Most individuals who are not K-Pop fans will never understand the satisfaction that collecting K-pop merchandise brings. K-pop fans would frequently hear from people that they were wasting their money or that they were “crazy” for collecting so much stuff. Well, that’s life but if it makes you happy, go on. You do you and we should not let their opinion hinder our happiness.
I personally am a collector of K-Pop merch, particularly EXO albums and photocards. And when people ask me, “ano bang nabibigayan niyan sayo?,” I always reply, “HAPPINESS!” even though it empties my wallet most of the time. And, buying merchandise of my favorite Idol, EXO, is also one way to show my support for them.
At first, I was satisfied with being just one of the firsts to listen to their released album on different sites, such as Spotify and Youtube. But, when I learned the different joy that collecting merch brings to a K-Pop fan, I became a bit addicted to it. I started buying stuff, and bought all albums just so I could complete their debut album to their present releases, group, and solo album. And I’m telling you, unboxing an album feels like you are opening a treasure box full of gold! I’m not exaggerating, it really feels like it.
The joy of unboxing a K-Pop album
Collecting is addictive; therefore, you must control yourself and know where and who to focus. For my part, I have decided to solely collect EXO albums, so that’s where I’m starting. Every time EXO and its members release an album, I don’t buy it right away and I do not panic buy. I first check my budget to see how many album copies I can get and whether I still have money for other stuff, for my food, and other expenses.
When buying an album, I always opt for regular ETA (estimated time of arrival) since it is the option where it doesn’t cost me a lot. For regular ETA, which I think many K-Pop fans use too, it means your albums will definitely come to your doorstep after a month or two, or sometimes even longer. But once you have it, everything is worthwhile. And before I unbox it, I pray. Why? because I need to get my desired pulls or my bias’ photocards. But it’s okay if I don’t get it because I love all the members. And one thing about SM (EXO’s entertainment agency) their album packaging is on another level as well as the album inclusions. It’s also one of the reasons why unboxing an album is great fun. Many inclusions await you inside.
The joy of getting your desired pull/photocard
Photocard is one of the must-have merch in the K-Pop community. Photocards can come as inclusions in albums or official merchandise of K-Pop idols. This can also be a good investment because some pc collectors will pay a greater price if you have the most sought-after photocards.
Since I only buy sealed albums, the excitement of what photocard will I be pulling excites me as heck. And, getting my desired photocard will make me three times happier. However, the likelihood of getting your desired pull is low due to a large number of people in one group. So, I sometimes do not get the photocard I initially wanted. But whatever photocards I get, it makes me happy regardless.
The joy of seeing your K-Pop collection growing
Collecting is definitely a long process. It takes time, effort, and most importantly money. And to see your collection growing feels like an achievement. Even though it appears to be a waste of money to those who don’t appreciate the happiness it gives. But, your money, your choice. So, it is okay if we keep buying merch of our favorite K-Pop idols as long as we are not exceeding the limit and our means. When it comes to collecting, I never lose track of the fact that it is a hobby meant to bring me joy and reduce stress. I collect at my own pace; it is not a race.
Collecting K-pop merch is undoubtedly enjoyable. However, before making a significant purchase, we should be aware of our priorities and other expenses. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, collect at your own pace.
For every fan who can’t buy or does not have the means to buy merchandise, there will come a moment when you can buy your own, and trust me when I say the wait will be worthwhile. Keep in mind that not owning K-Pop merch such as albums, photocard, light sticks, etc. does not make you less of a fan. There are countless ways to support our idols.
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Judie likes to write about real-life stories because she wants her readers to understand what it's like to be there and feel the same emotions as the characters she is writing about. She has a great eye for detail and the ability to perform well under pressure because she has been a writer since middle school. And she wants to be the writer who can speak truth to power, stand up for the voiceless, expose hypocrisy, injustice, and bring attention to what she believes to be significant.