Only in contemporary America would people tussle over a mass-produced, made-in-China product that has no intrinsic value without a billion-dollar marketing history behind it.
We're talking, of course, about the Air Jordan, now 27 years old and still inspiring brand lust among the young and dumb.
Problems broke out nationwide overnight as stores prepared to release a new model of the Jordan ([added]: XI Concordes), and L.A. had its issues too:
A “scuffle” was reported at the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach early this morning as shoppers lined up to get into three stores that planned to release the shoe.
Police downplayed the level of scuff, however.
Lt. Paul Wrightsman of Redondo Beach police told the Weekly there were no injuries and no arrests after cops were called after the lines formed starting at 2 a.m. and people were pushed through mall entrance doors as a result of the crowding:
At that level people were starting to push forward against the glass doors. People in front might have been pushed through the door.
He said the crowd was reorganized around one entrance, and that some shoppers were let into the mall starting at 6 a.m., when a few of the stores opened, and then again at 8 when the rest did.
He named two of three stores selling the shoes as Champs and Shiekh.
In suburban Seattle police used pepper spray on would-be Jordan buyers who started fighting as they waited in line, according to Associated Press.
We all want to be like Mike, but fighting over shoes is ridiculous. We would be willing to duke it out over Ferragamos, however.
[Added at 3 p.m.]: And now there appears to be an internet hoax about an 18-year-old Washington, D.C. Jordan-buyer Tyreek Amir Jacobs who is said to have been murdered over his new shoes.
But calls to area authorities by both the Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post have turned up nothing, and the picture of the man used on an RIP Tyreek AMIR Jacobs Facebook page appears to be a stock photo.
Still, Twitter is burning up with the RIP Tyreek cause and eight Facebook groups on the matter have cropped up today.
MSNBC says the sneaker is a re-release / replica of a 1996 model that has become a collector's item. It reports that the shoes retail for about $180 but are already appearing online (via resellers, we guess) for as much as $600.