Burning Man Expands Lottery

8 02 2012

by Shirley Jackson

The events of the past year, from the now infamous online ticketing system crash of 2011, to the Great Sell Out only months later, have precipitated wholesale changes to the way Burners acquire tickets to Burning Man. Gone are the days when people could comfortably drag their feet in procrastination until early August, hoping to score a tier one ticket. Also extinct is the never-ending vacillation between joining friends in the dust or ‘taking a year off’’ to do something else because one could purchase a ticket up until the last minute without fear.

Alas, the BORG’s lottery solution to ticketing has been an unmitigated success story. In fact, it’s been so well received by Burners the world over that it’s being expanded to include other areas of this year’s Burn. The lottery will be used for many attractions and services within the city including porta-potties, ice vending, the Center Camp Café, and entering the Temple as well as the city itself.

“If there’s one thing we learned from this process, it’s that randomly selecting winners is the most efficient method of operation possible in situations like these,” said Burning Man founder (and shape-shifting vampire) Larry Harvey.  “As with ticket sales, rewarding people with the opportunity to buy ice or leave letters in the temple in the order they showed up just didn’t seem fair in our eyes, so we’re eliminating the first come, first served (FCFS) system…for everything.”

Marian Goodell, the BORG’s Director of Bidness and Communication, has informed seven people about the new voucher system for getting through the gate. It’s up to all participants to find one of those seven people and ask them how it works. According to Space Man, who heard it from Disco Underpants, who heard it from some guy he met on the Magic Carpet art car, who knows because his playa girlfriend from last year, who is in Ashram Galactica, hooked up with someone who thinks they remember having an IM chat with Goodell about it, explains that 25,000 vouchers will be awarded through a lottery system. Each vehicle can purchase two at an additional cost of $49.95 each. Any vehicle without a voucher will be denied entry into the city whether or not they have tickets.

“Parties with surplus vouchers may use the STEP (Stop Taking Everything Personally) system to circulate them back to Burners in need of one to have their vehicle enter the city,” said Goodell. “We feel it will work just fine because when you’ve got a scarce commodity, hoarding and price gouging are the last things on anyone’s mind.”

“There are people who are obviously going to game the system and increase their chances to buy ice or take a dump while there’s still toilet paper available,” said Will Chase. “But we are going to also expand the STEP system to cover the additional lottery services. People can resell their leftover ice to lottery losers through Center Camp,” he explains. “In the end, we’re confident that everyone will get the ice they need.”

Stacey Pinkus, who relies on ice runs for her camp’s daily happy hour bar, The Eager Beaver, said the effects of the new changes on her camp are negligible. “I see this as a non-issue. Only two people in my camp of thirty got tickets this year, so we aren’t doing the bar anyway.”

Shirley Jackson is an expert lotterologist who has written extensively on the subject. The Shroom retains the right to have Ms. Jackson continue the expose on BRC’s Lottery Fiasco. 

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