Written by Tommie Battle (@BoneyStarks)
I could probably get killed for this by some Just Don snapback-having, jogger sweatpant-wearing, mob of youth with disposable income.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's just start from here: I've been collecting sneakers since the late '90s, mainly because that's when I started getting money to buy my own shit. You learned to connect with people in shops. You learned to create relationships with said connects so that when a sneaker released, you had a pair locked down.
You learned to create relationships with connects so that when a sneaker released, you had a pair locked down.
Then the Internet happened.
At first, you had to be quick. You had to make sure that you had your credit card in hand so that when that shoe finally released—after countless F5 and command + Rs—you got your pair. Needless to say, it took some luck and good timing.
Then Google Chrome happened.
Now, this is where it gets cloudy for me. I had two kids, slowed down on the copping, and was legitimately "out of the game" for about four years. I was aware of Chrome's autofill option, you know, where if it asks for an address the computer will automatically enter the information in the given fields. But this was some next-level shit.
I first noticed when trying to buy the "Salmon Toe" Ronnie Fieg x ASICS that something was a bit fishy, only because the Twitter link went live, I clicked, and two seconds later the entire damn size run was gone. So I started asking questions, was it a fluke? Do I need to cuss someone out at my Internet service provider? What the fuck?!
It really wasn't that difficult to figure out, it was an extension to your browser that was installable within a few clicks.
Then I realized bots happened.
My man sends me a video of him going on a site, where it automatically added his size to his cart and sent him to checkout. In the words of Skee-Lo, "How am I gonna compete with that?" I did some further research on shoe forums and even Reddit, where it almost went unspoken in a weird, Fight Club kind of way. Finally, after inquiring about it and dealing through some seedy Internet characters, I now had the power of the bot. It really wasn't that difficult to figure out, it was an extension to your browser that was installable within a few clicks. As soon as you click on a shoe on say, Nike.com, the size is automatically in your cart. Simple shit.
Then the black and red Air Jordan 1s happened.
The Air Jordan 1 is a classic sneaker, with a timeless silhouette. You could wear them with almost anything: Michael Vick jersey, jorts, you name it. I had never had the hightop version of the shoe, but I was willing to take my chances with the black and red pair that was coming back out.
I knew that the release would be limited, so I decided that it was my best chance to cheat the system and use all of my resources. I wanted this shoe. I needed this shoe. I had to have it. I wasn't going to pay $300 over retail for it, and damn it if I was going to strike out. I was willing to go to 4chan, kidney resellers, Canal Street, whatever. I had to have these kicks and the thirst was real.
I knew that the release would be limited, so I decided that it was my best chance to cheat the system and use all of my resources.
It's the day after Christmas and I'm hyped. I have my bots that I acquired through a series of e-mails sent to me through said seedy characters, because, apparently, people pay as much as $50 for them on eBay and various sites.
I have my Macbook fully charged. I'm making sure no other devices are connected to the router because I'm getting these sneakers with my add-to-cart hookup. The link went live on Twitter, I click with much anticipation, and they're sold the hell out. But they can't be. I used the extension the right way, right?
In the end. I wasn't too upset because I didn't pay a dime for the bot. But you have to feel for those that do and still end up with nothing. What drives me crazy is the success rate for a few guys out there, who are able to buy multiple pairs while others get nothing. Until online retailers switch up their method of checkout, the results will probably be similar upon every release. So I suppose it's time to stock up on grey New Balances.