What Would You Wait All Night in the Rain to Buy?

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What Would You Wait All Night in the Rain to Buy?

Have you ever done something out of the ordinary for the chance to buy an item you really wanted? If so, what did you do? What was the item? In the end, did you get it?

If you haven’t had this experience, is there anything that would make you do something like camp in the rain with thousands of other people for a shot at a prized object? Do you know anyone who would? And does the item in question involve Taylor Swift?

In “What Would You Do for a Taylor Swift Sweatshirt?,” Madison Malone Kircher writes about the lengths to which some fans have gone for a chance to buy limited edition merchandise from the singer’s Eras Tour:

Shirley Vogler, a nurse in Tampa, said she had made it to the Eras truck at 10 p.m. the night before. Like other early arrivals, she had been moved from spot to spot by security guards in the rainy predawn hours. At 5:45 a.m., she was among the hundreds of people camped out on a sidewalk next to the six-lane West Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Ms. Vogler, 31, was seated on the ground toward the front, chatting with two other women whom she had befriended.

Fans were able to buy merchandise inside the stadium on each of the three nights that Ms. Swift would perform at the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So why bother waiting all night in the rain? Ms. Vogler, who had tickets to a show, said it was because of what she had seen on social media — specifically, “the TikToks about how bad all of the arenas are with the merch lines and the traffic.”

Several other fans mentioned having seen posts by Bailey McKnight-Howard, one half of the twin influencer duo @brooklynandbailey, an Instagram account with nearly nine million followers. A few days earlier, Ms. McKnight-Howard had put up pictures of herself waiting outside AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

She had also modeled a newly purchased blue crew neck sweatshirt, the most-sought after item among fans. Nearly every person outside the stadium on Wednesday morning was trying to buy one, or two, or as many as they were allowed to have.

There was nothing flashy about it. The sweatshirt had no sequins or embroidery or hidden pockets. It was just your average everyday sweatshirt, with Ms. Swift’s name and “Eras Tour” printed across the front and the tour dates and the titles of her albums on the back. If you closed your eyes and conjured a blue crew neck sweatshirt with some writing on it, your mental image would probably match up with this in-demand item.

One thing that made it special was the fact that, unlike some other tour souvenirs, it was not available in the “merch” section of taylorswift.com. It was also, notably, the rare garment for sale that day without Ms. Swift’s face printed on it. In the weeks since the start of the Eras Tour, fans had elevated this unexceptional article of clothing to cult status.

The apparently limited supply made it even more prized. “The resale on the sweatshirts is $300, Jake!” one fan was heard shouting into her phone. She was correct. The sweatshirt is available on eBay for more than four times its $65 list price.

“I’ve been having nightmares about getting this crew neck,” said Emily Rottkamp, a 20-year-old employee at Disney World. “I haven’t been sleeping.”

Alyssa Misay, a personal injury specialist from Land O’ Lakes, Fla., joined the line before 5:30 a.m. She said her teenage niece had given her strict instructions: “‘The sweatshirt, the sweatshirt!’”

“Social media just makes things a bigger deal than what they are — like, almost unattainable,” Ms. Misay, 36, said. “Like, if you don’t have it, you’re not cool in school.”

Nearby, Venisha Jardin, a sophomore at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel, Fla., wore a hooded plastic poncho to protect her from the rain. In the hours before sunrise, the glow from her phone illuminated the area around her. “I’m missing school for this,” she said.

Students, read the entire article to find out what happened when the merchandise truck finally opened. Then tell us:

Students 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public and may appear in print.