Sneakerhead Reality Check: Baltimore Sneaker Shop Recovery Fundraiser.
I’ve been wanting to get this off my chest for a few weeks now. In lieu of the recent riots that took place in Baltimore MD over the death of an unarmed African-American male in the custody of police officers, articles have popped up highlighting the looting of several sneaker shops within the city. One article in particular, posted by a popular sneaker blog (you can read it here) talked about a GoFundme campaign, started by an unknown individual, to help raise $50000 for the local sneaker shop “SportsMart” which suffered over 1 million dollars in damages. In turn, SportsMart’s owners, would donate the money to employees who are now without jobs, and to the Southern Baptist Church Senior Center which was burned down during the riots. This article set off a slew of reader responses criticizing both the campaign, its donors, and the boutique itself.
Comments ranged from “Isn’t that what insurance is for?” and “Why give a greedy company money when they have insurance policies?.. if they dont…tough luck.” to “FOH, ya’ll loot your city now want our money to rebuild?!?” Comments like these illustrates that many readers have no idea how insurance works and are unaware of the crippling effects looting, violence, and destruction of businesses has placed on the lives of their owners, employees, and the community as a whole. Baltimore already has a reputation for high crime rates, poverty, and financial deficiency. So to have more people lose their livelihood further destroys it’s infrastructure.
Let’s be clear, just because a sneaker boutique has insurance doesn’t mean they will get paid. Most sneaker boutiques are not multi-million corporations like Footlocker, DTLR, Villa, and Jimmy Jazz; they are individually owned and operated. Sneaker blog readers are not educated on how an insurance claim works. First there is a set dollar amount that insurance will cover, and the owner may have incorrectly undervalued/overvalued their store(s). Therefore they may have too large or too small a policy to reflect the stores worth. But let us assume a store makes a valid claim and had accurate coverage, there then comes a long claim review process before any money is distributed. This can take weeks, even months to be completed. By then a business can go belly up. Some insurance claims will be paid and others denied. In addition, some policies will not cover certain damages, products, or provide funds to help cover employees’ lost salaries/wages. This is why the Baltimore riots saddened and upset me. Fair, hardworking, innocent individuals lost their livelihood at the hands of the same people they served in the community. Employees left jobless, years of hard work gone in a matter of days. And possibly the worst thing is that those who participated in the riots did not once think of the lasting effects this will have on themselves and community down the road.
In conclusion, it’s easy to post ignorant, offensive, or rude comments on a sneaker blog, especially since you can say what you want anonymously online. But to assume every sneaker store has the wealth of a large corporation is just naive. Most business owners are not wealthy by any means and many may never be able to rebuild or recover. So if someone wants to donate to the campaign in any way, it is their right and I applaud them for it. Let us know your opinions below.