ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

When demand exceeds supply . . .

When the Henrico County School System in Richmond, Virginia wanted to dispose of some 1,000 4-year old Apple iBook laptop computers, it came up with a great idea ---- why not set up shop at the Richmond International Raceway, and sell them to the public for $50 a pop?  The computers would be available at 6 a.m. the day of sale on a first come, first served basis.  However, they likely didn't anticipate the crushing response.  People arrived shortly after midnight to wait in line.  As the day wore on, baby strollers got trampled, people got thrown to the pavement, folding chairs were used as weapons, and a car was driven into the crowd.  One woman, having waited since 3:30 a.m., decided that her place in line was more important than, um, leaving to use the bathroom. 

From the article: "It's rather strange that we would have such a tremendous response for the purchase of a laptop computer -- and laptop computers that probably have less than desirable attributes," said Paul Proto, county general services director. "But I think that people tend to get caught up in the excitement of the event -- it almost has an entertainment value."  All of the computers were sold by noon the day of the sale.

[Wayne Barnes]

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