Sunday, September 23, 2007

A sneakerfreak's lament

Hi, my name is Steven and I am a confessed sneakerfreak. ("Hi Steven.") It started when I was younger and was captivated by both my older cousins and the exploits of Michael Jordan. It's gotta be the shoes! As I grew older and was able to buy all the retro's I wanted from when I was little, it became a complete sickness. I had to have the hottest colors in all of the exclusive releases. It wasn't until I sat down and started tabulating what was going on fiscally that I realized what I could be doing with the money I was spending and tapered off. Another big problem was that I refused to break the Sabbath to get these shoes, and anyone who is a sneaker addict knows that all of the Jordan's release on a Saturday. I love these shoes and I am happy that I am able to get them again, but it seems as if Nike and the big companies in general are out to do more then just fleece the consumers; they are out to exploit us to the point of bankruptcy. When you consider that the average retro costs less then $5 to produce and is sold at a insane markup to around $125-150, it really makes you stop and think what you are buying into. Is it really about the name on the shoe, or is the fact that it has become so embedded in pop culture that everyone wants them because they are a status symbol? At the same time as all of this capitalism, you rarely saw the big companies stepping forward when kids were getting robbed and killed over their sneakers. Part of the root of that problem was that Nike made all of the shoes relatively limited to spur hype and priced them at a point that the majority of kids in the hood were not able to afford without strain. This lead to crime to obtain them, and unfortunately, kids (and some adults) lost their lives over a pair of sneakers. I love these shoes, regardless of how the companies have exploited us, and will probably still continue to buy them....just at a heavy discount from hook ups...Lol....
I also would like to draw some positive attention to what the Knicks' Stephon Marbury is doing with his new line through Steve & Barrys. I have already bought a few pairs and I am in full support of a stylish and functional shoe at a great price. I also have completely bought into the clothing line that Starbury is putting out as well. Phenomenal. Check it out when you get the chance at your local mall.


T3FLON said...

Good piece. All clothing items are worth much less than the sticker price (unfortunately we still buy 500% markups). How come this doesn't outrage the American public? Why does Nike charge $120-$175 for basketball shoes that cost (as you said) $5 to make? Is charging $50 not enough profit? I mean...COME ON!!

rljacobson said...

"less then $5 to produce"

Holy crap!

But price gouging? What, you can only obtain shoes from that one company? And they only sell those few over-priced models? We aren't being a tad histrionic, are we?

"you rarely saw the big companies stepping forward when kids were getting robbed and killed over their sneakers."

Not sure what you are wanting them to do. But that kind of publicity, while horrible, is probably great for their bottom line, isn't it? Well... upon further reflection, maybe it ultimately isn't, because people will inevitably start saying, "Geez, it's only a shoe people," and Nike doesn't want that idea to germinate.

Killing someone for a pair of sneakers seems to be a profoundly impractical way to get shoes. How do you know they are your size, people!?