*When a recent article in the New York Daily News proposed that Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand switch to an online-only release strategy for its annual Air Jordan 11 Retro holiday sneaker, it was touted as a “novel idea.”
The motivation for the article was great: To end the senseless violence that seems to go hand-in-hand with a new sneaker release.
[Michael] Jordan undoubtedly wields incredible power within Nike, and if he said he was tired of seeing his namesake on the nightly news over video of brawls at malls across the country, the sneaker giant would certainly accommodate him.
So how’s this for a novel idea: Only sell retro Jordans online.
Well, the only thing “novel” about that idea is….well, nothing.
Even if this strategy was used, it would simply create another type of frenzy; and the minute the feet wearing the product was seen on the streets by the wrong “have not” in want, the same senseless violence would occur.
With Christmas just passed, my mind instantly shifts to an example of a more personal nature. My own daughter told me about her recent experience buying my grandson the very trendy PS3. After failed attempts to secure the device closer to her own neighborhood, she ventured out to the Walmart on Crenshaw in Los Angeles. By 8a.m. she saw there were already more than a hundred people waiting in line; and the “announcer” had already admonished the crowd saying, “There will be no disorderly conduct. No pushing, shoving or violence of any kind.”
This, of course, followed the revelation that there was “only 8 in stock” (why in the hell do they do this, when they know the product is in demand?)
While standing in line, she apparently caught the eye of a staff member and engaged in polite conversation. As she looked around at the people in line, she would later describe what she saw as “scary” at best. People looking as if their very lives depended on having this product (and yours if you stood in the way of them getting it). So you can imagine her surprise when the staff member offered to “check and see if I can get one for you!”
“No thank you,” was her very smart response before leaving the store and getting the device elsewhere.
The assumption that my daughter, who I am so glad used good sense, would not have gotten out of there alive is not far-fetched. And I wonder if anyone actually did lose their life that day.
In the case of the Air Jordan Retro sneaker being sold exclusively online, I’m leaning towards hiphopwired who writes:
Going digital only enhances the illusion of exclusivity that’s palpable as customers queue outside sneaker stores now. High-demand releases offered online routinely sell out minutes after Nike tweets the link; big-box sneaker retailers can barely handle the web traffic. Doors might not rip off the hinges and brawls won’t spill into the e-streets, but those online-only sneakers that weren’t available anywhere will only be viewed as more limited and create even more urgency among the have-nots.
The narrative will ultimately shift from unfortunate outbreaks of random violence in malls to tragic and more calculated violence with sneaker robberies. The infamous, “What size are those?” question from the 80s would be retro’d next.
Any other ideas?