Houston activists and ministers are calling on Nike and Michael Jordan to change the way they sell the highly-coveted Air Jordan sneakers.
In case you haven't heard what happened when Nike released the latest edition of the shoe, there were multiple arrests:
My FOX Houston has the story, in which multiple local activists are pointing fingers at Nike, not the shoppers:
Why would people get violent over $200 shoes?
"I've never seen anybody be killed or jumped over a TV. For some reason it's the shoes," said Maria Hernandez in the My FOX Houston report.
One local tried to explain the mad, and oftentimes violent, dash to get the much sought-after shoes.
"These shoes have always had a place of value in Black life," said Malik Ingram.
Outside Greenspoint Mall on Wednesday activist Quanell X (yes, that Quanell X) and ministers demanded that Michael Jordan and Nike founder Phil Knight "lower the price of the shoes and meet customer demand," reports FOX.
"It is the responsibility of Michael Jordan and Nike to stand up and be part of the solution. Right now it's a public safety issue with children wearing those sneakers," said Quanell X.
"The people that can least afford these shoes are buying them, and what happens as a result of that? Well there's more crime," said Ben Mendez, a Hispanic business leader.
Consumer safety and security is of paramount importance. We encourage anyone wishing to purchase our product to do so in a respectful and safe manner.
"We're not trying to make it logical. We're simply saying it's going to take all of us collectively to take responsibility for making a change," said Bishop James Dixon, Community of Faith Church.
But does basic economics agree with the leaders' calls for Nike to lower the price to meet customer demand? Do they believe that a lower price would really fix the violence associated with these shoes?
First, if Nike were to adjust anything to "meet customer demand," they would increase the price of the shoe. If customers are willing to face arrests for a $200 shoe, then they would probably be willing to spend an extra $50 if Nike increased the price. And if Nike continued to increase the price, that would mean more people would not be able to afford the shoes, thus lowering the amount of people busting down the doors to get them.
However, that's probably not what Quanell X had in mind when he referenced “customer demand.” He probably meant that Nike should lower the price so all people who want them can get them.
And that's where this really doesn't make sense. If Nike lowered the price so that everyone could afford them, and these shoes have been described as being an integral part of the community life, do these community activists really think that there will be a decline in violence in the immediate future?
Consider this: take the violence that has erupted over these shoes, not because they are expensive but because they are prestigious, and multiply that number by the amount of people who can now afford the shoe.
If Nike were to lower the price of the shoe, the stores selling them would most likely see an exponential increase in short-term violence as people rush to get the shoes.
Problem not solved.
As far as that "not trying to make it logical" part is concerned, some would say they are doing a pretty good job.