Virtual Looting (Re: Free money from Bill gates! $400!)
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 100 13:28:55 -0800
Subject: Virtual Looting (Re: Free money from Bill gates! $400!)
X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649 -=[ Fun_People ]=-
From: Nabeel Robert Ibrahim <ibrahim@Stanford.EDU>
Subject: Re: Free money from Bill gates! $400! (fwd)
I saw this in the Mercury News a couple of days ago but didn't act on it
until yesterday. I went to Best Buy in San Carlos (off 101 near REI) around
3pm. When I arrived, I immediately noticed that the parking lot was
packed. I went inside and suddenly felt like I was in South Central LA
after the Rodney King decision. Hundreds of people were wandering around,
each carrying hundreds of dollars worth of electronics, software, DVDs,
books, etc. I made a bee-line to the digital camera section and asked to
look at one of the Fuji cameras they had in the display case. I told the
salesperson that this was the camera I wanted but she said they didn't have
any more in stock. "Well, how about this one," I asked, pointing to a
"It's also out of stock."
"Out of stock."
"What do you have?"
"Just this HP," she said, pointing to a $200 camera.
Are you kidding?!?! They must've had 15 or 20 cameras in their display case
and the only thing in stock was this cheap HP camera?!?!
"Hmm, can I get a raincheck for the Fuji?"
"No, the discount only applies to things that you buy today."
"Okay. How many of the HPs do you have in stock?"
I didn't hesitate any longer. "I'll take one of them."
"Hey, Nabeel." I turned around and saw Michelle, one of my friends from
Stanford. We stood there chatting for a few minutes about various digital
cameras. During the conversation, she told me that she had been there since
We were interrupted. "Excuse me. Is this the camera that you wanted," the
salesperson asked while holding up a box for a Fuji camera.
"Oh, well I just found it. This is the last one we have in stock."
I exchanged the HP for the Fuji, and Michelle and I went towards the front
of the line where someone was saving her spot. Displaying my typical lack
of shame, I cut in line so I could talk with Michelle. Boy, that was a
great decision. Despite the fact that there were only about 5 people in
front of us, we still had to wait about 25 minutes to get checked out. I
overheard the people behind us say that they had been in line for 3 1/2
hours. Michelle also told me various stories about people going to
McDonald's and bringing back food for their friends since the wait was so
long. And it wasn't getting any better for the people who joined the line
in the afternoon. I'm guessing that those who arrived at the same time I
did but went to the end of the line had to wait at least 5 or 6 hours.
Epilogue: I did get my $400 instant rebate, courtesy of Microsoft. I felt
a little bad about abusing an offer like this, but Microsoft was aware of it
and, as noted in the above article, they didn't feel it was a problem. Little
did they know how much the disdane for Microsoft and the love of electronics
would drive Bay Area residents to go nuts at Best Buy. And after two days of
this virtual looting, Microsoft announced that it was suspending the offer (as
reported in today's Mercury News).
© 2000 Peter Langston