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They are only shoes, people!

February 26, 2012
By CRAIG HOWELL , Weirton Daily Times

I was quite dismayed late in the week to read the coverage of violent crowds surrounding a shoe store at an Orlando-area mall hoping to be able to purchase a limited edition basketball shoe.

Apparently, the crowd had gathered for the release of the new Nike Foamposite One, a shoe released in celebration of Orlando hosting this year's NBA All-Star Game.

Did I also mention the shoe costs $220? I've also heard they glow in the dark, which is kind of cool, but not worth causing a riot.

Local law enforcement officers, seeing the crowd, made sure they had a presence and then, a couple enthusiastic people wanting to make sure they got a good spot rushed the store. This led to more people rushing the store, and more law enforcement showing up ... wearing riot gear ... some on horseback or motorcycles.

One news report quoted several people who had gone to Orlando from as far as Connecticut, all for the hopes of getting a pair of these shoes.

Instead, they paid all that money to go all that way and almost got trampled because people got that out of control.

It's not the only time in recent memory something like this has happened, either.

Just before Christmas, the re-release of the Nike Air Jordan XI caused similar scenes all over the country.

Property damage was done in Lithonia, Ga.; a person fired a gun near a crowd of about 1,000 people in Richmond, Calif.; and in Jersey City, N.J. a man was stabbed seven times - all over a pair of shoes.

Have we really fallen that far as a society that we are willing to hurt other people to get a chance to purchase something?

I know it's a limited-edition shoe, but seriously!

I can remember when the Air Jordans first came out. I was young, but I remember the talk of how everyone wanted a pair. I remember they were considered expensive for their time too. What I don't remember is hearing about people running around hitting, kicking, stabbing or shooting others just to improve their chances of picking up a pair.

When was the last time you heard about a riot over a new pair of Jimmy Choos?

It's just as much the fault of the shoe companies as the people starting these fights.

If they would charge a manageable price and focus on making shoes everyone could afford, I'm sure they would still be making money. After all, more people could buy their shoes.

Plus, then people would have more money to put toward other things they actually need: food, medicine, gasoline (don't get me started on that one), or utility bills house payments to make sure they can afford to have a place to live.

The bottom line, for me anyway, is this: It's not worth it people! They are only shoes. They are to be worn on your feet. You play in them, run in them, and eventually they are going to get dirty and worn down.

Then, you're going to have to go out and buy more shoes.

If, for some reason, you're not buying them to wear, then they're just going to be sitting around somewhere gathering dust. What's the point in that?

Shoes were not meant to be a status symbol.

And remember, while you're going around fighting over a pair of shoes, spending hundreds of dollars you could be using to feed your family and buy gasoline, all you're really doing is giving more money to the shoe companies who will just turn around and make more limited-edition shoes and charge you even more money as you risk your lives hoping to get a pair.

We seriously need to get our priorities in order.

We're having riots over shoes while the country seems to be falling apart. Maybe that's part of the problem too, though.

We have people willing to spend a couple hundred bucks on shoes or some other temporary item instead of taking care of what is needed.

Instead of looking at whether they can afford it, or what else they might need, they blindly spend money they might not even have, all because of a status symbol.

It's no wonder this nation is in debt.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at

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