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With your feet in the air, and your head on the ground . . .


{Tuesday, May 25, 2004}

This is kind of bizarre. I went online to try to buy a back brace, maybe an elbow brace, maybe an underarmour tee. I tried one store, didn't like the selection of back braces. I tried another store, and it had the exactly the same collection. Weird. Then I tried five other stores, and they all had exactly the same eight items under the category "back braces".

Check it out:

Dick's Sporting Goods
The Sports Authority
City Sports

Try the game yourself! Just find a sporting goods store on the web and search for "brace". Let's see just how far this conspiracy stretches . . .

Are all of these major national sporting goods chains owned by the same company? Do they sell exactly the same sets of items in their brick & morter stores? Is it just that they've all contracted out online operations to some other company, which sets up one store with a bunch of slightly different fronts?

There is, perhaps, a hint in the URLs for each of the links I list above. I didn't notice it until I was assembling this post, but they all read exactly the same, after the domain name; they're all of the form: "". The numbers are exactly the same for all the sites.

I want an SEC antitrust investigation . . .

More, though, I just want the back brace I liked the design of in the store, in the right size. It's got a "micro-suction" system that's supposed to wick moisture away from your skin, a key feature. It is apparently impossible to purchase on the web. It's made by Nike (yes, I know, shoot me, I'm supporting sweatshops), but I couldn't find back braces anywhere on their "niketown" store site. And it ain't one of the 8 braces sanctioned by this shadowy internet sporting goods cartel.

So anyway, in conclusion . . . WTF?!?

posted by Miles 5:00 PM

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