On an afternoon this past February, Aaron Carter bounced around a Guitar Center in Asbury Park, N.J. with an energy somewhere between performative and manic. He was interested in everything—synthesizers, microphones, keyboards, bags to transport merchandise—and, trailed by his tour manager, Doug, who was filming him for a Periscope livestream, he moved through the store as if he were attempting to beat the world record for Fastest Time to Point at All the Items in a Guitar Center and Comment About How You Might Want Them. "I've spent over two million dollars at Guitar Center in my life," he told me at one point. "I've spent over two million dollars at Guitar Center in my life," he told several Guitar Center employees at another point.

Yes, on this Thursday in Jersey, former pop idol Aaron Carter was trying to make his presence known. And it worked. Sort of.

One man asked me, "What's this, a famous guy?" Two young girls stared as he bought some fancy in-ear monitors and a merch bag. Excitedly and somewhat apologetically, an employee asked Aaron if he'd sign a t-shirt for his girlfriend. While his tour manager ran out to the van to grab a shirt, Aaron undercut the moment to tell me he'd have to charge this guy for it. "It's my business," he explained. 

If you know anything about Aaron's history, it's obvious why the 28-year-old would want to keep a close watch on his “business.” It didn’t fare well last time it was out of his sight.

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