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A Stampede for $50 Laptops August 17, 2005 – 6:42 p.m. – Permalink

Witnesses likened it to the running of the bulls.


“All in the name of getting a bargain.” In Virginia yesterday, the Henrico County school system offered to sell used Apple iBooks for only fifty dollars at the Richmond International Raceway. Unfortunately, they got much more than they “bargained” for.

The news had traveled fast, and customers were eagerly waiting at the doors as early as 1:30 a.m. in the morning. (1:30 a.m.!) Officials of the store opened the doors at 7 a.m., two hours early, but it quickly became what many have called a near–riot. The line was almost a kilometer long, according to the BBC World News.

The crowd thrust forward, pushing and shoving and throwing people to the ground. An elderly man was shoved to the pavement. A teenager lost her shoe. Numerous others were injured, but minorly. By 1 p.m. all of the iBooks had disappeared and the Henrico County police estimated that 5,500 people had showed up for a single laptop sale. Some claim as many as 12,000 may have showed up.

Sgt. A.J. Scott trying to keep people from rushing in the store.

One woman, Blandine Anderson, even wet herself while attempting to get through into the store. She and her sons had arrived at 4:30 a.m. and waited in line for the store to open. Another young man had brought a folding chair to threaten people who tried to cut him in line.

The reason for the sale was that the Henrico County school system was switching to Dell to purchase their laptops instead of Apple. The Apple laptops were four years old.

It’s great to see that laptops have gained so much popularity in recent years and that these kinds of sales occur, but what happened over in Richmond was insanely outrageous. They’re only laptops – you could just buy one later. I sincerely hope that there will never be this sort of chaos when Windows Vista comes out.