How to thrive in the 'treacherous' world of Taylor Swift merch, from a die-hard Swiftie

Taylor Swift at Ford Field in Detroit on June 10. Swift will perform in Cincinnati on Friday and Saturday, with her merch trucks opening Thursday.
Taylor Swift at Ford Field in Detroit on June 10. Swift will perform in Cincinnati on Friday and Saturday, with her merch trucks opening Thursday.
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Taylor Swift has a devoted following of fans who would do anything to spend an enchanted evening at one of her concerts. But the limited release of some of her merchandise can feed a treacherous resell market.

Not only is concert merch limited, but the brief amount of time Swift makes some collectables available creates a scarcity of sought-after items. (Those of us who wanted any Meredith, Olivia & Benjamin Swift merchandise earlier this month never stood a chance.)

But don't worry, Swifties. As a collector of Taylor Swift merch myself, I know places where you can get new and old Taylor items.

So are you ready for it?

More: What to know about Taylor Swift's merchandise trucks in Cincinnati

Where to get Taylor Swift merchandise

Your concert venue

I'll be honest. You'll have to run to the merchandise trucks for any chance of getting the goods you want, especially if you're looking for a particular size.

In Cincinnati, merch trucks will line up on Race Street just before the Andrew J. Brady Music Center. Check out the map below to see where and when you should line up on Thursday or Friday and Saturday.

Some fans, however, will likely be disappointed when they're not among the lucky one(s) to get their hands on the merch they want. For instance, there's a blue crewneck taking fans by storm, and it's almost guaranteed to sell out. So get in line early.

Not in the mood to spend hours waiting in line before the concert? Someone from The Enquirer is prepared to hop in line at midnight(s) to report on what it's like to invest so much time waiting for exclusive concert merchandise. (It's ME! Hi, I'm the problem, it's me.)

Your local record shop

Record Store Day happens twice a year, once in April and again every Black Friday in November. The day celebrates local record store culture, and major musicians release vinyls exclusively for the occasion.

That includes Taylor Swift.

Committing to get one of her limited releases on Record Store Day means getting in line long before daylight.

Last year, I waited in line for five hours to snag a copy of a limited release 7-inch vinyl of “the lakes” and “the lakes (original version).” But not everyone was a mastermind who showed up early. Only 10,000 copies were released worldwide. The store I went to had 10 of them. I saw a lot of sad faces that dayI remember it all too well."

Last year, I got in line at 3 a.m. to snag a copy of a limited release 7-inch vinyl of “the lakes” and “the lakes (original version).” If you didn't get one on Record Store Day, starting bids online are mostly around $230-$300.
Last year, I got in line at 3 a.m. to snag a copy of a limited release 7-inch vinyl of “the lakes” and “the lakes (original version).” If you didn't get one on Record Store Day, starting bids online are mostly around $230-$300.

Record stores are gems more than twice a year, though. Swift surprised record stores with signed copies of  "folklore" in 2020. There are also urban legends online that say she sometimes signs a few vinyls and CDs and sends them to random record stores. (Taylor, if you're reading this, can you confirm this rumor?)

So stay vigilant and long live your local record store.

Get thrifty, my Swifties

Thrift stores are a wonderland where luck, skill and patience converge to get you some of the best Taylor Swift merch.

But I'm not talking about your fancy consignment shops – you're a foolish one to think Swift items can affordably be found there. I'm talking about Goodwill, Salvation Army or any other thrift store that has a … certain smell to it. (No hate, I love thrift stores.)

I've never gotten lucky enough to find any good Swiftie merch there. But people say online they have found the elusive cardigan, T-shirts from eras past and perfume no longer in production.

So flip through the racks, check out the fragrances and forever & always check out the music area. Fans have allegedly found rare CDs or vinyls there.

Lots of options online, but one reigns supreme

If you would've, could've, should've bought merch and didn't, there's one more option – making deals with online resellers.

As a collector, I can tell you that there is a labyrinth of places to buy Swiftie goods online – Poshmark, Mercari and Facebook Marketplace to name a few. But the top tier site is definitely eBay.

First, the items are plentiful. There are pages and pages of merch you just can't find anywhere else. That means more options and negotiations are on the table.

The site will also email you reminders about items you've looked at, when bidding is about to close and when new Swiftie merch is posted. So far, I've had nothing but good experiences with the site and I highly recommend it.

I love the option to get merch I missed out on, but there is a catch and I'm not sure you can tolerate it.

You know that 7-inch vinyl I mentioned? It cost me just a few bucks on Record Store Day. But if you didn't get one, starting bids online are mostly around $230-$300.

That's no hoax. It's the going rate for some hard-to-find merchandise, which means some items will only be ours in our wiiiiildest dreams.

'Call It What You Want'

Now that you know exactly what hoops to jump through for Swiftie merch, you can breathe because I'm going to tell you the 1 most important thing to keep in mind about this love we all have for Taylor Swift.

You don't have to have any merch at all to be considered a Swiftie. That's not the endgame of this fandom and we won't exile you if you show up to the concert with a homemade Junior Jewels T-shirt.

Taylor Swift fans inside MetLife Stadium wait for the singer to come on stage. Swift will be at Cincinnati's Paycor Stadium Friday and Saturday.
Taylor Swift fans inside MetLife Stadium wait for the singer to come on stage. Swift will be at Cincinnati's Paycor Stadium Friday and Saturday.

You can call it what you want, but our fandom is all about the gold rush we feel when we sing along with every song, fearless(ly) dance like nobody's watching and that lavender haze we all feel when we listen to Taylor Swift's music.

That will never change.

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This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Want Taylor Swift Eras Tour merch? How to get great finds