The Trials and Tribulations of a Weekend Sneaker Campout
Just your typical Saturday morning release in Adelaide, Australia.
Words by Peter Moragiannis:
Many of us remember our first camp, its tough, its gruelling both psychologically and physically. It changes you, mostly for the better, as you realize that copping something that you really really want, sometimes takes days of endeavour and sacrifice. However the experience isn’t always negative, as one of the major benefits becomes the lasting bonds you can make with fellow campers and how these can blossom into lifelong friendships. Call it the bonds of going to war.
As you camp more and more for a release you gain knowledge and experience in how to overcome the challenges that a presented to you, how to endure and how to make best your time. Sometimes you are presented with a great camp vibe in relation to personnel, sometimes you are given a massive turd sandwich with miscreants and assholes who would benefit from a punch to the face. A camp is like your family relationships they are a mixed bag to say the least.
So the ROTY Jordan 1 release is drawing close, your trusted friends are planning the best course of action and you make your way to the camp and set up 24 hours before release, chairs in place first, then all hands on deck by midday, you settle in for the war, the first battle won, gaining strategic advantage of securing the first spots in the line.
Late night shopping in Rundle Mall means you are initially located in an alleyway, you interact with passers-by, you talk shit, you converse with fellow campers, you interact with rival or competing crews, you negotiate and you agree on outcomes and you settle in for the cold night ahead knowing part of the hard work is already done.
At 9.00pm you shift location, from the isolation of the alleyway you relocate to the high visibility of Rundle Mall, you set up camp once again like nomads traveling the desert for a better watering hole…
The Foot Locker Staff take a picture of the campers and they bid you farewell as they go home to their warm beds, while you and your fellow campers look forward to dodgy folding chair, being unprepared for the winter like conditions and the general uncomfortable hell that will come.
The camp also takes on a different dynamic, more question by curious onlookers, more banter, eating and hydrating readying yourself for the cold lonely hours ahead, you see some campers like to sleep, others like to chat, some like to roam, others zone out with their tech, it can be very lonely or it can be very social.
Fast forward to around 3am, some are sleeping, some have gone for a coffee, some are roaming the streets, we all understand that when you camp there is no expectation that you sit in your chair for the entire 12 hour period, the order has essentially been set, everyone knows where they sit in the pecking order of copping and generally most can doze off knowing that the negotiations and discussions which took place hours before will come to fruition in the morning, well you would think so…
At roughly 3am — 14 hours in to the odyssey — you decide you need a coffee, or you need to move your car to a closer location. You return to find a stranger in your midst, an unknown individual that has entered forbidden territory. An individual that looks as though they are at the front of the line, the same position you had secured so many hours before. As any curious camper would know, a lot of strange things happen during the witching hours — today was no different.
Was this the ghost of a lonely lost camper? One whose soul is eternally dammed to wait in line for the that next release, but never ever copping? Was it a lost late night reveller who was attracted to the bright lights of the Foot Locker foyer like a moth to the flame, or, god forbid, was this a dreaded line jumper?
It was the later.
As I sat in first place and was awake I found it was my duty to pose the question to our new found stranger:
“How are you? Are you lost”
“Are you lining up for the release?”
“This is the front of the line, the back is near Nike”
‘No Im in the front, I am first’
At this stage your sleep deprived mind has a very difficult time processing the information. First in line? I though I was first in line.
Am I dreaming? or is this reality?
“I’m sorry you are not first in line, there are 18 people who were her before you, can you please go to the back of the line so you don’t miss out.”
‘I’m at the front of the line, you were not here, the rules say you need to be here.’
Where the fuck did you come from?!
The rules say we are bound to a folding chair for 12 hours straight, condemned to piss our pants and no chance of stretching your legs, getting a bite to eat or moving the vehicle? Since when?!
“Look lady, we were here yesterday, at around 1pm, we have lined up for hours, there is proof of this, we are first, please got o the back so you dont miss out.”
‘I am first, I have photos. You were not here, you go to the back..’
The mysterious stranger then plugged in her earphones, signally she no longer desired any conversation. She proceeded to stand almost on top of my chair at the front of the cue and started talking in a strange dialect to some unknown ally on her phone. Confrontation is the last thing you want in a lineup — so things were tense for the next 5 hours.
You send messages to some colleges, who are fighting for cops in other states, on how they handle such situations.
“Punch her in the face”
“Tell her to fuck off”
As the release drew close, the stranger defiantly stood in first place. I was relegated to the bench like Carmelo Anthony in the middle of the mall. Even when I tried to sit, the stranger had the nerve to encroach on my personal space. Several attempts from a few campers were futile; words failed, words ignored by the headphone wearing, space encroaching line jumper.
Later the stranger would be visited by a male cohort, it would seem as though they also believed their female college was first in line, they even laughed together that they would get the first pair, the banter went back and forward, he swiftly moved on, we believe he was running a baby formula scam some 50 meters away at the Woolies or Coles; this was unconfirmed.
The stranger is also met by another older woman, assumed to be her mother (also unconfirmed,) however they chatted and stood firm at their place in the front.
While this was happening, our war council was discussing strategy. It was decided to leave the matter be, for now, and ask from time to time if they would move to the back and re-affirm that they will miss out if they don’t act soon. Photos had already been taken by Foot locker staff the night before.:The actual campers had been identified many hours previously from management and staff, this was all confirmable information.
Important intel, private only to the group, meant positions and people were already known. We knew the store’s release cut-off number and it was still not over for our stranger: they still had a shot at securing their pair had they lined up where they were supposed to.
It was decided to wait until prior to open for the manager to arrive.
The lovely Emma, Manager of Foot Locker Rundle Mall arrives, she greets us all and asks me:
‘How are you, how did you go?’
“See these guys here (two other line jumpers who previously indicated they had no interest in the release while mysteriously rocking Alt VI’s and the strangers mother) they jumped the queue and have been defiant for the last 6 hours, can you look at the photos and get rid of them”
Emma responded perfectly:
‘I sure will’
Emma returns with the photo, explains to the stranger and the others to move to the back, the latecomers did the right thing and went to the back, even apologized for their deceptive behaviour. But not our stranger — public enemy #1 as she was now known. She still declared she was first and that she has proof. Emma showed the photo. She didn’t care. As far as she was concerend, she was there all night. Emma offered her the option of going to the back to secure her pair: wasn’t interested. All logic and reason were lost on this individual. Emma was experiencing, for a brief moment, what we experienced for 6 hours.
However, as we had little power to make a change relying on camp etiquette and common human decency, Emma could act. She advised the stranger to either move on to the back or she will not be served. The stranger quoted store policy, stated defiantly that they were first, stood their ground would not be moved.
Mall Security were called.
Emma explained to her the etiquette of camping, that campers are not confined to their chairs, that they can get up and move (to go to the toilet, get a bite, grab a coffee or move their car. You know, the logical shit) and that Foot Locker had made its decision, was happy with the evidence and testimony of some dozen odd witness whom all categorically stated she was a line jumper. Security arrived and politely asked her to move on, again the stranger stood defiant. She wasn’t going anywhere.
By this stage what turned out to be an 18 hour camp was turning into a nightmare. On the last hurdle this stranger was holding up everyone. Bystanders were gathering and witnessing the fiasco, campers were restless and started speaking their minds.
You need to GTFO. WTF are you doing?! Just go . . .
The stranger still stood their defiant, quoted Foot Locker policy, that she was first and would be served. Mall Security called the Police. Mall Security also quoted Policy. Foot Locker had the right to refuse her entry and service and it was at the managers discretion — the manager had done this. If she now entered the store she would be trespassing and possibly arrested. Emma the Manager, to avoid a riot, let five of us in. The stranger followed.
Then, the cops arrive inside the store.
At this stage it gets a little hazy as the euphoria of copping kicks in, you cop your size, pay your money inspect the goods.
The cops are talking to the stranger, still defiant, still stating she was first. but lady, that horse had bolted. She was refused service and was escorted out finally by the Police.
We learn later this was her first camp. It is more than likely her final.
Although I wouldn’t be surprised if she tried again..
P.S. Love to all the crew who endured hard times for yet another cop.