Old Theranos Merch Listed for Huge Prices on Resale Sites After Elizabeth Holmes Verdict
People have a sort of morbid fascination with merchandise associated with things that are no more. In some cases, that means collecting every T-shirt and record after a pop star passes away. In others, it means stockpiling even the most mundane promotional products after the death of a business entity—especially if that company's demise is seen as ironic, humorous or deserved.
Theranos, the much-hyped health technology startup founded by enigmatic figurehead Elizabeth Holmes, dissolved in 2018. But due to the pandemic, it took more than three years for Holmes to be found guilty on four counts of fraud, and she now faces up to 20 years in prison.
With Holmes' comeuppance now sealed, sellers have been flocking to resale sites like eBay with all sorts of Theranos-branded items. Right now, thanks to the timeliness of the news, cultural stock for ironic Theranos merch has never been higher.
Washington Post reporter Natasha Tiku highlighted some recent listings, like a fleece jacket listed for $999.99, a copy of Inc. Magazine with Holmes on the cover for $125 and a pullover jacket for $500.
on eBay rn: $500 for Theranos fleece, $999.99 for a men's XL jacket, $125 for Elizabeth Holmes on the cover of Inc. magazine pic.twitter.com/xRaIf0OSvd
— Nitasha Tiku (@nitashatiku) January 4, 2022
Today, searching "Theranos" on eBay comes up with pre-owned promotional items, like a $750 half-zip, a $1,500 water bottle, a $2,000 copy of Time Magazine with Holmes on the cover and $750 marketing material from Walgreens. But there are also some items that were clearly created specifically to satiate this current buyer need—things like basic "Theranos" logo T-shirts and coffee mugs for around $20.
Now, it's important to note that, like a lot of hyped up resale rushes, most of these items with eye-popping price tags have zero bids. There are obviously people looking to show off to their friends that they got their hands on a piece of apparel from a company all over the news and social media. But sellers often overestimate just how strong that customer demand is.
Sure, people pay through the teeth for anything with a Supreme logo on it (including perishable food), and BTS Stans bought up greasy paper bags. But Theranos might not have quite as much appeal in the branding zeitgeist to justify 2,000 bucks for a 2015 copy of Time Magazine.
Still, a quick scroll through the "completed items" list shows that some products—like a Theranos-branded water bottle ($30 plus $9.99 shipping), an Elizabeth Holmes business card ($75) and an "authentic fleece pullover" (listed for $350 but sold for an unspecified best offer)—did end up finding buyers.
It's nice to see people place such a high value on promotional products. Even when the company they represent is no longer around.