by Steve Jaconetta
It's common these days for people to make their sneaker deals public. You no longer have to deal strictly online, only to wait for your shoes to come in the mail. Now, lots of people try to avoid anything that can delay their transaction in any way, shape, or form. There's also the fact that meetups cut out the middleman and help sellers avoid fees associated with platforms like eBay. But with these meetups come risks, and we’ve seen far too many problems in recent times to ignore this issue.
Sneaker violence is very real. People have been robbed, beaten, and even murdered at sneaker meetups. For every legit person out there, a shady one is waiting. So, if you do decide on doing a meetup, check out the tips below in order to make sure you're as safe and prepared as possible.
Never go alone.
This is simple. Take someone with you. Or better yet, bring multiple friends along. Showing up with people prevents you from being an easy target, and could prevent a problem from happening in the first place.
Go somewhere public and safe.
Never do a meetup at a house, whether its yours or the party you’re dealing with, because you never know what could happen in an isolated setting. Malls and police stations are some of the best public places to go. But, avoid parking lots because even though they’re public, they’re not very secure. Police stations and malls typically provide multiple levels of security thanks to closed-circuit cameras and guards on duty. Malls also have the benefit of being filled with people in case you need witnesses.
Ask the person you’re dealing with for references.
Be respectful, but check out the person you are dealing with beforehand. Give them a call to see if they’re real, and go one step further and ask for references. Make sure that any eBay feedback they might have isn’t all from the same buyers who happens to live in their same town. Also check their feedback if they are on forums and try looking into their social media profiles.
Bring a counterfeit pen, meetup at a bank.
If you are dealing with cash (which isn’t the best idea), it’s always a good idea to bring a counterfeit pen with you. If not, suggest meeting at a bank. This not only offers a safe environment, but it gives you a way to ensure the validity of the cash exchanging hands.
If you don’t go the bank route, suggest using PayPal. Whether it’s $20 or $200, try not to bring cash with you at all. This way you can meet up, make sure everything is good, and then pay the person instantly via your mobile device. A win-win for everyone.
Know your shoes, or bring someone who does.
Check out all the pictures of the sneakers you are interested in. Ask for more, and don’t be shy. You can even ask for tagged pictures with the person’s username and a date. If you’re unsure about authenticity, ask a friend or better yet, bring them with you to inspect the goods in-person.
Meet during the day.
Sometimes a person’s schedule plays a big factor on planning a meet up. But if you are flexible or have options, suggest doing it during the day. The cover of darkness provides just one more chance for things to go wrong.
Be careful what you wear.
When going to a meetup, it’s wise to not wear your best heat. If someone is willing to rob you for one pair, they probably wouldn’t hesitate to grab a second. You also shouldn’t put on a pair of Timbs or slide into some flip-flops either, in case you need to leave in a hurry. The best idea is to wear something that will draw less attention and make it easy to get to a safe place if a deal starts to go south.
Only use them as a last resort.
Simply put, meeting up opens up a whole lot of possibilities for trouble. If you can do it the old fashioned way, paying online and shipping the shoes, use that method. PayPal and your credit card company should do a reasonable job of keeping your money safe. If a meetup is really your only option, use this checklist to make sure you cover all the bases.