Guest Post: The 35-Year Payoff

Please welcome George Jetson with a story of deferred value… published almost a year after it was turned in! I always get around to things eventually! — jb

I don’t recall becoming out of touch with today’s culture (or what passes as such). It just happened. You can tell I’m out of touch by that parenthetical thought — because I am out of touch, I am compelled to comment on being out of touch and the implied terrible state of today, rather than be immersed in it and accept it. But even though I am myself a lost cause, it doesn’t mean I can’t benefit from the world as it is today.

My secret weapon in maintaining contact with reality is cohabitating teenagers, also known as children. They ARE in touch. One of them is what’s known as a “hypebeast”, and knows terms like “colorway”, ”OGs”, “size run”, etc. He’s been at this for two years, ever since we took a walk along Fairfax Ave in Los Angeles and visited Golf Wang and Supreme. I became familiar with “reselling.”

I have invested capital into his business ventures, and he has turned some tidy profits, AND most importantly, some of these profits have even made their way back to my accounts. All in all, this has been an educational and fun experience for us all, while simultaneously I shake my head at the culture that values clothing in these ways.

To be fair, I recognize that the homonymous author of this site regularly speaks of clothing, shoes, and any number of ostentatious, possibly veblen goods which have little basis in reality, so the hypewear world of which I speak is only the latest incarnation of this situation which applies to gen-whatever instead of gen-whatever came previously.

But, back to our story, the 35-year payoff. As it turns out, the worlds of my son and me collided in a complementary way recently, when I produced from the vast underground storage facility (aka my basement) a pair of OG (that’s original to you and me) white/natural Jordan 1 high tops from 1985. I bought these things with my mom at the mall when I was a 15 year old looking to improve my game heading into my sophomore season.

And lo, because I received the hoarder gene from said mom, I managed to hang onto these shoes for the 34 years after my game was elevated immensely through their application (honest, it was). A few times in the past couple of years, I mentioned that I’d like to test the market for them, as I slowly became aware they might be worth something. But with the renewed interest in Michael Jordan in recent months, with “The Last Dance” being released, and discussed, and re-discussed, it appeared to me, the slowest of slow on the uptake of most things trendy, that it was time to sell ‘em for real.

My son formed a marketing plan, which is to say he put them on his Insta with an advertised price of $6666. I understand he has enough of a following that he didn’t need to use Grailed or Stockx, and we’d save commission, with people invited to make offers. And so a bidding war erupted, going from $500 to the final, surprising price of …

But before that, I should mention that on the morning after the money transferred, Nike announced that they’d finally be dropping the retro version of the same shoe, same colorway, some time in 2021. This doesn’t mean I sold at exactly the right time, because crazy buyers still want OGs, but it didn’t hurt either.

And so, my 35-year-old Jordans sold for $2000.

$2000 isn’t life-changing in any way to a 49-year-old with a reasonable ability to generate income. But it adds amusement to a life which in recent months has been a bit more subdued. And it gives me ammunition for my battles against the anti-hoarding forces in my life. And it gives me a story to tell, direct from my brush with the hypebeast scene. As for the money itself, I will probably buy one of those black stainless steel refrigerators with the little see-thru refreshment door for the vast underground storage facility (aka teenager entertainment zone), if I were the type of person who earmarks found money in such a way.

P.S. — if anyone wants to make an easy $800 in 2021, keep an eye out for the Air Jordan 1 ’85 Neutral Grey drop. Son says retail will be $200, and they will instantly resell for $1000. You heard it here first.

(Editor’s note: I published this too late for any of you to use this tip, but even after the frenzy they are still pulling $500!)

27 Replies to “Guest Post: The 35-Year Payoff”

    • Jack Baruth

      I was just thinking how light it was by modern standards… Paypal and eBay combine nowadays to get a full eight or nine percent out of most transactions.

      Reply
      • CJinSD

        That’s good rent if you can get it! It’s also how people like Carlos Slim and Jeff Bezos can afford to buy our media for the purpose of convincing most Americans to act against their own interests.

        Reply
  1. stingray65

    Congratulations to the author. My prediction, is that if you take real good care of those shoes by not wearing them and keeping them in a climate controlled environment, that the $2000 that someone paid for those used 1985 shoes will be worth $2 in 20 years when nobody with more money and sense remembers who Michael Jordan was.

    Reply
    • Eric L.

      You think Michael Jordan’s brand will be non-existent in a mere 20 years?

      Also, come on Stingray, inflation. Those same used shoes will go for $5000 in 20 years, because 3% basic inflation yields $3612: 2000*((1+.03)^20−1)

      Reply
        • Harry

          Wilt Chamberlain? Don’t actually know he is the best but I pay no attention to basketball at any level and still knew him as being of that era. Some dude named Chuck is still selling a fair number of shoes for Nike as well.

          Reply
          • CJinSD

            Chuck Taylor All Star High Top Sneakers are made by Converse, not Nike’s child slaves. I’ve never heard of a single murder committed for Chucks, nor have they featured in any TV footage of reparation looting. They sell for about $50 without availability issues. Perhaps some day Air Jordans will be as ordinary, and that will be the point where used shoes aren’t collectibles.

        • Eric L.

          Eh? Are you seriously insinuating that the state of modern marketing and brand was fully up and running in 1965? Who was paying $300 in 2020 bucks for new basketball shoes branded with a professional player’s name in 1965? Westegg tells me that’s a $36 shoe in 1965.

          Reply
          • CJinSD

            I’m telling you that once everyone who has seen someone play is too infirm to run the length of a basketball court, that someone’s marketing value will diminish.

        • hank chinaski

          That’s exactly where my train of thought went….trade value will rest in things you can eat, fuck, become intoxicated on, or kill someone with. Not always in that order, but with some roles shared.

          Reply
    • hank chinaski

      2K for a pair of stanky ass used sneakers. Maybe if their namesake had worn them *at all for even a few seconds*, let alone for a playoff game, they could be valued something north of ‘nothing’.

      Honk.
      Just bring the asteroid already.

      Reply
      • George Jetson

        Hey, I was a good player. I averaged 16 pts/game for a season.

        However, I understand your point, and believe it. However, I am willing to make a shit-ton of money for no good reason.

        Reply
    • George Jetson

      I agree. The only time I see these shoes being in the same neighborhood of value is when Mr. Jordan dies, and well, strike when the iron is hot, I say. I sold a pair of $100 shoes for $2000, let’s not be greedy, right?

      $100 for shoes was outrageous in 1985.

      Reply
  2. trollson

    Ah yes, I ran into this bs when I went looking for an old bmx frame. Apparently it got re-released in a collaboration with Supreme (aka people who have no clue what a bmx bike is for), so the old frames disappeared as well, presumably so they can be painted with the supreme logo and sold to suckers on the internet.

    Reply
    • George Jetson

      Supreme has been the king of the hypewear / hypebeast world for 20+ years. I have been amazed that they kept the lid on it for so long, when other brands sold out and became unfashionable. I understand that recently the founder, James Jebbia, sold it for 2.1 BILLION to the parent company of VANS and Timberland in Nov 2020. I foresee doom for it before long. Does anyone remember Mossimo, Benetton, or Guess? Jeans? I was afraid to go into the Benetton store in Apache Mall when I was a teenager, it was of a class above my league.

      The hot brand is dead, long live the hot brand … next, please …

      Reply
    • CJinSD

      I suppose I should have checked before making what turned out to be an untrue statement in this post-anti-trust age, but I’m not the least embarrassed that I didn’t know about a merger of sneaker brands.

      Reply
      • Carmine

        I only really learned about the Converse thing in the last year or so, which sucks because I always like a good pair of Chucks but I refuse to buy anything from Nike anymore, I know it it won’t make a difference, but fuck them.

        Reply
        • CJinSD

          Nike actively doesn’t want our business. It wouldn’t be right for the victims of marauding social justice warriors to be seen wearing Nike’s distinctive logos.

          Reply
    • George Jetson

      the downside of this is that, if you don’t already have it, you can’t get it now and expect it to be worth anything. Everyone is far too aware.

      Reply
  3. high heeled sneakers

    congratulations on the shoe sale

    you should have taken a pic with the shoe on your head, as a gag

    Reply
  4. -Nate

    Pretty good ROI ! .

    In 1985 I bought a pair of Converse High Tops, just like the ones I wore as a kid .

    My son was horrified, said my size 12’s looked like I was wearing boats on my feet, I wonder if they’re still buried in the hall closet .

    Couldn’t be worth anything, just pail old black sneakers .

    Too bad all the baby boomer crap I have hoarded away is worthless and losing vale by the day, it’ll prolly wind up in the dump after I die .

    Good on your son for making ! . my son made money buying and selling video game cartridges then Atari was still a thing .

    -Nate

    Reply

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