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Portables (Apple) Businesses The Almighty Buck Hardware Apple

Henrico County iBook Sale Creates iRiot 850

Posted by Zonk
from the not-a-pretty-sight dept.
pikester writes "What do you get when you combine 1000 used iBooks being sold for $50 and 1000 people desperately wanting to buy them? You get an iStampede of course! Add into the mix one guy who watches too much wrestling and one gal who re-lived her first Backstreet Boys concert by wetting herself and you'll being looking for video of the whole thing. CNN has some extra details as well." From the article: "Officials opened the gates at 7 a.m., but some already had been waiting for hours in line. When the gates opened, it became a terrifying mob scene. People threw themselves forward, screaming and pushing each other. A little girl's stroller was crushed in the stampede. Witnesses said an elderly man was thrown to the pavement, and someone in a car tried to drive his way through the crowd."
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Henrico County iBook Sale Creates iRiot

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  • by meditation_dude (907877) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:29PM (#13332559) Homepage
    ...Europe's soccer stampedes! Somehow it doesn't suprise me that it has to do with consumerism.
  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:30PM (#13332581)
    Whenever someone does something like this (selling something for much less than its value) scenes like these always happen.

    Ikea did this with a new store in the UK, selling a £500 sofa for £50 and mob scenes resulted, with people fighting in the aisles, people trampled and people stealing sofas off feeble old people who were unable to hang onto their purchase.

    When it comes to a bargain, I'm amazed people don't pack heat before setting off for the store.
  • by isotope23 (210590) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:51PM (#13332836) Homepage Journal
    this [cornell.edu]

    Article IV

    Section 1. Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.

    Section 2. The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states.

    or this :

    Amendment XIV

    Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.

    although one could argue the 14th was not properly ratified. Many "unreconstructed" southerners still hold the view that you are a citizen of your state first, and these united states second.

  • by E8086 (698978) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:54PM (#13332883)
    Was the sale advertised as a "laptop sale" or an "Apple ibook sale"? I wonder how many people got home turned it on and saw a completely unfamiliar OS? $50 is still a good deal for even a 4yr old laptop if you need one that just turns on, has an Internet connection, browser, email, a word processor and maybe a few games. A few months ago I gave my mother my 5yr old gateway laptop and she's had no problems with it, but not before spending $65 on a few upgrades and repairs to make it little more usable.
    the required Star Wars ref- maybe they should have hired some Star Wars fans to teach a "waiting in line class" first.
  • Re:more information (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jc42 (318812) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @05:06PM (#13333689) Homepage Journal
    Excuse me, but how does a decision to change suppliers of future purchases make currently owned equipment "of no use?"

    You haven't worked out many multi-computer deals, have you?

    The special-price deal they got with Dell probably included the condition that they get rid of all their non-Dell computers.

    Salesmen routinely make deals like this. Usually they're "privately-arranged" deals that are not explicit in the written contract. But the contract is carefully phrased so that they can legally demand more money if they discover any of the old computers on the premises. Some admins resist this sort of deal; many don't.

    (Dell and Microsoft aren't the only companies that play games like this. A year or so back, I got into a bit of a "discussion" with Apple's support people. They insisted that I disable the linux machines on my network before they'd help with a problem. The problem wasn't even related to the other computers; it was a difficulty getting a Mac to talk to a printer via an Airport Extreme. They wouldn't accept isolating the Mac+airport+printer from the network; they insisted that the linux boxes not be on the local network, and refused to talk to me until I disabled them all. This did backfire on them a bit, though. I recommended to management that we not use Apple equipment as infrastructure in in our network, and described this support problem as my reason. They accepted my recommendation.)

  • in Toronto/Montreal/Winnipeg/Vancouver, they all just stand around keeping away from other people. When the belts move, everyone stays still. Sometimes, people say "excuse me" and someone will move over and let them. There are no armed guards, and no one tries to steal your bag.

    I wanted to amplify this. I just flew from Vancouver to Toronto this past Friday, and while it took a while to get my luggage due to the plane landing at the IFT (Infield Terminal), it did give me a chance to stand around and watch the human animal.

    I have to say, watching these people at Canada's biggest and busiest airport, I felt pretty good about ourselves as a people. There was no pushing or shoving. Everyone did indeed stand two or three paces back waiting for their bags to show up. The only "event" was mostly a non-event: a petite woman who flew in from China with a suitcase that probably weighed as much as she did asked me if I could help her get her bag off the carousel (for which I had to say "excuse me" to a few people so I could manhandle it off).

    If I can generalize for a moment, in all of my travels the vast majority of people I see behaving badly in airports are Americans. Earlier this decade I was travelling back to Toronto from Schiphol Airport (in Amsterdam, The Netherlands). I had been warned by airport staff well in advance of my flight that it is a good idea to get into the line to get your passport stamped at least a hour before boarding time, so I did (actually, it was probably closer to two hours in advance -- I got there early, and was trying to enjoy a leisurely day).

    By the time I made it to the half-way point in line after about 30 minutes, a man and woman sudddenly forced themselves into line in front of me, mumbling something about their flight leaving in 20 minutes (note: they didn't ask -- they just shoved me out of the way while they jammed their luggage in front of me). I was cheesed, but to be honest I had lots of time, felt for their situation somewhat, and decided to say nothing. After all, I have that world-renouned "Canadian politeness" to live up to.

    And to be honest, at that point I didn't know that these people were Americans. Just minor league jerks. But then they spent the next half hour bitching about how they wouldn't have had to stand in line back in the US, and how terrible air travel is in the rest of the world.

    (Okay -- hint for those Americans reading this who have never been outside their own country: IMO, Schiphol Airport gets an A. It was very efficient, and the staff was super nice. Additionally, just try being a foreigner travelling at a US airport, and the situation is often much, much worse than what little wait these people had to put up with).

    By the time I had made it to the front of the line, I had let nearly a dozen more Americans into line in front of me, all of whom had arrived "just minutes" before their flight was to leave (or, in the case of one couple, as their flight was leaving). They all seemed to congragate around this woman who was (at this point) very loudly bitching about having to stand in a line at the airport. They berated the airport, the airport staff, and the whole country of The Netherlands in general. I was embarassed to admit I was from the same continent as these people.

    Now admittedly there were probably 20 or more other Americans in the line who got to the airport in plenty of time who were likewise embarassed by the actions of these people. But it seeems that every time I travel anywhere and run into someone behaving badly in the airport and ask them where they're from, it turns out they're from the US. You never see those people helping old ladies get their baggage off, or letting louts who arrived at the airport 10 minutes before their flight was to leave get into line in front of them because they arrived in sufficient time.

    So maybe it shouldn't be any wonder that the grandparent routinely sees people bahaving b

  • by adrianmonk (890071) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @06:38PM (#13334501)
    Who was the DUMBASS from this school's administration that decided to sell 1000 laptops for less than 1/15th of what they could have fetched on eBay?

    That's a very good question. I think the CNN article was a bit misleading in that it didn't describe the true market value of the actual laptops. Someone from the area has stated that they were 500MHz G3 laptops. A little research on eBay of completed items that are comparable indicates they would sell for something like $300 to $325 on average, depending on configuration.

    So, that's still $250 per laptop down the drain. Given 1000 laptops, that's $250,000 taxpayer dollars wasted if they could've gotten the real value for each one.

    Now, having said that, it takes time and effort to list things on eBay, and flooding eBay with 1000 similar laptops is likely to drive prices down. But still, there are companies out there who buy used computers in bulk and resell them. They probably could have gotten maybe $200 per computer from such a company, with no effort at all. So they are still wasting $150,000 even if they had gone the easy route.

    The worst part of all this is that $150,000 could pay, depending on salaries and the cost of benefits, for a teacher for 2 or maybe 3 years. Letting citizens get a nice break on a laptop is neat perk, but is it really worth taking $150,000 out of your school district's budget? And even if it didn't come out of the school's budget, is it really fair to the taxpayers who had to pay the money in but really don't need a laptop (or already have one, etc.)? It amounts to redistributing wealth, but in a totally arbitrary manner. If the school district is already so well-funded they really don't need the money, then what they should've done is sold the computers for a fair value and then sent rebate checks out to the taxpayers. Or, put it in a rainy day fund at the very least. Or establish a foundation, or a small scholarship.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @07:18PM (#13334807) Homepage
    Ahh reminders of exactly how big of assholes the people we share this planet with are :-)

    My first exposureto the reality that is my fellow human beings was when I was 18 at the DAyton Hamfest.

    A moron in an airplane threw a ream of papers out of the plane on a RAINY day each paper had a 1 dollar bill stapled to it. the ream of papers did not seperate, it fell as one brick 200 feet until it hit me in the head.

    What did my fellow humans and americans do? See if I was ok as I was lying there bleeding? Nope they trampled me trying to get to the one dollar bills.

    From that day on I learned that deep down, our fellow humans really are dirtballs and do not give a rats ass about anything but themselves.

    If anyone is suprised at all by thisthen they are either fools that have been insulated from reality or had an IQ below 60. (selling the ibooks for $50.00 tells me the latter was true)
  • by alexhmit01 (104757) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @07:43PM (#13334977)
    Generally, assets are depreciated over a set schedule. UNLIKE Tax accounting, where the IRS sets the depreciation schedule, for financial reporting and to some extent governments, can set the rules.

    For example, they may have decided that we buy these machines for $1250, will get four years out of them, then have a salvage value of $50. Therefore, we take $300/year in machine costs (the depreciation) and sell them at the end.

    Now, if a corp. sold them at the end for $200, then they would book $150/each. as a profit on disposed asset. But the school system has no concept, so likely sold them for the salvage value from 4 years ago... and that salvage value was probably based on previous laptop salvage pricing, ignoring that the Mac market tends to have higher salvage values.

    So it likely wasn't fraud, but rather a government official confusing accounting with reality.
  • by nelsonal (549144) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @09:31PM (#13335760) Journal
    An even better idea would have been to offer a reverse (dutch) auction with the price starting at $1000 or so, as the price ticks down, bid and take all you want at the current price. You can show up 2 minutes before the auction and get all the computers you want at the price you want, if it is above the market clearing price. If I'd known about this, I would have taken the day off and road tripped down to Richmond with a cooler or more full of cold sodas and iced teas and perhaps some snacks to sell. Then I'd have returned to the Apple store in DC and bought a new laptop with my proceeds.
  • Re:more information (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @10:16PM (#13335964)
    About the sponges:

    I suspect they cut them up into small shapes and use them for painting. You know ... they cut out a small star-shape, and a circle shape, etc., and then they press one side into some paint, and then dab that onto a sheet of paper. (Oh, and paper is probably one of the things the school has an abundance of, and cheaply.) Didn't you get to spend any time doing art-related stuff in kindergarten? You have my sympathy. You are right to ask about this stuff, but at the same time, maybe you should relax a little and have some faith in their willingness to let your kid be a kid. Just a thought.

    It's just kindergarten, not 9th grade. Believe me, by the 9th grade, you child is probably going to be wishing there was still some of that creativity left in his or her school system...
  • by spewey (853002) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @12:35AM (#13336613)
    You ignorant clod! There are six commonwealths. The former Trust Territory of the Northern Mariana Islands became a commonwealth in 1975.

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