After months of waiting for her Olivia Rodrigo merchandise to arrive, Alex Hudome said opening the package was “brutal.”
In a video she took of herself unboxing the order, Hudome, 23, appears visibly confused. She said she ordered a white crop top from the “Driver’s License” singer. Instead, she received a long-sleeve black T-shirt.
“They sent me the wrong,” Hudome says, slapping her hand over her mouth, “They sent me the wrong item. … This is not what I ordered.”
Hudome is one of a throng of Rodrigo fans who say the merchandise they ordered in May is either wrong or a different style or quality than what was advertised on the singer’s website. Social media posts show shirts advertised as crop tops coming in as long, unflattering tank tops; T-shirts advertised as high quality, comfortably worn-style have been received looking nothing like their image; beaded bracelets meant to read “Sour,” the name of Rodrigo’s album, have allegedly been received misspelled; images printed on T-shirts are muddled and nearly indistinguishable.
“I was so excited. … The idea was that I was going to be able to wear them in the summer even if they arrived in July or August, but the shirt that I got was a black long-sleeve shirt that I did not order and I can’t wear it for a few more months,” Hudome told NBC News.
Hudome also ordered a pair of shorts, advertised as loose-fitting basketball shorts ending just above the knee. Instead, she received a pair of short, tight black shorts.
“I would not have ordered the shorts if I had known they were going to be cropped short-shorts. They’re booty shorts,” Hudome said. “That’s not what I ordered.”
The irony of Rodrigo’s merchandise being unappealing and lower quality than advertised to her Gen Z audience is doubly cruel as the singer is a style icon for Zoomers, leading the way in some of the hottest Y2K fashion trends, like bucket hats and beaded jewelry.
On TikTok, the hashtag “#OliviaRodrigoMerch” has been viewed more than 15 million times, although not all of the videos using that tag are speaking negatively of Rodrigo’s items.
Anna Bahn, 24, of Pennsylvania, ordered a white bucket hat with the song lyric “It’s brutal out here” embroidered on the front.
“I opened it, and I saw all the stitching coming out,” she said.
Bahn said she was granted a refund, but said she was so bummed about the hat that she tweeted about it. Soon, she was receiving responses and direct messages from other fans saying they’d had similar problems.
“It’s been about a week that I’ve had it, and I didn’t even put it on my head because I was so disappointed with it,” Bahn said. “I try it on and it’s so tight on my head.”
Bahn and other fans who spoke to NBC News said they generally expect that merchandise will take a while to arrive — whether they’re ordering from Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande or Lady Gaga. They said they’re happy to wait months as long as the quality of the products is good.
The pandemic has also thrown a wrench into the timing of some deliveries, forcing customers to wait even longer for their packages.
Fans are so frustrated, some noting that celebrities and influencers who received merch early got higher-quality items that appear closer to what was advertised, that many have tweeted they’ve canceled their orders.
Still, there are also fans who appear to be perfectly happy with their items, depending on what they purchased. Several posts about those who bought sweaters from Rodrigo’s shop said they love what they received.
Fans have also been quick to note that Rodrigo herself didn’t make the merchandise and say their anger isn’t directed at her, but rather, with her team. Some say that it would be nice if Rodrigo addressed the quality issue, but that they really just want her customer service team to work with disappointed buyers.
Representatives for Rodrigo did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Despite being dissatisfied with the merchandise, fans said that they’d be willing to buy it again if the quality improved and that the issue definitely wouldn’t change their listening habits.
“I’m still going to listen to her music every single day. It hasn’t changed my view on her, but it mostly makes me sad for her,” Hudome said. “I feel bad this has fallen on her shoulders.”