Due to the massive popularity in recent sneaker releases, most retailers have chosen the raffle route of distribution to end users. This is most likely due to the unmanageable size of turn outs for very limited releases which distracts businesses and residents around the retailers in question.
However, some smaller boutique style stores and certain big chains still choose to serve their customers “first come, first served” basis. With that in mind, we can assume that customers for such sales methods can potentially cause some hysteria amongst other sneakerheads, resellers, and reluctant girlfriend/boyfriends alike.
Let’s explore some experiences and tips on how to make this process as safe, successful, and most of all, FUN for your weekly cops.
1) Know your shit: It is best to find out in advance the stock level, size availability, and routine line up locations before heading to your local retailer. Most likely, the stores will not directly tell you how many pairs will be for sale. But, if you ask nicely enough they might drop some hints. ie. “Single/ Double size run,” with a size run approximating a dozen pairs. “Very VERY limited,” meaning, less than a size run minus pairs reserved for staff and friends. Know how much it will cost, tax in. Don’t be the guy that has to split your purchase through 4 different credit cards when it’s time to check out. Know your size, don’t hold up the line because you have to try the shit on before you buy them.
2) Be prepared: It might be okay to sit on your jacket or sweater on the ground for a few hours, but when it’s time to really settle in, nothing beats a proper folding camping chair with a cup holder. Just because it is nice and warm when you left your house, doesn’t mean it will not get unbearably cool overnight or even rain. Always dress appropriately and bring extra EVERYTHING if you’re able to. Water, tissues, snacks, fully charged batteries, headphones, etc. If you’re well prepared, you will most likely make less trips away from your spot, which always give the illusion that you’re more “dedicated” to those resellers in the front of the line.
3) Be friendly: The most inexpensive and most effective way to score your kicks is to make friends with the people around you. Get there, set up, start socializing. It’s about making the experience as fun as possible. Break the ice by asking people in line if they know of the stock run, what sizes they are planning to get, how long they’ve been there. You know, the small talk bullshit. I cannot tell you how much this makes the experience more enjoyable. Don’t leave the line up for ANY reason until at least a few more people show up behind you, and ask if it’s okay that they watch your spot while in your absence. Of course, you should be willing to do the same if the situation occurs the other way around. This makes the entire line up a self policing unit that I cannot begin to tell you how important it is in the closing hours upon release. You don’t want to be those guys in the front of the line who pop up once every few hours to check if their chairs are still there. Be apart of the line, and get to know the folks around you.
4) Set some house rules: The stores will NOT enforce any rules besides the usual “be an adult, be honest, and beHAVE” whilst in the line up. It will be up to the line itself to set some rules. Make sure you ask people around empty chairs how many people are in their party, how long they intend to be gone, and take out any variables that may compromise your spot in the line. How long anyone should be allowed to leave the line up before you can ‘86 their spot. Last minute show ups who cut straight to the front to see their friends should NEVER be allowed. But still, seem to happen at every camp out I’ve attended of recent releases. Obviously, bathroom breaks, lunch and dinner runs, and any unforeseen emergencies will arise. Just make sure to check with the people behind you so they understand the situation and can pass the message along should new campers show up after your departure. This ensures an accurate headcount throughout the duration of the line up.
5) Be respectful: This should go without saying, but… life is never that easy. Respecting people in the line up is what makes this format work. If someone asks you a question about the situation, answer them. If someone asks you “how many people are with your group?” don’t look up blankly and say “a few. They were here before and will be back.” Just answer the question. Don’t be that shady guy who refuses to tell others how many people are with them and what size they plan on getting. Don’t snatch the size of someone behind you trying to score when it’s the last pair and you clearly don’t need that particular size. That’s just rude.
6) Have Fun!!!!: This is why we gather, at all times of the day and night, to all hopefully fulfill the same goal. We are all here to purchase something we covet. It’s not life or death. It’s not going to change your life, trust me. Make new friends, exchange info, be kind, and eventually, you’ll build enough credit to do any future businesses on the side. I’ve made friends with many people I’ve lined up with, and has since helped each other out to cop certain pairs that are missing in our respective collections. Chances are, you will see the same mother fuckers again and again at your usual locations.
All in all, remember. They are JUST SHOES. I cannot stress that part enough. Take these notes from my experience into consideration the next time you are sitting outside the mall overnight and you will most likely have a much more enjoyable experience. Don’t be the person we all know that reeks of “reseller” stench. Work together and cop what you want, and be safe out there.