Unless you’re a friendless, housebound wretch, you’ve been to a concert, sporting match or other public gathering for which the purchase of tickets is required. If you have, you’ve no doubt fought your way through the army of malodorous transients clustered around the entrance offering to sell you tickets. These hard-working professionals are called scalpers.
The sobriquet is a reference to the grisly practice of tearing an enemy’s scalp from his head. Despite these sensitive, stigma-erasing times, which have seen prostitutes elevated to sex workers and cum-catchers to jizzmastrae, the colorful term ‘scalper’ is, in the United States at least, the nearly-exclusive term for these grey-market resellers. The term has become so entrenched that it applies to anyone who resells tickets to a venue, apparently even if it’s a dude in buckskins hawking tickets to the Right Said Fred show at the Lucky Eagle Casino.