Some thoughts on giving to celebrities

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With KCON happening soon, some people are discussing the expensive things they would like to buy for this K-Pop celebrity or that K-Pop celebrity.

And obviously, if people are going to do that, then that’s what they’re going to do. It’s their money.

Buuuuuuuut….

I do feel compelled to point out a few things about buying celebrities gifts–be they K-Pop celebrities or other kinds of celebrities.

Thing #1: They get a shit-ton of gifts.

Anyone who has ever volunteered or worked at a celebrity event will tell you this–the quantity of gifts is just ridiculous. At Block B’s DC concert alone, there were two HUGE cardboard boxes by the entrance for gifts–we’re talking, much larger than an ordinary dishwasher or refrigerator box. They were both overflowing.

The vast majority of these gifts wind up discarded or donated–they have to be. Every now and again there’s a celebrity who actually keeps all the gifts from fans. These are the people you read about who keep having enormous storage lockers, jam-packed full of crap, turn up decades after their death.

Thing #2: Your gift will not stand out from the crowd.

People find out about Thing #1, and they say, “Ah-hah! I shall buy something absurdly expensive!”

But it’s an arms race, and trust me, in K-Pop people are waaaaay ahead of you. If you ever see a picture of a K-Pop artist leaving, say, an airport looking like they just left a luxury mall–arms filled with bags emblazoned with the logos of expensive stores–guess what? Those are gifts from fans. And every single one of those fans thought that their gift would stand out because it was “nice.”

Thing #3: If your gift stands out because it’s really, really super-expensive, that can lead to bad press.

Thing #4: If your gift stands out for any reason, you might not like the way it gets used.

Poor U-Kwon has fallen afoul of this at least once, and possibly twice. The first time was when a fan made him a bracelet, and he thought it was so awesome that he gave it to his girlfriend! Except that nobody knew he had a girlfriend at the time! But then they figured it out!

The second time is something from Pann, so, you know, 50/50 chance it’s a complete lie: Someone made U-Kwon a doll, and it is now his girlfriend’s dog’s doll.

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True story: Someone gave me a doll, and it is now my cat’s MORTAL ENEMY!!!

ETA: And a Seventeen fan just got a similar dose of reality.

My advice?

Give gifts that give to you! Are you already making lots of paintings and drawings of a celebrity you like? Do you make jewelry and clothing (hopefully not like this)?

Keep right on doing it! Go ahead and give it as a gift if you like! The point is, you’re honing skills that can serve you well in the future. Hell, if you’re determined and talented enough, gifts of art can prove helpful to your career.

Or,

Give gifts that give to someone or something else! Otherwise known as charitable donations. Most celebrities have a pet cause or two (often their agency will tell you what it is).

But my most important bit of advice is: Let go of any expectation that you are going to be reimbursed in some fashion.

Everybody always says, “I’m not trying to buy affection!” but just about nobody actually means it. You need to be ruthlessly honest with yourself about why you’re giving and what you hope to get in return. Because chances are very good that you will get nothing.

There’s nothing wrong with giving under such circumstances, but you need to be realistic about it.

As an addendum: This is all every bit as true for people such as myself who are basically volunteer workers–you can’t expect anything special in return for your time and energy. Some people have to learn that the hard way.

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12 responses »

  1. I was totally trying to buy affection and I thought I’d nailed it with a League of Legends baseball tee for Jaehyo. I gave up hope when I realized BBCs wait outside their dorms to give them designer clothing.

    I hope that tee went to charity…

  2. Commmenting on posts I was too lazy to previously, I think a nice way people who get fan gifts could pay back is by like taking pics of everything they received with thanks (like doesn’t need to be present by present, could be an overview) or like a video of them opening stuff (various youtubers do this) and it’s nice because then you know they got them/looked at them at least, which is my biggest concern.

    (I gave fangifts to Block B when they came to NY, but hearing bad things about Jazzy and knowing they can’t keep all the stuff worries me) (also bragging time, a link to the fangifts I made them ; this plus cute letters I wrote to them with doodles (I had a Korean friend translate for me) and put in a nice mooncake box that was decorated XD but yeah I had spent A LOT of time making them and hope they at least saw them/they weren’t lost into the abyss)

  3. Pingback: Sexual economics: Or, why are celebrities always such lousy lays? | My Other Blog

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