Nike Can’t Keep Doing This to Us, Can It?

The Nike sneaker-buying experience has been brutal for years. When will fans get too fed up to keep supporting the brand?

David Dennis, Jr.
Marker
Published in
3 min readFeb 19, 2021

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Photo: GOAT

The demise of Blockbuster Video lives in my head rent-free. It’s the perfect parable about America’s brand of capitalism and what happens when people are given a choice that frees them from greed. Sort of.

Blockbuster thrived in the late ’80s and early ’90s because it scaled explosively, opening new stores and buying out competitors; in many places, it was the only way people could watch new movies that were just out of theaters. It leveraged its near-monopoly in predatory ways, charging people exorbitant late fees for movie rentals and even damaging people’s credit scores for not being able to pay those fees. We didn’t go to Blockbuster because we liked it—in fact, we hated the damn place. But we didn’t have many options. As soon as an alternative appeared in the form of streaming services, Blockbuster’s extinction loomed. It developed its own streaming service to rival Netflix’s, but it didn’t matter because we had so much built-up disdain for the way Blockbuster treated us. We reveled in its destruction.

I think about Blockbuster almost every time I use Nike’s SNKRS app.

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David Dennis, Jr.
Marker

Level Sr. Writer covering Race, Culture, Politics, TV, Music. Previously: The Undefeated, The Atlantic, Washington Post. Forthcoming book: The Movement Made Us