I’ve spent a lot of energy this year thinking and writing about BTS merchandise. Now, just in time for the holiday season, I’m putting my money where my mouth is and buying some of it. Since I’m willing to waste money but not too much money, we’re heading to Wish to get this thing done. Think of this article as a holiday guide that is actually useless because everything’s crap and won’t make it in time for Christmas since it’s shipping for cheap from China.
I feel I should mention that Wish is a little dubious. You pay low prices for goods that are pretty much always knock-offs and probably aren’t sourced from factories that treat their employees ethically—costs are being cut somewhere. On the other hand, it’s an option for people who don’t have a lot of spare income to spend on non-essentials, and some of the items we buy from ‘regular’ stores and online retailers could be coming from those same factories. Plus, with K-pop merch in non-Korean countries, there can be issues of access and prices being jacked up. Ethical consumption can be a tricky topic, but it’s important to consider when shopping.
With that out of the way, let’s look at the sketchy purchases I made. Overall, I bought 14 items. The majority of the stuff is actually BT21 rather than straight-up BTS because there’s just more of it on Wish. But it could also be because I’m a sucker for cute characters. Most of the items were in the $1-$3 dollar range, but I did go for one (relatively) pricier thing. Prices change on Wish all the time, so what I paid is pretty arbitrary.
To get the full Wish experience, I split my order between 9 priced items and 5 free items. Through the magic of math, I’ve found that the free items aren’t really free, but they aren’t that much of a rip-off either. You’re probably just paying what a regular listing would have been; the cost is just hidden in inflated shipping fees.
My not-free items (excluding the expensive-ish one) ended up being cheaper on average (by about $0.50). This may be because I stuck to really cheap stuff, but the free stuff I picked likely would have been listed at around $2. I’m guessing the difference comes from rounding up the shipping fees on the free items, since shipping totaled a clean $15 for them and a more messy $11.44 on the priced ones. Taking that into account, I feel like I can pretty definitely say that buying the free listings didn’t save me money.
Wish’s use of ‘free’ listings is definitely a sneaky way to get you to buy items you might normally hesitate about, but I don’t think I would call it a scam. Okay, maybe I would call it a scam. It’s just not the worst scam out there. It’s a way to get you to buy more by making you think you’re paying less, when in reality, you just aren’t. As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free BTS keychain.
Now, let’s talk about some free BTS keychains.
BT21 Pencil Case BTS Cosmetic Bag Cartoon Storage Bag Lovely Fashion – $3
Let’s start at the beginning—I have it on good authority it’s a very good place to start. This is the item that sparked my interest in this wacky, money-wasting experiment, and it caught my eye with one simple word: hippo. When it came to creating item listings for the separate BT21 characters, I guess the seller couldn’t be bothered to learn their names, so they went with one word descriptions. And boy, did they knock it out of the park. Chimmy is dog, Tata is love, and everyone’s favorite mask-wearing horse Mang is hippo. How could I resist?
This is an item I’ve actually been using pretty regularly. The bag has a nice wide opening, which makes it a useful cosmetic case, and it holds quite a bit. Plus, there’s an adorable picture of a hippo, just as promised. That being said, the construction isn’t high quality. There are a lot of loose threads, and something has caused some of the purple dye from the faux leather to bleed onto the white canvas in one place. I’m not expecting this bag to last a long time, but for less than $5 after shipping, it gets the job done.
Is it worth it? Yes.
New Kpop BTS Bangtan Boys BT21 Cell Phone Metal Ring Stand – Free
I’m not sure why I got this. I’ve never used a ring stand or pop socket on my phone, and I have no plans on starting now. I guess this seems like a nice one. It’s metal, and it looks like the listing. I went with Mang because he’s standing on his head, which is fun. I’m not putting this on my phone case to check if it sticks.
Is it worth it? For me, no. For others, maybe.
Kpop Bts 6Th Anniversary Festa Acrylic Keychain Jimin Jungkook Figure Keyring – $1
Even though the listing directly calls out Jimin and Jungkook, I went with the J-Hope option because look at it. I’m probably making it pretty obvious who my bias is with my selections so far, but I swear there are some non-J-Hope items in this haul.
This is a keychain. It has J-Hope on it. What more should I say? It has two types of clasps, so that’s a plus. It’s kinda big and probably wouldn’t work on most people’s actual keys. My keys are already huge, so it would probably be a bad idea to add this. Do I care? Nope. Look at it!
It it worth it? Yes.
40pcs/lot BTS BT21 sticker toys Bangtan Boys waterproof and oilproof computer glass backpack fashion stickers gifts – $1
These are stickers. They stick to things. I’m not sure what oilproof means, but I’m betting they aren’t that. However, they just might be bulletproof. Probably not.
Is it worth it? If you want stickers.
Kpop BTS Cartoon Car Keychain JIMIN Tata Acrylic Keyring Korean Key Holder Bag Pendant Gift – Free
Despite the listing literally yelling ‘JIMIN’ at me, I went with Koya. See, I don’t always pick Mang. I have a BT21 keychain that is official merchandise, and it cost about $13, which I admit is pretty outrageous for a hunk of plastic you hook to your keys. This one is a lot cheaper; the ‘shipping cost’ was $4. The official one is Chimmy (look, more not-Mang!), so I can’t make a direct comparison to character design, but Koya looks good. The plastic clip seems cheap, and I wouldn’t trust it to last very long. The real one came with a metal clip and much sturdier ring, so that’s something to think about. I don’t know why there’s a bell on the Wish one. Extra pizazz?
Is it worth it? If you want at BT21 keychain and don’t want to drop more than $5, sure.
New Kpop Bt S Bangtan Boys Bt 21 Comfortable Cotton Socks Cute Cooky Chimmy Tata Mang Shooky Koya Rj Breathable Skateboard Short Socks – $2
I got pairs of socks from two different listings that had the exact same, near nonsensical title. The first pair had lots of little RJs on them. They are very cute. In general, I prefer low ankle socks. Even though these are listed as short, they aren’t as short as I usually prefer. Still, they look like the listing, so I knew what I was getting into.
Is it worth it? Yes, they are perfectly adequate socks.
1 PC KPOP BTS Key Chain BTS X UNICEF Love Myself Key Chain Fans Gift – Free
This seems like a legitimately nice keychain. The ring is sturdy. The stitching looks nice. It should be a win, but why does the listing say UNICEF? That really worries me. Is this a knock-off of a product made to support the actual LOVE MYSELF campaign? If I bought this through official channels, would the money have gone toward helping kids who have been victims of violence? Am I a terrible person?
Is it worth it? No, it made me feel bad about myself. That’s the opposite of what BTS wants!
New Kpop Bt s Bangtan Boys Bt 21 Comfortable Cotton Socks Cute Cooky Chimmy Tata Mang Shooky Koya Rj Breathable Skateboard Short Socks – $2
For my second pair of socks, I went with Shooky. Instead of being covered with faces, this design had one embroidered, sentient cookie at the ankle of each sock. How restrained. One of the Shookys looked great; the other had some issues with his right eye. That’s not ideal. I like the light blue color, and it wouldn’t be an issue to wear them since no one is going to see the tiny, defective eye on my ankle. But I would know it’s there. Isn’t that what truly matters?
Is it worth it? Maybe not, these are slightly less adequate socks than the RJ ones.
2019 New Kpop BTS BT21 Document Bag Cute Cartoon File Folder CHIMMY COOKY TATA Document Folder School Office Stationeries – $1
The listing for this was so cute, and hey, I’m an adult. I have papers; I can use a document file. I couldn’t resist the Chimmy one, but I almost also ordered RJ too because it was adorable. I’m glad I didn’t give into temptation. This thing is cheap. It came crumpled and folded. I had to press it with books to make it usable. There also was a tiny spot under Chimmy’s nose where the color had been scraped away. It really distracted me. I tried to fix it with some white acrylic paint, but it didn’t work. I guess, it does its job and holds papers, but this was the biggest disappointment of the haul.
Is it worth it? Definitely not
Kpop BTS Bangtan Boys Love Yourself Card Photo Crad SELECT Card – Free
There’s a typo in the item listing, so that’s not super promising, but the seller was offering these for free, so who am I to expect that level of quality control. There were a couple options for the theme of photoshoot, and I went with pizza for obvious reasons. I don’t have a photo card collection, so I don’t know if these are somehow worse than normal ones. They seem fine. They are cards with photos of BTS on them. What more could I want? Well, more pizza would be nice. It’s a subject I’m passionate about, and RM is the only one pictured with the actual thing. The others aren’t embracing the theme, and that’s disappointing.
Is it worth it? As photo cards, I guess. As pizza merch, definitely not.
1 Pc 5 Styles Kpop Ballpoint Pen Bangtan Boys Stationary Gift Black Ink 0.5Mm Gel Pen With Cute Photo – $1
I got this because I thought I might immediately break it, which is what everyone secretly wants from a Wish haul. I have not broken it, so that was a bust. Ba dum tss. I went with the option that’s a group photo, but I don’t really understand the point of having a pen with a little banner in it. Is it for when I’m writing something then suddenly get the overwhelming urge to look at a photo of BTS? Maybe, it’s for people to secretly share their K-pop allegiances with others. Like you flash the banner at people you suspect stan the same group as you. If I stan multiple groups, do I need several of these? What if I mess up and flash the BTS banner at an obvious EXO-L? Anyway, the pen works. That’s a plus.
Is it worth it? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Note: It’s impossible for one person to take a photo of the banner extended. You need someone to hold it out or it will immediately roll back up. I was alone when I took photos, so enjoy a partial view of the banner. This pen shouldn’t have assumed I have friends.
9Pcs/Set Kpop Bts Bangtan Boys Album Love Yourself ‘Answer’ Hanging Exquisite Flag Hanging Flag Poster Decoration for House – $2
The listing accurately spelled exquisite, so I was instantly intrigued. Also, the banner was available in my favorite BTS photoshoot: Love Yourself: Answer S Version AKA, the guys wearing great outfits while posing with disembodied hands and eyeballs. Needless to say, I was sold. Most of my banner experiences are homemade, and honestly, it was cheaper to buy this one premade. It’s also pretty nice. I mean, it literally just comes with twine to hang it with, but there are worse things.
Is it worth it? Yes, I can’t think of anything I’d rather hang on my wall.
Kpop BTS Cute post it Notes Memo Pad Stickers Bangtan Boys Cartoon BT21 Blackpink Bookmark School Stationery accessories – Free
These are cute, and they came looking like the listing promised. I chose the BT21 tabs with all the characters because I like a little variety. But I’m not going to use these. I’m not a student anymore, and I didn’t use sticky notes to mark pages when I was one anyway. It’s really not likely that I’m suddenly going to adopt that study habit now. The kicker is that I do use standard Post-It notes pretty regularly for my job, so any other variety in the listing would have been actually useful. I’m an idiot.
Is it worth? I guess. How much do sticky tabs usually cost anyway?
Bangtan Boys Love Yourself World Tour Mini Bag J-Hope The Same Style Mini Shoulder Bag with Same Stickers Bangtan Boys Sticker Set – $8
You think I was going to pass on a J-Hope pouch? Even with the hefty price tag of $8, there was no way I was doing this haul and not getting this bag. And yeah, my big ticket item is still under $10, but that feels like a lot for Wish. For the most part, the bag doesn’t disappoint. You get what the listing promises: the pouch and some BTS stickers. It does look like the pouch from the Love Yourself tour, and the packaging looks pretty legit. It’s even got a little holo sticker to indicate its authenticity. Is it real? I have no clue. Some of the red dye did stain the clear part of the outer pouch, so I lean toward it being a pretty high quality knock-off.
Other than the cosmetic case, this is the item I have used the most. I know it was designed to meet bag-size requirements for concerts, but this thing is perfect for theme parks. It holds everything you need, while being easy to stow during rides. Plus, if you’re somewhere like Six Flags that doesn’t want you wearing bags but also doesn’t offer free storage, you can easily stick it under your shirt while sticking it to the man … well, teenage employee. J-Hope is right to be passionate about pouches. They are useful.
Is it worth it? Yes, especially if you frequent places where tiny bags are necessary.
Featured image courtesy of YouTube.