Sneaker companies make billions and billions and billions of dollars and once in a while, they make a mistake in the customer’s favor. When this happens, you have to take them for whatever they’re worth in that transaction.
I’ve got dozens of pairs of sneakers. They’re all high-end stuff, though not necessarily all worth something on the resale market. I’ve paid full price for probably 75 percent of those sneakers. Almost NEVER does a company like Nike, adidas, or New Balance run a sale on their premium product so I’ve always paid whatever their ransom has been.
This is a short story about me catching a break at the expense of New Balance and fully acknowledging that they are amazing for not canceling the order and crushing my day in the sun.
On September 5, New Balance celebrated something called Grey Day. Grey being a flagship color that is associated with every important silhouette of sneaker the company has released. This day was an opportunity for the brand to capitalize on their recent resurgence and slight bump up in market share and they planned to do it by releasing various versions of their iconic sneakers that were part of an exclusive Grey Day drop.
The tease for the releases started happening across major fashion/streetwear/hype social media channels the week before Grey Day and among them was a unique take on the NB997, perhaps the most iconic New Balance kicks outside the famous 990. They make a few texture upgrades and moved the “New Balance MADE IN USA” from the tongue to the side of the shoe where it would normally bear the iconic “N” logo. Simple changes.
On the Monday before Grey Day, I happened to drop in to the New Balance app and noticed that the Grey Day sneakers were already showing on the site. I immediately tried to purchase, it only kind of worked? I was able to add to cart, but when I went to check out, the errors ensued. Not surprising. The shoes weren’t supposed to go on sale for another three days. Still, I was curious to see if there was a way through since it had seemed to work for a moment. I decided to visit the desktop version of their site for improved navigation abilities while I attempted to crack their system - if that was even possible.
On the desktop version of the site, I was able to view the shoe, but where it would normally give you the add to cart and size selection options, it simple said “Coming Soon.” Duh. After looking around for a few minutes, I came back to the page and noticed that the “Click’N’Buy” option was showing as available. Click’N’Buy is an option for people who have set up an account with New Balance and set up shipping and payment info in advance. If you have Amazon Prime, a Nike SNKRS account, or the adidas app, you can do the same thing. So, I clicked on that and the page began working. After a few seconds, I clicked away from the page and browsed the other upcoming Grey Day drops.
A few minutes later, I received an order confirmation email. I was confused and then extremely amused. So, supposedly I had just successfully ordered a limited pair of sneakers a full three days before they were set to be available. But it gets better.
I had placed a different pair of New Balance sneakers in my cart a week earlier, started checkout and then opted to not complete the transaction. A few hours later, New Balance sent an email with a 20 percent off offer to complete my cart. It turned out that the discount they offered a week earlier had been applied to my order. Also, because of a recent purchase, they offered free shipping for the month on my account. To recount where we’re at: Free shipping, 20 percent off discount, limited sneaker purchased on accident three days before the release date. Pretty good so far.
Nothing great comes easy, naturally. The same loophole that let me through, Click’N’Buy, became my nemesis. Just three days before the purchase, I had moved and the address set up for my auto-checkout was my old address.
I reached out to New Balance right away, but when they responded, it was somewhere between a form letter and “We know what you did, but we’re not gonna help you out any more than we already have.”
Long story short, I managed to pull off successfully receiving the package thanks to UPS and their excellent shipment tracking service.
Most of the time, spending money on sneakers is a losing proposition, but once in a while you get one over on the big guys. New Balance was cool enough to let it go down and honor the transaction. Oh, and they gave me another discount code, so let’s see what will happen next…