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Portables (Apple) Businesses The Almighty Buck Hardware Apple

Henrico County iBook Sale Creates iRiot 850

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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  • more information (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ankou ( 261125 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:29PM (#13332557)
    I had submitted this article this morning, with a little more information in case people were interested here is what I had posted:
    Henrico Co. Schools of VA [] decided to change laptop suppliers at the end of their contract with Apple, opting instead for a contract deal with Dell and Microsoft. The result was a couple thousand laptops of no use. In a first attempt, Henrico Co. [] was going to sell laptops in a free for all at $50 dollars each, but subsequent meetings and enraged tax payers made them change to limiting the sale (at least this first sale) to Henrico citizens and tax payers. The sale occurred at the Richmond International Raceway [] where 1000 laptops would be given on a first come first serve basis with proof of residency/tax payments. The facilitators of the event decided to close the main gates of the area until 7 AM and begin the sale at 9 AM. This did little to deter people arriving as early as 1 AM and circling the area until the main gates opened. At 6:54 AM the main gates were opened and a massive stampede of over 12 thousand attendants for the event fought to be the first in line. Injuries (albeit minor according to the Times Dispatch) and chaos ensued. One unconfirmed report I was given by an attendee was of a lady who.s ankle was broken and her baby carriage trampled by the sheer number of people shoving to get through the gates. Police support was supposedly small with off duty officers working, the event planners obviously underestimating the popularity of this event. The details of the event [] including the specs for the iBook (12 inch, G3 500 MHz) can be seen at this posting on the Henrico Co Schools website. In the fall there is to be another sale of which no restriction will be made on buyers, but after today.s incident, one could only imagine that it will differ highly from the chaos of today. Photos of the scene can be viewed at the article in the Richmond Times Dispatch website [].
  • by 0110011001110101 ( 881374 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:30PM (#13332579) Journal
    i posted this story earlier, heres some better links than CNNS regurge crap

    local richmond newspaper link []

    another local link with slideshow pictures []

  • by raolin ( 512968 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:30PM (#13332583)
    As geeks living in the area my friends and I were interested in getting some cheap computers to set up as servers and various low intensity jobs. The local papers and Henrico County made such a huge deal over this that I am really not that surprised by the turnout. They were selling off used and discarded low end macs, and making it sound like the deal of a lifetime.

    I personally think the county would have been better off finding a way to distribute them to low income families and possibly offering classes in their use, but what do I know.
  • by kat11v ( 848737 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:35PM (#13332644) Homepage
    Something similar happens here in Canada during boxing day sales at Futureshop (owned by BestBuy if I'm not mistaken) and A&B Sound.

    The lineups start around 5am and there's a huge rush to get in once the doors open, grab the first thing you see that is mildly appealing and buy it "cause it was on sale, see?". My sister-in-law who works as a sales-clerk at Futureshop usually comes home absolutely exhausted after the 12 hour shift that they make them work that day. The funny thing is, you can usually get better deals during regular, non-rush times of the year if you just keep an eye out for them.

  • by 'nother poster ( 700681 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:40PM (#13332709)
    That's because they are citizens of their state. they ar also citizens of their country, county, and city. For the GP here is a definition of citizen.

    citizen ( P ) Pronunciation Key (st-zn)
    A person owing loyalty to and entitled by birth or naturalization to the protection of a state or nation.
    A resident of a city or town, especially one entitled to vote and enjoy other privileges there.
    A civilian.
    A native, inhabitant, or denizen of a particular place: "We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community" (Franklin D. Roosevelt).
  • by Peyna ( 14792 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:44PM (#13332757) Homepage
    According to the 14th Amendment, "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."

  • by 'nother poster ( 700681 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:45PM (#13332774)
    They are a state. Commonwealth just means that they are a state that has their form of government based on the republic model.
  • by bubblewrapgrl ( 189933 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:47PM (#13332786)
    Being a Henrico county resident, I tried to go to the iBook sale this morning. I have younger siblings who could use a computer and this was a pretty good deal for that.

    I got to the Richmond International Raceway where the sale was held at 6:55. It was pretty obvious to me that there was no way I was getting a laptop based on the number of cars trying to get in and the number of people lining up outside. So I left. The police were doing their best to try to keep the siutation under control, but you could tell that it was rapidly getting out of hand just because there were too many people. Driving back home, I think there was at least a good mile or two of cars still trying to get into the sale. I can't imagine how long those people ended up sitting there.

    I'm not sure why more people didn't just decide to leave when the saw the number of people there. I'm also not sure why the county didn't make the price higher. Having it at $100 - $200 would have made a lot of money back for the county and would have discouraged a lot of people. This has to be a net loss in profit for them based on the number of police officers that were there. It could have been handled much better.

    Rumor has it that there may be more laptops laying around (they did give one to every high school student in the county and only sold 1000). Hopefully, they are smarter next time. I guess at least I know where my tax money is being spent...
  • I was there! (Score:5, Informative)

    by The Grey Clone ( 770110 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:51PM (#13332834) Homepage
    I happen to live in the Henrico area, and honestly - a fifty dollar computer is a deal you can't beat. I went there with my mother and my sister, however, after people started running, I just wanted out. I only stayed for my sister.

    It was chaos. The first people who started running, I don't know what they were thinking, but after that, you HAD to run. There is just something about 12,000 people running at you from behind that kind of makes you run away.

    Ended up getting stuck in a huge crowd for several hours, left when the police in riot gear started telling us they only had 300 left.

    I don't know if imageshack likes Slashdot or not, but it's worth a try.

    I took some pictures of the crowd, I'll post them if anyone is interested. Mine aren't as good as the ones from the times dispatch, but they gave a decent view of how many people were packed in.

  • Aftermath of fraud? (Score:5, Informative)

    by tgibbs ( 83782 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:57PM (#13332912)
    Of course, the true problem is that the iBooks were sold at a price well below their true value.

    My theory is the following: To get the money to purchase new laptops from Dell and Microsoft, somebody had to represent that the existing, perfectly-good iBooks were obsolete and near-worthless. If they had been offered at auction, they would have sold at a much higher price, exposing the fraud. So instead, they were offered to the public at fire-sale prices. The riot was the predictable outcome.

    In fact, it is hard to imagine what student use would have required anything more powerful than a 500 MHz iBook. The only one that leaps to mind is video editing, and somehow I doubt that a large number of students needed to do that on their laptops.
  • Re:I was there! (Score:5, Informative)

    by The Grey Clone ( 770110 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @04:02PM (#13332974) Homepage
    Some of my own pictures! I don't know how much imageshack likes Slashdot, but oh well.
    There [] was some sort of line that was formed by the people ariving early in the morning.
    But [] then people started just ignoring the line and wandering around, even forming a second line!
    After [] the mob rush, we got stuck in the huge [] crowd [].
    The people formed a line [] several thousand [] people long!
    Then, the cops in riot gear started doing crowd control, brought in lots of metal baracades [] way too late. There is no way the Henrico County earned money on this sale. There were people getting heat exhaustion, the palms of my hands were turning white from lack of oxygen. It was just horrible, and the worst part of it was that if someone moved, you had to move too. Even if you didn't want to.
    Yeah, it was a riot. Maybe not to the scale of the LA ones, but dayum.
  • by tigris ( 192178 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @04:07PM (#13333016)
    It's a state. There are only 4 commonwealths. []
  • by jangobongo ( 812593 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @04:22PM (#13333196)
    The Henrico county residents convinced the school officials that they were entitled to the laptops because their taxes had paid for them in the first place. That's why the purchaser's had to bring proof of residency in order to buy them.

    After four years of use by public school kids, I wonder what kind of shape the iBooks were in. In my experience, kids are very hard on the things they get their hand on.

    I got the feeling that the county school system was trying to "give back" to the community. Too bad it backfired on them.
  • by stefanlasiewski ( 63134 ) * <slashdot&stefanco,com> on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @04:28PM (#13333250) Homepage Journal
    sold at a price well below their true value.

    If I read the articles correctly, the local taxpayers asked the school district to sell the Laptops for cheap, since the local taxpayers already paid for the laptops.

    The real problem is that none of the organizers never thought of cancelling the sale-- when you look out the gate and see 5000+ people, maybe the thing has gotten out of hand and it's time to cancel the sale.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @04:30PM (#13333263) Journal
    They were not 7 year old laptops, they were 4 years old. This makes them either 500 or 600MHz machines - more than adequate for most uses. I have friends who still use 500MHz iBooks for day-to-day work - they're fine for pretty much anything other than scientific computing, high-end gaming, video editing or large compiles. They will run Tiger, but if they are CD-models you will need to pay extra for the CD version. They support a maximum of 640MB of RAM, and it's well worth the upgrade - my girlfriend has one and was complaining it was slow with 128MB, with 512Mb it's very responsive and does everything she needs it to.
  • by JabberWokky ( 19442 ) <> on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @04:33PM (#13333300) Homepage Journal
    No. I just moved from the state of California to the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I work (telecommute) out of the territory of the Virgin Islands. There are 46 states, 4 commonwealths, 1 district, and several territories and dependant regions. Various categories have different rights - territories have representatives that can only vote on issues in committee, while states and commonwealths can vote on the floor of the U.S. Congress. The District of Columbia has no representation, as their license plates make clear (they read "No Taxation without Representation", and it's a sore issue).

    Since commonwealths have the same rights as states, they are generally lumped in together and "state" is often used to refer to the commonwealths - even inside them. But you do see "commonwealth" used quite often as well, as that is the proper term.


  • by cOdEgUru ( 181536 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @04:44PM (#13333408) Homepage Journal
    My Good Lord, I almost relived "War of the Worlds" where people start killing each other for a spot on a Van.

    I got there around 5:45 and the crowd was already over a 1000, snaking along the road for half a mile. It got worse as it got near to 7:00 when the gates were supposed to open. There were hardly 4 law enforcement officers near the gate and even they were hardly prepared for the onslaught at 7:00. More over, even after having over a month to prepare, there was hardly any planning. They could have let people in to the Raceway which had a huge parking lot and used barricades to create a maze like queue. I am positive people would have respected that, but they made people wait in unmanaged queues outside the gate. They could have opened just one gate, and let people trickle in. Instead they opened two gates, one wide enough for cars waiting outside to enter (which they did plus hundreds waiting to pounce) plus they flung open the gates where people were waiting and you bear witness to what ensued by looking at the slideshows on Times dispatch. People ran like as if a pack of hellhounds were at their heels and in less than 30 seconds a "queue" (if you can call it that) formed outside the entrance to the facility which was more like 10 queues side by side.

    People were fainting all around us, fire department did what they could. Swat team in riot gear assembled towards the back of the facility, willing to step in to do what they can if things get more worse. There were still less than 10 law enforcement officers in regular attire trying to manage the crowd. People were unruly, cussing and dropping like flies around us as the heat picked up.

    Towards 9:30, authorities realized they need a plan and put together some barricades and started channeling people inside the facility. It was another 3 hours before I got in and got my hands on one. I am sure Steve jobs will be licking his lips in anticipation of 1000 odd users foraging through his stores..

    Anyway, this was an event that went to hell in a handbasket in 10 seconds straight. Due to bad planning or lack of it, something that could have been organized to the point where the whole thing should have lasted a couple of hours, it turned out in to a free for all, where people, regardless of their social status put a lid on their conscience and returned to more basic instincts.
  • by damiangerous ( 218679 ) <> on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @04:46PM (#13333429)
    Meanwhile, in Sudan, Ethiopia, Niger etc. many people who are starving are patiently waiting for food supplies to be handed out.

    Huh, last time I was in Africa (in the military) we were providing security for relief agencies handing out food to those patient, peaceful people. I felt in danger of my life many times, just from them. Nevermind the roving packs of armed thugs and "warlords" whose hands those supplies would have ended up in where we not there.

    I suggest you shut your fucking hole until you get a clue about the world.

  • by tgibbs ( 83782 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @06:03PM (#13334235)
    Have you ever tried to support a 7-year-old computer? These aren't quite that old, but they're old enough that they are getting hard to support. You can't run modern software on them, and it's not like there's an "Old Software" catalog you can order from to get programs.

    I've got an even older 366 MHz "clamshell" G3 computer. It runs the current "Tiger" version of OS X and all modern software. Only thing missing is some of the fancy "eye-candy" graphic effects with Expose and Dashboard.
  • by log0n ( 18224 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @08:10PM (#13335183)
    Having worked in a public school system that has collaborated on tech projects with Henrico Co Schools...

    Making ANY money off of reselling these laptops is a good thing. Most of the time end of life gear is destroyed (along the systems legal definition).

    There are VERY strict rules about reselling 'expired' goods. These are set by both county/district mandate as well as Board of Ed policy. The few things that are allowed to be sold / non-damaged generally have to go through a review (to determine why they are being destroyed - or why they no longer serve as intended) have to go to public auction and there are very few goods that get to this point. The fact that they were able to recoup any cash whatsoever is a major policy shift.

Civilization, as we know it, will end sometime this evening. See SYSNOTE tomorrow for more information.