I’ve reached my boiling point with the under belly of the “Sneaker Industry”. If you’re an avid SneakerHead like i am, you probably understand what im getting at when i say… “SNEAKER GOUGING” has to stop. In no other industry is this allowed.
Here’s an example of what i’m talking about: Let’s say a pair of Air Jordans are released today. I’m looking for a size 8.5 in Mens, the shoe is at retail for let’s say $150.00. Other/smaller sneaker retailers will get in line with everyone else to purchase as many sneakers as they can in any size just to have them in stock. Then what they do is take them back to their store display them in their window to draw people in. Retail for the same sneakers in lets say Footlocker is MSRP 150.00. With the world in a major sneaker craze right now it makes sense if you’re a smaller retail outlet to purchase as many exclusive sneakers such as any retro Air Jordans or Nike Foamposites for example. However, this is getting to the point where it’s ridiculous.
The smaller outlet stores generally wait for the big chains to run out of product then they prey on the desperate souls out there who feel as if they have to have these sneakers at all cost. Generally that cost is a 50% mark up at minimum. That same sneaker in footlocker was priced at $150.00 is now $225.00 in the store right across the street from Footlocker,smh. Nike has always had a Love/Hate relationship with these smaller outlet stores for obvious reasons. They Hate them for the fact that they do not comply with strict release date guidelines. You ever wonder why you see people walking around in some sneakers that aren’t supposed to be out yet? It’s due to the fact that these smaller stores receive the inventory of sneakers ahead of time (so that they will have them in stock for the official release date) as with any other businesses/retailers.
They are not supposed to release them to the public ahead of time or face sanctions from Nike. You won’t see Gamestop selling any product before it’s release date. You don’t see any Cell phone companies selling any Apple products before it’s release date.However as with all rules there are always loopholes, these stores sell them ahead of time for a nice price increase, they just save the barcode and scan them when it’s the proper time to do so. That is why Nike provides them with such a limited amount of product in the first place. On the flipside they Love this type of relationship it also helps them garner cult level status for the Sneaker company. By releasing such a small amount it stirs the pot and creates an ultra level of exclusivity. C’mon i mean think about it Nike will inform the public that they’re going to be releasing the (See Below…)
Air Yeezy 2 (Kanye West) for $245.00, but it will a limited amount available. (Those same sneakers are on the “Black Market” and online being sold for upwards of $2,000.00 right now.) What’s the purpose in doing this you ask? it’s only to spark furer in the public. You have a product that a lot of people want and is willing to pay the the sticker price and a lil beyond for it. What do they do still release a small amount of kicks thereby driving the price up to astronomical rates on the “Black Market” so to speak. Granted NIKE doesn’t benefit in direct sales from the price Gouge, they just benefit from the fact that their product has sparked an outrage. They try to fool the public by staging lotteries in their direct stores like NIKETOWN (Here in NY) people wait in line for hours and sometimes days just to get their hands on them or should i say their feet in them. This Policy has cause quite a few people to get hurt even killed, not to say that NIKE is responsible for these deaths (Directly) They’re not paying people to commit these crimes but circumstances have allowed them to exist unfortunately. I Feel as with all new exclusive sneakers they should strictly be online sales only, or conducted and orchestrated in a way more safer and controlled environment. (Just a thought).
I’m not hating on this policy it does seem fare to either have a lottery or 1st come 1st serve format, but the problem i’m having is the limited amount available. What happens is they (NIKE) see the frenzy, sit back a few months then repeat the process all over again with a different shoe that now has a slightly higher than normal MSRP because the last sneakers sold so well. Even that is understandable to a certain degree simple, supply & demand. however if this is indeed the case then produce more product for the public.
Now to make matters even worst the newest release of the Lebron James shoe (Lebron 10) will retail for a price that is waay out of most Lebron James fans price range (at a lowered) $290.00. The crazy thing about that number is that they were originally slated to be $25.00 higher. The price was lowered after fans began to bash NIKE regarding this price point. Where is the responsibility of these athletes?, especially the ones that come from a low income environment. Who often told stories of what it felt like as a youth not being able to afford the latest versions of the AIR JORDAN sneakers. You have to commend players like Stephon Marbury who realized this issue and struck a deal with the now defunct Steve & Barry’s to provide a high quality sneaker for roughly $15.00. The only problem with this strategy is that Marbury wasn’t as big of a player as Michael Jordan or a Lebron James. So most kids disregarded this idea. However, if NIKE decided to lower the price of these sneakers and supply stores with more there would be less issues regarding the release of the shoes.
To be perfectly clear my issue is not with kids who purchase these kicks then resell them on Ebay and Amazon. Nope, my issue is strictly with NIKE (with their limited release of very popular shoes) and these smaller shops who prey on the fans of the shoes and price gouge them just to have a pair. I’m not saying that NIKE shouldn’t charge a premium for what they consider a upper echelon product. They’re able to charge whatever they want, they just need to understand their fanbase a lil more and become more reasonable with the prices they charge. I Like Lebron James & Michael Jordan just as much as the next man but i have my limits “I WILL NOT PAY” $290.00 for a pair of sneakers for you to only release another colorway in every other week.
Instead of politicians having press conferences to get Lil Wayne to apologize for not liking NEW YORK. They need to fight much bigger issues in our society, like this one. Especially when it involves people getting hurt and killed. Or have the Consumer Affairs Dept look into these sneaker stores out here price gouging on a product that clearly states the price on the box. Would you pay $20.00 dollars for a gallon of milk when the price on the container clearly reads $5.00. Gas stations can not price gouge when the oil supply is low (of course the price of gas will increase but there are strict guidelines in place to prevent gouging), Cab drivers can not price gouge if there is a public transportation strike. Neither should these sneaker stores. Shout out to Footlocker, Jimmy Jazz and all of the chain stores out there who play by the rules.
Just my take on things, I don’t know let me know what yall think, what’s your take on price gouging?. #TellMeHowiLookNow.