I can't afford to be a Justin Bieber fan
Justin Bieber's store has a line as long as one could see outside of his New York pop-up merchandise shop in SoHo. The two-day shopping extravaganza might, at first look, seem to be a location where fans line up to get one piece of merchandise to remember the day they were part of the Purpose Tour. According to TMZ, the lines were long and people could hardly wait to drop a few bucks picking up items.
Justin Bieber's Purpose Tour has fans like myself elated. Purchasing a souvenir from this New York pop-up merchandise shop in SoHo is a dream of mine, but I do have two slight problems. I live in Los Angeles, and I won't pay $350 bucks for a sweatshirt to be part of the moment. That's more than my car payment.
Mind you, it's not Justin Bieber's crew charging this outrageous price. It's the folks coined as "clothing scalpers."
What fan doesn't want concert tour merchandise?
Everyone has a memory of going to a concert he or she had dreamed about attending. The artist in the middle of the stage performing, the lights, the dancing and when the evening is over, buying a shirt as a memento. That's why the limited engagement pop-up store merchandise is such a big deal.
Fans' wallets are being targeted.
My wallet is screaming for mercy at this point. She knows I want a Purpose Tour sweatshirt — badly. The only way I'll get one is from those folks standing in line waiting for my credit card. Take a close look at the videos and photos coming from the lines outside the New York City store. Maybe 35 percent of those people are fans really buying a souvenir. The rest? Well, those folks are online resellers looking to make a profit off people like me.
Ebay, Instagram and other outlets are places where a $90 sweatshirt bought in a New York City pop-up store has just become a $350 sweatshirt online. The margin of profit when reselling fan merchandise starts around 300 percent and goes up from there.
When I saw this new Justin Bieber sweatshirt online, I was so excited! I could get one like what was being sold at the NYC store. Then my heart stopped. If a sweatshirt costs more than my monthly car payment because I have to purchase from a clothing scalper, I can't buy it.
Fans are ripped off by clothing scalpers
Clothing scalping is the latest way to rip off the fans! Think I'm crazy? Think about it. This is the same formula that ticket scalpers used before entertainment venues got smart. Fans have jobs and can't spend hours in line. The way the pop-up shops are set up, only locals can get there, which creates a strong demand in a short amount of time. Stand in line for hours? Well, you can't have a job and do that on a regular basis. Live in Los Angeles and the pop-up shop is in the Big Apple? Open your wallet.
Resellers have a jump on the fans. They aren't at an office working, and all they need to do is buy new items, take pictures and sell online with their phone apps — and occasionally go to the post office. Even fans who do stand in lines are at a disadvantage. They must compete for merchandise the clothing scalpers are buying for profit.
Clothing scalpers are real
Justin Bieber doesn't make the rules when it comes to his merchandise, but he does offer a look into how pop-up stores have become the scalper's new frontier. The fans are getting screwed for appreciating an artist when we buy an item in the digital realm. The resellers are so bold about ripping fans off with over-the-top markups, they will brag on camera. Take a look at this dude in front of Justin's store talking about his profits.
Why I won't end up with a sweatshirt
I won't be purchasing that new Justin Bieber sweatshirt from an online reseller for $350, and it'll probably go to some teen who has a great weekly allowance. (Yes, I am super jealous.) I just hate this idea of being ripped off for something I really appreciate. Yet, I still am hoping the music world will step in. Clothing scalpers target every music lover. It doesn't matter who you appreciate in the music world; there is someone out there who bought an item, marked it up over 300 percent and is trying to sell it online to you. It's wrong, and as a fan, I'm disgusted by it.