Am I Being Sensitive? A Discussion About a Business Transaction Gone Wrong

Illustration for article titled Am I Being Sensitive? A Discussion About a Business Transaction Gone Wrong
Photo: iStock

I’ve been saying for years that disrespect, even implied, is the leading cause of death for black men between birth and death. There’s something about the feeling of another man disrespecting you that makes you uneasy, even long after the (potentially perceived) slight took place. This brings me to a situation that occurred on Saturday afternoon that had me in my bag for the rest of the day and still makes me feel a way right now. Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe I’m even wrong. But I feel some type of way and I need your help.


Here’s the situation.

I’ve become a sneakerhead of sorts. I have a collection of tennis shoes that goes from Chucks to Balenciagas. I also own several pairs of shoes that are highly coveted in the sneakerhead community, shoes that I might have purchased for $200 that are now worth $600, shoes that I like to call investments.

Well, I have a wedding coming up and I figured what better time to flip some of those shoes into some cash to pay for things. Plus, there’s a shoe store in the D.C.-area (I’m not disclosing the name for various reasons; I won’t be going back, so their name is inconsequential) that I pay attention to on Instagram that buys shoes, and specifically, the types of shoes I’ve made a habit of collecting. Win win win win fuck everything else, win win win win. 

I surveyed my collection and picked three pairs of deadstock (never worn, basically brand new) shoes. A pair of Semi-Frozen Yellow Adidas Yeezy 350 V2s, a pair of “Light Smoke” Jordan 10 Cements that I accidentally purchased off the SNKRs app, and the most valuable shoes I own, Off-White x Converse Chuck Taylor 70s. I figured they wouldn’t want the Jordans because you can get those in Foot Locker or Champ’s right now. But the other shoes you have to get from resellers. The Yeezy’s (in my size) go for over $400 on popular shoe resale site, StockX, and the Chucks go for over $1,100 at the same site.

So I loaded up the car and drove to the shop and brought my shoes inside. They were expecting me, and the owner was there with a person he has to authenticate the shoes. This is standard procedure. As expected, they weren’t interested in the Jordans. They inspected the Yeezys, which are big sellers for them. Now, I know that I could sell them on StockX for $450, but that would require me to do more work than I wanted. And because I paid retail for them ($220), I sold them for $350. Put a pin in this (and don’t judge me, yet).

Then they inspected my Off-White Chucks, which are authentic. I asked for $900 for them and they passed. I don’t know why. I don’t know if they thought they were fakes or what, I have no idea, but they passed on a pair of highly coveted shoes. I found this odd—though I didn’t ask for an explanation; business is business—because this is a store that definitely sells shoes like that for upwards of $1,500. But this is where it all gets dicey.


The owner asked me if I had change since he only had $360, which I didn’t, so he had to the authenticator dude get money from the front. He comes back and hands him the change and this is when the whole interaction went to shit. These two dudes gave each other that look like they both got one over on me. The authenticator dude shot one of those sideways smiles at the owner, who, while reaching back in his pocket with his face away from me, shot his man a “this nigga” smirk. Because I’m an observant individual, I saw them both. And it pissed me off. Highly. For a few reasons.

1. They didn’t get over on me. I sold the Yeezys at a price I was fine taking because I made money AND I couldn’t even wear them. The shoes run small so you have to order a half-size up, which I didn’t do. I needed to get rid of them, and because the store is in rebuilding mode, I was trying to be nice. That’s stupid on me, but again, I made money on them. I don’t know if that’s why they shot each other that look, but if so, I was annoyed.


2. If they shot each other that look because they think I both bought fake Off-Whites (which does happen; there are several videos about spotting fakes) and then tried to sell them, then they’re also wrong. My shoes are legit, authenticated and worth more than what I offered to sell them. So if that’s what it was, I’m also annoyed.

Here’s the thing: They’re entitled to think and feel how they want. They think they got over on me? That’s cool. It’s untrue, but that’s cool. They think the other shoes are fakes and I got taken? That’s cool. It’s untrue, but that’s cool. Which makes my big issue this:

3. Why didn’t they WAIT until I was gone to basically view me as an idiot? They shot that look right in front of me, which is disrespectful for thinking I wouldn’t notice. We’re making a business transaction and you’re effectively laughing in my face? Why not just wait until I’m gone to talk shit about me? Have a whole ass laugh at my expense once I’m gone; why be rude to somebody just trying to do business, respectfully, where you accepted and declined offers and then kept it moving?


The in-person disrespect TRULY pissed me off. I’ll never do business with that store again because of it. And I replayed the interaction in my head several times to make sure I wasn’t tripping, and I’m not. That’s exactly what happened. The only reason I’m not putting their name out there is because I don’t want anybody else checking them out and considering going there for shit.

Now, perhaps I made a mountain out of a molehill, but it really bothered me all day that these two dudes not only thought they got over on me or that somebody else did—my assumption, no proof—but didn’t think enough of a customer to wait until I was gone to express it. That’s some disrespectful shit. If I had less couth, I’d have made a big deal about it in the store and canceled the sale. In fact, the more I thought about it, I felt like I should have and was also annoyed with myself that I didn’t. It’s two days later, and I still feel a way about it.


But maybe I’m trippin’.

So I ask, am I being sensitive?

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.


King Beauregard

Like every other person under the age of 40, you care about your pride and social standing, and feel that you have been slighted. There’s no practical benefit in feeling that way, but it’s part of being human.

At the age of 51, I’ve figured something out. You know why dads get in the habit of telling dad jokes and generally being corny goofballs? Because they’ve run out of fucks to give about whether people think they’re cool, so they’ve decided to amuse themselves. (Having a surly ungrateful teenager almost certainly accelerates the process of giving up on being seen as cool, so, um, it looks like you’ve already set that in motion.) Anyway, I think that’s related to your situation: as an old fart I would probably register that these guys think they pulled one over on me, and think to myself, “they’re mistaken, but they are also untrustworthy and I shan’t come here again”. That’s right, you heard me: SHAN’T. It also probably has something to do with how I drive and get less mad when people cut in front of me; so long as it wasn’t a dangerous move on their part and only my pride is wounded, the effort to give a fuck simply feels wasted.

Side note, when doing freeway driving, King Beauregard feels it is always a good idea to maintain a three-car space in front of him. It’s not in case the other guy brakes unexpectedly — though that’s a benefit — but because I am pretty sure the roads get a hell of a lot less snarled if, every so often, there is a break in my lane that lets other cars move in and out. I have read, and I believe, that a majority of traffic jams have everything to do with people fighting over a single spot, slowing down, and producing a ripple of slowdownification behind them. The block of anti-traffic I keep in front of me helps prevent those jams from starting, and helps attenuate any slowdown ripples that already exist. Because I am old fart and don’t feel like people will “take advantage” of the block of space I’m providing, it’s psychologically easy for me to do this; if someone slips in and stays there, I just gradually drop back and rebuild my anti-traffic block.

Here’s the Web site where I got the notion of anti-traffic, like almost 20 years ago: