Ushering Out?: Nathaniel and Britney

Published: September 22, 2011

Today the NBA will cancel preseason games. Most people don’t seem too upset about the loss of the exhibition games, except for what their demise may foreshadow.

The loss of these games, however, is concretely mostly irreplaceable income for many Arena workers. The lockout has already hit many team employees, not all of whom are paid well, but these are hourly workers making low wages.

Arenas will be hard pressed to book events on relatively short notice, so those workers will have to look to other sources of employment if they require that money. This could do even more damage to our NBA experiences.

Ushers are the class of workers I interact with the most. Maybe I’m lucky, but my ushers are top notch. Nathaniel is my usher in the Dome for Saints games. He’s been with us for years . . . he knows us all, knows my buds’ kids, high fives us each and every time something good happens, and was with us through the Vikings game, which basically makes him a third cousin who’s also a neighbor.

Britney is my usher in the Arena. She always has a smile and lets me through while she checks everyone else’s tickets.

As they are both tied to SMG, the loss of the income from the Arena events may lead the moving on of Saints ushers, vendors, ticket takers, etc. These folks are as a part of my New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Hornets experiences as the other fans I share laughs and smiles with, and I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels that way.

What if this causes the departure of Arnold Young (Arnold the Usher, of Section 124 and the I’m In campaign and recently, I do believe, was shown on the Dome screens doing his thing during the dismantling of the Bears)? He’s a fixture . . . I’d hate to see him go.

At any rate, this sucks, but it sucks more for some.

Thank your ushers, vendors (they didn’t set the prices or make the rules), and other SMG folks next time you see them . . . and ask them to hang in there. They keep us full of good food and . . . hydrated . . . keep the aisles clear, and generally help people to enjoy the facility and events to the greatest possible extent. They are underappreciated (many Dome ticket-takers must leave once most of the doors close, for instance), underpaid, and now, sadly, underworked. Thanking won’t fix the last two, but sometimes a kind word can make a difference, at least for a moment. After all the great moments they help us have, they are due.


  1. Hornet Seantonio

    September 23, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    The Hornets have fantastic Ushers, be a shame if they aren’t all back when the NBA finally agrees on the new CBA

  2. Joe Gerrity

    September 23, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Just because I’ve never ranted about this and I don’t think it’s post-worthy…

    When I used to sit in the stands I constantly had horrible experiences with my usher from 2008-2010. She insisted on checking my ticket every single time, even when I went to get food or to the bathroom (which gets annoying since I probably entered my section about 300 times over that period of time. I’m one of those people who loses things in their pockets, and one of those people who likes to get up a lot during games, so this became an ongoing issue.

    At one point (when there weren’t many people in the arena), she actually wouldn’t let me return to my seat without tickets. I had to find a ticket rep to vouch for me. This is after freaking dozens of games.

    Now that I’m media I don’t see her as often, but once in a while I will have to go up into the stands for whatever reason and somehow she has managed to sometimes be the usher for the floor level entrance. Last time I saw her she made me walk about 50 feet out of my way instead of just opening the velvet rope to let me pass.

    If I went to get beer and popcorn, I would tell her that I was doing it, and still she would insist on making me put down my drinks and food to search through my pockets for my ticket to re-enter 15 feet from the concession stand.

    Once, she came down into my section and accused someone who sat near me (a long time season ticket holder) of sneaking in, and with a security guard present insisted that he show them his ticket. Again, this is when the section was at best 2/3rds full.

    She is and was my least favorite part of Hornets games.

    I do realize this is the exception rather than the rule, but I just thought I’d share.

    Every other member of the game day staff has been awesome. I really mean that.

    • Joe Gerrity

      September 23, 2011 at 3:13 pm

      I do love my old beer guy. One time I saw him in public when I was a little drunk and I gave him a hug.

      In hindsight I guess that was pretty awkward…

    • 42

      September 23, 2011 at 4:45 pm

      Joe, I have a confession… It was me. It was always me.

      I was disguised as your usher.

      I tapped the pencil on the desk behind you in school.

      I shook up your keg.

      I live to irritate.

  3. Diane

    September 23, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Thanks 42 for the comments. I agree with the loss of jobs for these people. Its terrible. I am getting really mad about all this and am seriously thinking about not buying tickets this year. Just too much greed now days.

    Joe, I think you really should complain to someone about that usher – that is ridiculous. The NBA wants people to have an enjoyable experience and you must have some saint in you for putting up with all that.

    • Joe Gerrity

      September 25, 2011 at 7:09 pm

      I honestly think that they are supposed to check tickets every single time, and especially if they suspect that someone is sitting in a section that they aren’t supposed to be in. She’s probably just doing her job exactly by the letter. In all honestly I know she prevented people from sneaking in others. I saw it a number of times.

      There are people who abuse the privilege of ushers being friendly to get their friends into better seats, and occasionally that inconveniences people who actually paid for those seats. I’ve seen it a bunch of times. Even just having someone take an empty seat in front of you when they didn’t pay for it can be deemed an inconvenience to some extent. Especially if that person is standing up a bunch.

      One time my drunk acquantance tried sneaking in without a ticket and she caught him. Frankly, I was glad. He was probably going to spill beer on me and my section friends.

      It’s honestly not as bad as it sounded in my first post. It was and is a momentary minor hassle in an otherwise entirely inconvenience free Hornets game. Expecting an usher to trust me with what may be their job isn’t something I (or anyone really) should expect.

      In all honestly I should probably thank her for doing her job, but at the same time it was still really annoying.

      Life is funny that way.

      Is it NBA time yet? I’m so bored.

  4. AllBall

    September 25, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Guys, I have been trying to download Hornets game’s all day. Can any of you E-mail me some good Chris Paul games? Now that League Pass Broadband can’t be used to look at last seasons games I have no way to watch the Hornets besides YouTube. I want to watch full games. Can some one help me?

    • Joe Gerrity

      September 25, 2011 at 8:20 pm

      Unfortunately I can’t. Sorry.

  5. James Online

    September 26, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Like everyone else, the ushers need to use common sense. Joe’s experience is quite unusual, as most ushers do use common sense. There is an interesting sociological term for those that don’t: “judgmental dope.” Decisions are always situational. Those who can’t bend the rules to fit the rule of common sense are “judgmental dopes.”

    Let’s hope for some good news on the upcoming season later this week.

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