When I watched John Stossell’s show on the comparison between Michael Jordan’s Air Jordan sneaker line and Stephon Marbury’s Starbury line, I quickly realized that greed in America is becoming more and more the rule rather than the exception. To wit, the shoe experts cut open the two brands of sneakers and found that there were no essential differences—only price. That Marbury can sell his shoes for $15 while Jordan sells his for up to $175-200 per pair only shows that marketing hype is big business and that some people are just never satisfied in ripping off the public.
The show piqued me in particular because both of my sons are big fans of Jordan’s sneakers and avid collectors. Both my boys work and buy most of their pairs but I can honestly say that I would rather see them putting that money away for other things. But you try and convince them of that. Personally, I like the sneakers and think they are quite handsome in their design; however, $150 and better a pair, when they probably could be sold at a fraction of the cost! How much money do some profiteers have to make? And when you think of the poor kids in the ghetto who are pressuring their parents into buying them a pair, you see the injustice in all this.
Moreover, this topic tends to further divide the social classes by highlighting the differences between the “haves" and “have-nots. " For the kids living in suburban America, whose fathers earn six and seven-figure incomes, a twenty- to thirty-thousand dollar yearly clothes budget, including a substantial allowance for Air Jordan sneakers does not amount to a hill of beans. But for the kid whose parents live on thirty thousand dollars a year or less, a purchase of such sneakers could be a back-breaker.
Now I don’t want to hear the part about, “Well, this has been the case throughout history and if poor people want more, then they should work harder or strive more to get their desires. " You and I both know that the situation is a lot more complicated than that. The point of this article is that life is challenging enough, particularly in the new millenium. Raising kids today (see some of my other articles on these topics) is going to be one of the hardest things a new parent will do (not that raising kids was ever easy). But given the paradigm shifts in economies, social mores, respect issues among teens, and the like, having marketers, like those pushing the Air Jordan sneakers, lurking about certainly will not make things any easier. (And by the way, these marketers know exactly what they’re doing. If you thought they didn’t then you really need to think again. )
Because Marbury came from a background in which he could not always get the sneakers he wanted, he is showing great compassion and understanding in creating this line of shoes. Moreover, he stands to make a handsome profit at it should this line really take off. He is doing a great service to kids and parents alike, particularly the ones who aren’t swimming in Benjamin-imprinted C-notes. Now this is something we can all live with. That’s why I say, take a bow Stephon Marbury and boo Michael Jordan.
See more on Joe’s prolific writings at his Christian math site Math by Joe
Joe is a prolific writer of self-help and educational material and an award-winning former teacher of both college and high school mathematics. Under the penname, JC Page, Joe authored Arithmetic Magic, the little classic on the ABC’s of arithmetic. Joe is also author of the charming self-help ebook, Making a Good Impression Every Time: The Secret to Instant Popularity; the original collection of poetry, Poems for the Mathematically Insecure, and the short but highly effective fraction troubleshooter Fractions for the Faint of Heart. The diverse genre of his writings (novel, short story, essay, script, and poetry)—particularly in regard to its educational flavor— continues to captivate readers and to earn him recognition.
Joe propagates his teaching philosophy through his articles and books and is dedicated to helping educate children living in impoverished countries. Toward this end, he donates a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every ebook. For more information go to http://www.mathbyjoe.com .