the Yankees too.

    Unfortunately, I was too slow to get those on the first day the tickets went on sale for the general public. I forgot that the Yankees have a slightly higher audience range than the Mets.

    I guess I’ll settle for ~$10-11/ticket for a once in a lifetime experience that I’ll be sharing with my younger brother and a few of my close friends. I guess I won’t know for sure until I get there, but hopefully it’ll have been worth busting my poor college student budget for.

    Can’t say anything bad to something that can only help maintain good relationships and to cheer for one of our favorite teams.

  22. Gari N. Corp says:

    Baseball team owners most decidedly do not seem down with the internet. A local news consumer squad? Yeah, that’ll do the trick.

  23. johnva says:

    I agree, chargeback is the way to go here.

  24. joellevand says:

    I’m going to second that “go to local media” thing. That sucks. What a waste of your time!

  25. backbroken says:

    @CubFan81: Then problem corrected!

  26. bflosue says:

    Absolutely do a chargeback for “services not received”.

  27. LosOsosdeChicago says:

    You could probably get $20 worth of concessions out of the San Diego Chicken.

  28. kborer22 says:

    went to a braves game earlier this year, $50 for tickets, included “all you can eat”, same deal, there was a specific line we had to wait in, probably spent a good 3 innings in line. Then to top it off you could only take 4 items. This resulted in one of my friends getting his money’s worth, by eating 10 hotdogs! fries, a bugrer, and desert. Needless to say, it all came back up in a trash can right out side of Turner Field, in which the rest of us got our money’s worth!

  29. The truly shameful part of all of this is that you wound up having to watch the Padres. Yuck.

  30. Joedragon says:


    You can get tickets for cubs games in Milwaukee for less then that and they have more parking up there.

  31. Sandburgh says:

    Gotta raise money to pay off Edmonds somehow…

  32. Blaxabbath says:

    The Pads suck anyways.

    Go Dbacks!

    Though I did end up throwing a fit at the concession stand during last years NLCS.

  33. hometheaterlvr says:

    Two summers ago I went to Minute Maid Park to watch my Astros take on the Texas Rangers. Sitting in the upper deck behind home plate, my buddy and I were pretty happy because our beer and baseball outing was awesome. Then the Rangers’ mascot, Rangers Captain, came by. He used our aisle to move across the section and ended up spilling my beer. I had to wait 20 minutes and talked to a bunch of people, but I finally got a replacement beer after being told many times they couldn’t do that. But I guess they all felt bad that $8 beer is worth fighting for.

    Not to mention that I had to explain, “Rangers Captain spilled my beer, and I would like a new beer.”

    I hate the Rangers. And that damn horse-man Rangers Captain.


  34. Byzantine says:

    A similar thing happened to me at Yankee stadium. My father and I had tickets that entitled us to seats, one hot dog each, and one soda each. When we tried to get our hot dogs, we were told we cannot get hot dogs, because they ran out of the promotional hot dogs. When asked why we couldn’t have one of the hot dogs that were right behind the counter, we were told that they were different sized hot dogs and we couldn’t have them.

    My dad tracked down a managerial type person and complained. The guy went behind the counter and made sure we got our hot dogs.

    Just more examples of complete and unnecessary stick-in-the-muid policies meant to treat loyal paying customers like crap.

  35. Byzantine says:

    @azntg: I’m not defending high ticket prices, but they might be higher because of the huge demand to see the Yankees.

    If the Yanks bottomed out and couldn’t win more than 75 games a season, watch how cheap tickets would get.

    It’s supply and demand. Stop buying game tickets, and the prices will go down.

  36. sicknick says:


    Amen. I live in Detroit, and this is the exact reason the Lions still have expensive tickets when they are arguably the worst long-running team in the NFL. The games were selling out up until last year, and mostly that was on the side of the economy, not the team.

    You want cheap tickets? Stop going to the games.

  37. DirtyKurt says:

    Just another kick to the nuts to those of us who want to watch their shitty team. Instead of the usual professional slow moving concession stand workers, they have different charity group volunteers working. So, you get Ned Flanders back there not having a clue about what the fuck he should be doing back there while you miss three innings. On the bright side, it’s three innings of Padres baseball, so we got that going for us, which is nice.

  38. theblackdog says:

    @Byzantine: That still doesn’t explain ticket prices for the Washington Nationals.

  39. RAREBREED says:

    I bought tickets for a Mariners game the day of, and they had a similar deal where I got free hot dogs and sodas with a coupon. Everything worked fine. Padres just suck.

  40. Death says:


    Exactly. A few years ago they couldn’t pay people to attend a Boston Celtics game. Now tickets are unattainable.

  41. @Pop Socket: So the concessions guy just needed to point him to the correct stand. And couldn’t even do that. Nicely done, Padres.

  42. ryanphips says:


    ‘For $45, ticket buyers get a seat in the Right Field Pavilion and $20 of credit toward concessions and/or merchandise. A bar code on the ticket streamlines the purchases of food, beverages or souvenirs. Instead of fumbling for cash, simply present the ticket. A bar code will be swiped to complete the transaction. Easy, and less time in line.”

    i love that last line….

  43. Rajio says:

    dehumanizing to be treated like human cattle

    What an odd turn of phrase. I suppose its humancattleizing?

  44. Gordon2 says:

    The clubs have people whose job it is to “check in” with season ticket holders every so often; just to see if they’re happy. I was at the Rangers’ park last year and one of these employees sat next to me while waiting for the ticket holder to come back. Nice girl; she told me that, for example, if this guy wanted better tickets for a special game, she’d get them for him.

    What happened to this guy, though, seems to be a symptom of a club that doesn’t train its workers very well.

    Screw MLB. Come to the Twin Cities; skip the Metrodome and the Twinks, and come to a St. Paul Saints game. Party in the parking lot before; great seats for under $10 (some games you can actually sit *in* the outfield–inside the fence!). The food is good, and cheap. And if there’s a problem, there’s someone in a green shirt nearby who will solve it for you.

    Oh yeah–you can get a massage from a nun. Sister Rosalind has her chair over by the home dugout.

  45. justinleon says:

    @azntg: Sadly $5 a ticket will become a thing of the past when the new Shea opens up. (I refuse to call it Citi Field since its named after one of my student loan lenders)

    The new field will have 10,000 fewer seats and more of them will be on field level meaning they will have free reign to overcharge us. Maybe at the rate the mets are playing they will have to give away tickets soon.

  46. the510 says:

    I’m not quite sure what the complaint is. The rules on the ticket posted by another user seem clear. Can’t feel too bad for you man, especially since you failed to include the contractural language on the freakin ticket in your post. Petco is still a great park, even if the Padres can be just a tad slow to watch.

  47. christoj879 says:

    Another vote for chargeback. If you want to make a stand, AG or local news :-)

  48. BigElectricCat says:

    I’d just like to say that I really enjoyed the pic of the mascot ‘eating’ the bewildered-looking baby.

    Good on ya, Consumerist!

  49. trujunglist says:

    You should call KUSI or whichever station it is and get that scam buster dude. I’m sure he’ll go to bat for ya, especially since the Padres suck.
    “Padres trying to get more money to not suck complete ass? We have a story for you!”

  50. Me - now with more humidity says:

    Makes me appreciate our AA team all the more. Brand new HOK stadium. Cold beer at reasonable prices. And $5 general admission tickets to a grassy area on the left field line with a HUGE playground for the kids. Go Suns!

  51. mikelotus says:

    yea, pet cemetery park.

  52. HOP says:

    we attend our local minor league team, they play in a nice stadium and the admission is right….also, the parking is free…the players play their hearts out(cause they wanna play in the majors)….the food is a litle expensive,but all in all,it’s a nice experience…..

  53. SloppyChris says:

    Petco has $5 seats in the grass as well.

  54. SloppyChris says:

    When did this occur? Must have been at least a month ago since Jonathan mentioned he’s been playing phone tag that long. Since the promotion started this year, that puts the day in question on May 12th at the earliest.

    Except the team wasn’t in town then, that means the absolute latest this could have taken place would be April 6th at home versus the Dodgers, about a week into the season.