PITTSBURGH — A few minutes before showtime, it was nearly impossible to squeeze through the main hallway of Mellon Arena. Britney Spears' fans were lined up 10 deep, staring at a wall of T-shirts and shelves of hats, posters and crystal lollipop holders, all hoping they would be the next up to get a piece of their idol.
It's a scene merchandise salesman Steve Salazar knows all too well. While traveling across the country with Britney is fun, he said, he also compared the experience to "Groundhog Day." "It's the same in every city," he said, referring to the loads of excited fans who rush his stand each night.
Fellow T-shirt salesman Garry Benish agreed: "I'm numb to all of these girls, but I can't complain. We're taking a lot of money in."
According to the guys, the items that make the most cash are the Britney baby-doll T-shirts and the Circus posters, which depict a smiling Spears in a white dress and black top hat. We saw fans buy a lot of other swag too.
Ohio dad John Mitchell spent $60 on a Britney picture, poster, keychain, iron-on jacket patch and program. "I bought a few things for my kids, but most of this is for myself," he admitted. "The feather mask [which comes with the program] is not for me, though. I'll probably give it to my kids."
Natalie Medic, who was there celebrating her 16th birthday, bought a program and [url id="http://www.mtv.com/photos/britney-spears-circus-merchandise/1608433/3739723/photo.jhtml"]a Circus poster[/url]. "I bought the program to remember this night and the poster to hang it in my room to prove I actually went to the concert," she said.
Here are some other items that got fans excited:
Undergarments: Britney's camp got cheeky when they thought up the "If U Seek Amy" boy [url id="http://www.mtv.com/photos/britney-spears-circus-merchandise/1608433/3739727/photo.jhtml"]shorts[/url] and " ... Baby One More Time" [url id="http://www.mtv.com/photos/britney-spears-circus-merchandise/1608433/3739729/photo.jhtml"]thong[/url]. Either is perfect for Britney's more mature female fans.
Lollipop Holder: This item was inspired by the famous "Womanizer" line "Lollipop, must mistake me, you're a sucker." For 25 bucks, you get a multicolor crystal [url id="http://www.mtv.com/photos/britney-spears-circus-merchandise/1608433/3739730/photo.jhtml"]lollipop holder and lollipop[/url]. Refill lollipops can be ordered from SugarFactory.com.
[url id="http://posting.mtv.com/photos/britney-spears-circus-merchandise/1608433/3739726/photo.jhtml"]Dog Tags[/url]: This was the favorite item of a very beefy-looking Spears merch salesman — which proves that this is the perfect item for female fans to buy for their honeys!
[url id="http://www.mtv.com/photos/britney-spears-circus-merchandise/1608433/3739724/photo.jhtml"]Top Hat[/url]: Britney wannabes will like the black hat, which is almost identical to the one Spears has been wearing in "Circus" promotional photos and special performances.
Concert Program and Mask: Fans get a complimentary feather mask when they purchase a Circus program, which is chock-full of circus-themed photos of Spears.