It was 10 a.m. when my friends and I headed down to Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada for the long-awaited Taylor Swift concert on March 25. After the pre-sale debacle with Ticketmaster’s mismanagement of ticket buyers back in November, thousands of Swifties, the name denoted for Taylor Swift’s fandom, expected no further mayhem interfering with their experience
However, chaos is something that Swifties know all too well. As we crossed the bridge to Allegiant Stadium that morning in hopes of securing the highly-sought Eras tour merchandise, hundreds of eager Swifties were already standing in line before the official merchandise truck located outside the stadium. Considering the truck doesn’t open until noon, the wait time had already amounted to a couple of hours.
As my friends and I joined the line that wrapped around the parking lot, we noticed fans at the front of the line camped out with blankets, water, and heavy jackets. Shortly after we settled down, we made friends with others in line. A woman in front of us gave some advice, Swiftie to Swiftie.
Wearing an oversized beige hoodie imprinted with “Taylor Swift The Eras Tour,” she had already attended the concert the night before, but was in line for merch she couldn’t get the day before. I got in line at noon yesterday, but didn’t get my merch until 6:15 p.m., she said. After six hours in line, much of the clothing was sold out, and the available merch only had a few sizes left. Not to mention, that left her 15 minutes to enter the stadium and find her seats in time for the opening.
Hearing this, we realized that we had at least eight hours of wait time, including the two hours before the truck even opens. Our new friend recommended that we wait in the entrance line at 2 p.m. until the stadium officially opens at 4:30 p.m., giving us a head-start to the merch line inside the stadium.
Following her advice, we left the eight-hour line, came back to the entrance doors at 2 p.m., waited for two hours, and entered the gates. We secured our merch in just 15 minutes.
The unprecedented merch mayhem recalls the ticket pre-sale havoc caused by Ticketmaster’s crash. But what led to such blatant chaos? The number of Swifties wanting tickets and merch has been high throughout all of Taylor Swift’s tours in the past. It isn’t until the Eras tour that Swifties had to camp out in line before sunrise just to get their hands on a hoodie.
Re-sellers are much to blame. After the three-and-a-half concert, my friends and I were pushed forward in a mass of Swifties crossing the bridge from Allegiant Stadium, where many re-sellers were already stationed with boxes and boxes of merch.
Alternatively, many re-sellers turn to online platforms such as Etsy and Depop to sell merch for four times its original price, an echo of how ticket resellers sold extra tickets for thousands of dollars on secondary markets after many Swifties couldn’t get tickets in the pre-scale they were selected for.
A week after Taylor performed in Las Vegas, the merch mayhem continued in Arlington, Texas, where the situation was exposed even further. The “suitcase lady” became infamous among Swifties on TikTok for buying entire boxes of merch to fill up her empty suitcase. Many Swifties at the Arlington concert spoke out on TikTok, expressing their anger for re-sellers who take opportunities away from true fans.
Many users online suggest permitting only concert-goers to wait in line so that re-sellers and native residents could be prevented from taking advantage of merchandise. Although it’s already been a couple of shows in, the Eras tour will continue until August, providing plenty of time to rectify this merch mayhem.