Tickets are sold out? Better find a “黄牛党 (huángniúdǎng)” – (Beginner)

ticket scalpers黄牛党

When British singer Adele announced her 2016 concert tour, more than 10 million fans swarmed the website to buy tickets to see the megastar performer. Many of those 10 million ticket buyers were “scalpers,” or “黄牛党 (huángniúdǎng).” “黄牛党 (huángniúdǎng) ticket scalpers” are people who buy tickets to concerts and events and then sell those tickets to buyers at a much higher price. These “黄牛党 (huángniúdǎng) ticket scalpers” were later selling Adele tickets for $4,000 USD to $5,000 USD apiece online.
However, ticket “scalping” doesn’t just happen in North America and Europe. It’s a phenomenon in China, too!
During China’s “Spring Festival,” which is considered the largest migration of humans anywhere on the planet, the Chinese infrastructure is overflowing with travelers trying to make it home for the holidays. Train tickets are particularly difficult to get during this time. “黄牛党 (huángniúdǎng) ticket scalpers” will buy up tickets immediately when they go on sale and then sell them at much higher prices to those that want to get home for the holiday week.
Let’s break down “黄牛党 (huángniúdǎng) ticket scalpers”:
黄牛 (huángniú): noun. means “ox/cattle”
党 (dǎng): noun. means “party” or can describe a group of people in China
黄牛党 (huángniúdǎng): noun. means “scalper/ticket monger”
So, why the reference to “cattle” if the scalper is selling “tickets?” There is a history to that:
“黄牛 (huángniú)” is the kind of cattle that are rich in fur, and they will shed twice a year. In China, gross profit can also be called “毛利 (máolì).” “毛 (máo)” literally means hair and “利 (lì)” means profit. Therefore, earning gross profit is earning “毛利 (máolì),” just as this kind of cattle are rich in fur, then they are also good at earning a gross profit, just as touts and scalpers are good at earning a gross profit by reselling tickets that are in demand. Therefore, we call the scalpers “黄牛党 (huángniúdǎng)” or “黄牛 (huángniú).”
Some examples of “黄牛党 (huángniúdǎng)” in a sentence:
Qiānwàn búyào mǎi huángniúdǎng de piào, bú kàopǔ!
千万      不要      买      黄牛党         的  票,   不  靠谱
Don’t buy tickets from ticket scalpers; they are not reliable.

Huángniúdǎng zhèngzài fēngkuáng dǎomài Adele de yǎnchànghuì ménpiào.
黄牛党                正在      疯狂          倒卖    Adele  的    演唱会          门票。
Ticket mongers are reselling tickets for Adele’s concert.

HSK 3 quiz

1. You may need to find a “黄牛党 (huángniúdǎng)” if:
A. all the tickets to the championship game are sold out.
B. you want to buy a ticket for a lower price.
C. your ox needs shaven.

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