Entrepreneurial Shanghainese are finding even more ways to make money off the Expo. Last week, an enterprising Facebook page owner was trying to sell an Expo fan page and Facebook group. This week, people are finding ways to resell those free Expo gift packs distributed to every local family by the Shanghai government.
Elderly villagers on Chongming Island and in Minhang are being coaxed by schemers into selling their free gift packs for prices ranging from RMB250 to RMB270 each, which are then resold on the Internet. Each gift pack is valued at around RMB360, since it includes an Expo ticket worth RMB160, a RMB200 public transit card, an Expo map and a souvenir pin.
In Baozhen Town, villagers have complained that Expo-pack buyers are openly posting adverts along roads and wandering around markets in the town, wheedling villagers out of tickets. Some residents have been convinced that their free tickets are useless, that there was no actual money on their transportation cards, or that they couldn’t get into the Expo unless they made an appointment beforehand on the Internet. Others have happily sold their gift packs for cash.
Aside from reselling legitimate tickets, there’s always the option of faking it. Last week, police discovered the first counterfeit Expo ticket and have launched an investigation. The practice of collecting used tickets and reselling them has been a recurring problem since the Expo opened and Expo organizers are warning the public to be on the lookout for fake passes by comparing the color scheme and material of the ticket, and to be wary of used tickets that have been hole-punched or press-marked.
The urge to make a quick buck is understandable, but with half a million visitors to the Expo last Saturday, and lines stretching up to 8 hours long on some days, is anyone out there still dying to go? Expo Organizers have sold 37.7 million tickets so far; who wants to venture a guess as to how many have been sold through illegitimate channels?
…Anyone want to buy my Expo ticket?