Now, there I was, glued to my computer counting down the minutes in which I was to inherit one of the greatest masterpieces ever created. One which rivals the great paintings and sculptures from the likes of Michelangelo, Rembrandt and even Picasso – dare I say! In my sniper-like fashion, I waited and waited just in case someone dared to outbid me. Ten minutes…..five minutes…..now 1 minute and 10seconds remaining. It was down to crunch time now and I opened up my second browser window. The first was placed in bid mode just incase I needed to increase my bid, while the other was refreshed every 10 seconds so that I can track it all down in real time. Finally, 1 minute and 11 seconds later, I breathe a sigh of relief and began doing my “happy” dance.
Why was I so happy, you ask? Did I win the National Lottery? Did I become Donald Trump’s new apprentice? No, but it ranks a very close second to all of the above…I won my first pair of Retro Jordan XI (That’s eleven to the uninitiated). These are perhaps the most popular Jordan’s, and even shoes for that matter, that have ever been produced. My time finally came as it had been 9 years since I first saw them in my local Footlocker and missed out on my chance to get them. Now I had to wait 2 weeks more. Oh, the Suspense!
Two week later…
Tuesday 10:00 am, just like clockwork the postman (Mail Carrier to be PC) arrives. A few seconds later I hear the door slam which can only mean on thing – They’re here! So I rush to the door, pick up the package and proceed to my room. Closing the door behind me, just like a child on Christmas Day, I frantically proceed to rip open the package. In the midst of all of this a thought enters my head – Where were they shipped from? I take a moment to look at the shipping label and notice that it came from California and not form Shanghai or Hong Kong. So far so good. I continue to open the package and there it was (cue the angels singing)….The grey and black Jordan silhouette. I finally get the box unwrapped and glance at the product label. It reads “Retro Jordan 11”. Now I notice something here which I’ll get to later on (Point #1). I opened the lid and the retro card was sitting right on top of the tissue wrapped shoes. I take it out so I can look at the other Retro Jordan’s and reminisce. It’s at this point that I notice something else that threw me off once more which I’ll also get to later on (Points 4&5).
Now before I removed the tissue I lit up a cigar, as any man would when introducing a new arrival to the family. And there they were, brand spanking new, my new Retro XI’s in the Black/Varsity Red-White colorway. I removed one of the shoes and examined it up and down and I must say, these were the real deal! I then pulled the other shoe out and notice that something is wrong….the “23” on the rear of the left shoe is crooked. I also noticed that the material on which the “23” is printed is sticking out (Point 6). I shrugged it off and decided to try them on as the final test. Guess what?! They were too small. I immediately took them off and looked at the product tag inside. It read “Made in China, 020608 LNR3. That was the final straw that made me go from total elation to utter disappointment.
All the signs were there and I had come to the realization that I was duped. I was bamboozled. I was taken in. Either way you put it, I was now in possession of brand new Retro Jordan XI FAKES!! So, what do I do? Do I place them back up on auction and get my money back? NO WAY, that would make me just as dishonest as the guy who sold them to me. My next step was to contact the buyer, but before I was to do that, I needed to examine the shoes in detail and make a list. Here they are:
1. The label on the box had overlapping lines and the font was not correct.
2. The bottom of the box said “Made in China” and “Fabrique aux Etats Unis”. Which is it, made in China or made in the USA?
3. The Jordan Silhouette was much darker than usual.
4. The Retro Card had Jordan’s shirt in Teal color and not Navy.
5. The shoe images on the Retro Card were blurry and faint
6. The “23” on the rear of one of the shoes was crooked and the foam material that it is on sticks out as opposed to being flush with the leather.
7. The carbon plate on the bottom of the shoe was in fact real but the pattern and color was off.
8. The production date was listed as 020608 as opposed to 010911. Nike never made this shoe in 2002.
The points listed above apply to the Retro Jordan XI’s. However, you should use these points as guidelines when purchasing other Retro Jordan’s from the net or a local flea market vendor. Other points to be considered include:
1. All shoes are made in limited supply. There is absolutely no way that you can get 1000 pairs of authentic Retro Jordan 1’s in all sizes.
2. When purchasing online, look at the pictures that the seller is using and compare them with the pictures of the other shoes that they sell. Is the background the same? Are there weird numbers on a few of the pictures? Do they have the Neon Green XI’s in stock? If so, don’t even think about buying. If you want more proof never be afraid to ask the seller to provide you with more pictures.
3. If the website also sells custom Air Force 1’s, Louis Vuitton Handbags and Timberland Boots always make it a point to read their “Policy” which will clearly state that the shoes are fakes/variants. Better yet don’t even read the policy, just move on.
One last thing to remember is the universal rule that applies to any and everything that you purchase – Buyer Beware! Do yourself a favor and do your research first before you end up like I did. Oh, and if you’re wondering about my Fakes, I have since contacted the buyer and the auction site. He is “no longer a registered user”
Sheldon Smith is an avid shoe collector and online retailer of exclusive fo