What have we all become?

OK so maybe not all of us. But there is a worrying trend appearing on Twitter and the web in general. That trend is for buying end of line devices at a massive price reduction and the hysteria surrounding them.

Take the HP TouchPad, the HTC Flyer, HTC EVO 3D, LG 2X, Dell Venue PRO, Motorola Xoom, Samsung Nexus S and no end of other phones and tablets. All it takes is for a certain deal website to mention the latest deal and BLAM we are all struck down with an insatiable desire for a phone or tablet that no one wanted several months earlier. 


These devices are then all over the place, some people actually use them, some people hack them and install the latest software on them, some people give them to loved ones as presents to stop them from using their ancient Nokia. Then lastly we have the lowest form of life, the ones who buy as many of these devices as possible and sell them on Ebay for twice as much as they bought them for. Ebay seems to have a lot of people who missed out on the sale price and are still desperate to get hold of that phone and they bid like crazy. Their actions just show these unscrupulous sellers that they can buy cheap and sell big.

Who am I to complain though? Life is really only about love and money. These people are just making money.

The problem is the next time something is going cheap someone who last time only bought one phone thinks “I’ll get two, one for me and one to sell”, knowing full well they will probably get their money back on the second item. The next time they’ll get three or four. This then culminates in people buying tens of the things on credit card, knowing they are going to make some serious profit once they have shifted it all. Stock quickly dries up, leaving less for everyone else.

The worst example of this phenomenon was with the HP TouchPad which was rumoured to be heavily discounted at 6PM on a weeknight last year. Come 6PM me and thousands of others were sat logged into the PC World website hitting F5 on our keyboards waiting for the discounts. The prices dropped and then the whole Internet crashed (nearly), most websites that were even rumoured to have stock of TouchPads were almost instantly knocked out by thousands of people logging in. Sites such as Misco and Dabs didn’t stand a chance. I heard rumours of people getting many TouchPads at once and making huge profits. Ebay is still full of brand new unopened ones for a price much greater than they were selling for in the fire sale. It’s similar to the actions of ticket-touts, who grab stacks of tickets to concerts and events, leaving others with less choice.

Then this Saturday we spotted something on Twitter mentioning that Argos had dropped the price on the Nokia Lumia to a low of £119.99 which was absurdly low. People were saying that it must be a mistake, yet still hundreds of people set about ordering as many as possible so they could make a profit. It all ended it tears though, as Argos used their cleverly worded terms and conditions to cancel all of the orders.

Will this phenomenon ever end? Have you spotted any good deals today? Would you rather not hear about deals? Is it just our desire for gadgets and bargains that is the root of the problem? I don’t think this will ever end, it is just easier these days to buy and sell stuff. It’s not like years ago where you would have had to camped outside Tandy and then sold you car boot full of discounted Walkmans in the local pubs.

Nokia Lumia ads upset Ofcom
Nokia Lumia sales looking promising
  • If you have the money to buy them and are lucky enough to be able to get hold of them, then why not. I don’t have much of a problem that someone takes two cans of beans off the shelf at tesco and then leaves me none. That’s the chance I take living in a democratic society where I can buy as much or as little as I can afford. 

  • If you have the money to buy them and are lucky enough to be able to get hold of them, then why not. I don’t have much of a problem that someone takes two cans of beans off the shelf at tesco and then leaves me none. That’s the chance I take living in a democratic society where I can buy as much or as little as I can afford. 

    • James Pearce

      What if there were only twenty tins of beans left in the whole world. Then one rich guy bought half of them and sold them all at a massive profit.

    • James Pearce

      What if there were only twenty tins of beans left in the whole world. Then one rich guy bought half of them and sold them all at a massive profit.

      • then that would be, er… Life??

      • then that would be, er… Life??

  • John

    In these economic times everyone’s after a quick buck. Can you blame them? In my honest opinion you’re fast or you’re last. It seems pestamistic and cruel but its the way life is at the minute… maybe one day it’ll get better

  • John

    In these economic times everyone’s after a quick buck. Can you blame them? In my honest opinion you’re fast or you’re last. It seems pestamistic and cruel but its the way life is at the minute… maybe one day it’ll get better

  • It does annoy me that profiteers, not users mass purchase these things, Democratic ?, perhaps, morally bankrupt, certainly!

    • James Pearce

      Very true Mark. The TouchPad debacle really showed us how low people can stoop.

    • James Pearce

      Very true Mark. The TouchPad debacle really showed us how low people can stoop.

  • It does annoy me that profiteers, not users mass purchase these things, Democratic ?, perhaps, morally bankrupt, certainly!

  • Anonymous

    You snooze. You lose!

    Might help if retailers enforced a one per customer limit.

  • Anonymous

    You snooze. You lose!

    Might help if retailers enforced a one per customer limit.

  • The_Prof

    From my point of view, the problem is generated not by the so-called ‘profiteers’, but by the stupid public who give them the money!  You can’t really blame somebody for taking advantage of people with more money than sense. 

    If a manufacturer drops the price of a device to, say, £150.00, when it originally sold for £399.00 or more, it suggests to me that they’ve looked into it, and thought that’s the maximum price they can shift the whole lot for.  Now if somebody comes along suddenly willing to pay twice that much, then more fool them!  Also, selling this for a third of the price suggests that it was far too expensive in the first place, and maybe if they targeted the market at £250.00 they’d make a killing anyway, and the whole supply/demand thing would balance out. 

    I was amazed when the first Galaxy Tab came out shortly after the original iPad.  I had a go of it in the shop, flicked the screens back and forth, and very quickly came to the conclusion that at the SAME PRICE as the iPad, it simply wasn’t worth it.  It felt clumsy, looked clumsy, and made you wonder what the hell they were smoking trying to compete in the same price bracket.  If it was £100 cheaper.. yeah I could understand that – and might have considered it on that basis. 

    The economics of the electronics industry are so heavily skewed by the massive companies, and it’s becoming clear that they generally have issues competing with the market leader – Apple – who sells things at what seems to be top-dollar, yet no other company seems to be able to produce something with the same level of desirability, with price factored in.  This is why I believe the Amazon tablet to be the next big thing over here when it’s released – similar functionality and speed for a fraction of the price.