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.