June 6, 2001
by Trisha Miller
Clutching coupons for free pairs of Nike's latest creation, the Air Jordan 16, more than 100 Portlanders descended on NikeTown Saturday, only to learn that their certificates were fakes.
The light-blue, swooshed certificates guaranteed that the holder and a friend would receive a pair of Air Jordan 16s on the shoe's launching day, June 2.
Too good to be true? Well, yes.
"It's really unfortunate, and it misrepresents Nike," says Kathryn Reith, senior manager of corporate communications for Nike. "But folks understood."
The phony certificates were hard for 8-year-old Hailey Hosler to understand. Last week, she and her grandmother, Carole Hosler, found a half-inch stack of the bogus coupons on the free mail shelf in the hallway of Hosler's downtown apartment building.
Not interested in the Air Jordans themselves, the two believed they had found an opportunity for philanthropy. The duo passed out coupons at Portland Rescue Mission, promising that the offer was bona fide.
The next day, they went down to NikeTown--where they discovered to their horror that the coupons were a sham. "I know I'm just a kid, but I really thought that I did something right by giving the homeless a chance to have some new shoes," Hailey says. "I felt horrible when I found out that it was all a hoax."
As for the coupon creators, Nike's Reith says she does not know who fashioned the fakes or why, but the incident has been reported to the Portland police.
"Someone spent a fair amount of time and went to a lot of trouble to punish NikeTown," Reith says. "Someone wanted to cause a problem."
-- Trisha Miller