“Someday I hope to have my own independent record label,” says Aileen Burns, who has spent the past four years touring with the Plain White T’s as their “merch girl.”
“My responsibilities include picking designs, ordering, handling shipments on tour, selling merchandise during shows, settling with venues, and keeping track of stock,” says the 24-year-old Carlsbad resident.
“The hardest thing about my job is uncertainty about our future scheduling. I can’t plan things very far in advance because we may or may not be on tour. It’s also difficult to have a personal life because you’re never in one place very long. And, as a female, sometimes the job can be tough, physically.”
She says the T’s fan base is typically female, aged 12 to 20, a sometimes difficult demographic. “I have customers trying to barter prices with me all the time! Parents are the worst about it. They’ll want a deal when buying three shirts for their daughter and her two friends.”
Other merch-girl hazards? “Sometimes I get flirted with on tour, just because it’s not unusual for me to be the only girl on tour. I’ve always felt and acted like one of the guys, though. I’m also starting to find that I’m older than a lot of the bands we tour with! I end up taking on a big-sister role with a lot of guys, which I’m perfectly happy with.”
You can meet Burns the merch girl when the Plain White T’s play House of Blues downtown on Friday, April 3.