Thursday, August 23, 2012

$315 Sneakers?!

Lets pretend for a moment that the country is not at the tail end of a recession, and then just try to totally ignore the fact that African Americans were the hardest hit demographic in terms of unemployment, and foreclosure. Then and only then will you be able to understand why big corporations do what they do. But if you're like me, an African American who has been adversely affected by the economy, and you live in the real world then
this scenario is far beyond your imagination. Earlier this week Nike revealed that their latest offering, the Lebron X, would soon go on sale. The retail price? $315. Nike blames the absorbatent price on the increase in the cost of materials. Exactly what are those materials, gold and platinum?
The bigger question is. Who are these sneakers being marketed to? Nike has been using the same formula for years. First they develop a unique looking shoe, they get the hottest black athlete in the world to endorse it, and then they just wait for the money to pour in. The odd thing is, this time around they have deviated from that formula. This shoe is not particularly unique or different. So, I believe that Nike is depending on the price of these sneakers to make them exclusive and not the design. In this case the "thrill" would not be in just owning a pair of Lebron X's but in owning a pair of $315 Lebron X's. This is both a shrewd and insulting marketing strategy. If you want to sell me an overpriced product, at least have the decency to indulge my need for something that looks special and exciting. If I'm going to spend 4 tank's of gas and 3 weeks of groceries on 1 pair of sneakers, I should at least get some bang for my buck. Growing up in New York I often spent $100-$150 on sneakers but, they looked much different than a $50 pair of sneakers. The exclusivity was in having the latest pair of Jordan's or Air Max, not in breaking the bank to buy them. Back then the marketing was different. But one thing hasn't changed, and that is, Nike's ability to exploit black youth by selling them yet another athletic shoe that they don't need!
I suspect despite the price, when these sneakers go on sale, some parents will form long lines along with their children to waste their money, and criminals will hide in the shadows waiting to take the shoes that they just wasted their money on. I just hope too many people don't get hurt. The fact of the matter is, no matter what a company markets, makes or sells it is ultimately up to us, the consumer, to buy or not to buy. These corporations or entities are out to make a profit and if people are foolish enough to help them do it at their own expense maybe they deserve to be separated from their hard earned money. Stock in Nike is about $95 a share. That means for the cost of those sneakers you can purchase 3 shares, & still have lunch money.


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