Would you buy scalped tickets — to a funeral? Fans who want to bid final respects to legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, who died on January 22, will have a chance to do so this afternoon at his public memorial service. But the outpouring of grief for JoePa didn’t stop the entrepreneurial spirit of some quick-thinking hustlers who tried selling tickets to his memorial service on eBay.
Local newspaper Centre Daily Times reports that free tickets were distributed for admission to the 16,000-seat stadium where the service is being held. Then, it seems, greed kicked in. “It took only minutes more for pairs of the tickets to start showing up on eBay,” the article says.
Penn State’s president denounced the sellers, and eBay yanked a number of ticket listings, some of which had been bid up to the high five figures. Selling tickets that were obtained for free is a violation of eBay’s rules, although at least one pair was sold for around $500.
At least one seller tried to get around eBay’s ban on selling free tickets by throwing in a T-shirt commemorating Paterno, but eBay pulled the listing anyway — although not before bidding had climbed to $80,000.
The Times reported that a user with the handle “mollyswimom” from California felt the need to defend the decision to sell the tickets, which had been bid up to nearly $100,000 at the time. Before eBay shut down the sale, the seller added a comment to that read, in part, “[T]here are much worse ways to make a dollar, judge not lest ye be judged.”