December 17, 2005
More Electronics Arbitrage?
Posted by Gordon Smith

XboxAfter Black Friday we discussed the reselling of "doorbusters" from Best Buy. Earlier today I passed the local Best Buy at about 3 pm, and six or seven young men were sitting in lawn chairs just outside the front door. They were waiting for the "second launch" of Microsoft's Xbox. According to this WaPo article, they could save themselves the trouble by winning an auction on Craigslist or eBay at about double the retail price.

And, of course, the Xbox "shortage" is said to be part of Microsoft's marketing strategy. Tim Hartford, writing at Slate, asks the obvious question: "Why don't companies raise prices when supply is short and demand is frenzied?" His speculations are worth reading.

By the way, temperatures in Madison today were in the single digits, and tonight's low is expected to reach -2 degrees Fahrenheit. With the wind chill, that will feel more like -10 or -15. I hope those camping shoppers are limber enough to pull out their wallets by tomorrow morning.

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