St. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - While fans of the iconic Nike Air-Jordan basketball shoe camped out in the cold all night before stores opened Friday, Overland Police ordered customers to their cars.
“I’ve been in the car since like 10:30,” said Mervin Gordon as he stood in front of the City Gear store in Overland before dawn Friday. “I wear a size 15 shoe. They only have one pair in the store.”
In Jennings, shoppers joined Michael Jordan fans across the country as they lined up in below-freezing temps and wind chills. It was all just for the chance to get the new Air-Jordan 11 Retro Breds basketball shoes. But again, Gordon said he waited in his car at the Overland store. Dee Nixon had been waiting in his car on the same lot since the City Gear store opened Thursday morning.
“All day, no sleep, no rest, no nothin’,” he said. “No days off.”
A few times a year – for the past 27 years -- a store can get a small shipment on the first day of sale called “Jordan Day”. But, one Overland shopper said police sent everyone back to their cars saying the weather was too dangerous to camp out. Customers stopped believing that around 9 Thursday night.
“It`s not about the cold at all,” Nixon said. “I've got four pair of pants, three pair of socks, a pair of gym shorts, four shirts, a sweatshirt, and a hoodie. So, I’m ready.”
Instead, customers believed the police directive was about crowd control.
“They started the line,” Nixon remembered. “It got crazy. Got real crazy. Got chaotic. One lady fell, got run over. It got ugly.”
The store opened its doors at 7 a.m. Friday, with customers packing the front door. Overland Police ordered shoppers to step back while they let a few customers in at a time. Later, shoppers squeezed out of the door with sounds of joy. They were the lucky ones able to get a pair from the limited stock.
“It was worth it,” Nixon danced. “It WAS worth it.”
Officers’ efforts at crowd control obviously worked. The first shipment of Jordans sold out just before 8 am. Disappointed and shivering customers simply left peacefully. Things were less orderly in other parts of the country. FOX 8 in Huntsville, Alabama reported that police pepper-sprayed an unruly crowd at the Hibbet Sports Store. According to WHNT-TV, same reportedly happened at Cleveland mall. The shoes retail for $185.
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