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Lines of Resellers Returning New iPads at Fifth Avenue Apple Store

A tipster sends us this tale of a trip to the Fifth Avenue Apple Store last night.
Went to the Fifth Ave store near midnight today, and saw that Apple was setting up a separate line just to handle the volume of iPad returns from Chinese resellers. The manager kept the separate line to ensure that regular customer's experience wasn't affected. Some people were returning up to 30.

A number of organizations have written about the reseller phenomenon, including the New York Times:
They show up in the early-morning hours: Chinese men and women, waiting silently and somewhat nervously outside of Apple stores in New York. On some days the lines they form can be a block long.

These are not typical Apple fans. Instead they are participants in a complex and curious trade driven by China’s demand for Apple’s fashionable gadgets — products that are made in China in the first place and exported, only to make the long trip back.
The resellers try to buy as many iPads as they can to resell them at a high margin, bit it seems that Apple has had success in fulfilling demand this time -- even selling more than enough iPads to the resellers. Apple Stores have a 14-day return policy, and it applies to all iPad purchasers.

Top Rated Comments

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Posted: 33 months ago
It's a real shame that a restocking fee doesn't apply in this case.
Rating: 59 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago
...and that's what you get for doubting Tim Cook's mad skills at locking down a supply chain.
Rating: 40 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago
They could have a 5 item return limit per day.

something to still accept them but make it a pain to do.
Track based on Driver's License or ID like Best Buy and pharmacies who can only sell X amount of allergy stuff.
Rating: 24 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago
Haha these idiots ****ing deserve it!
Rating: 24 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago

Uh, no... the only difference is that I've proved myself. Let's start with OS X. I have six certifications from Apple and I had to read and learn about 2,500 pages of information. I have 16 apps on the App Store (self taught objective-c, my first programming language) and I'm constantly being hired or asked to work. The IT department at my school has no idea what they're doing, even though it's their job, and I am always asked for advice. In middle school, the headmaster based some of his choices and opinions about the iPad pilot program based on what I had to say.

I really have better things to do than brag, which I'm not trying to do, but I can't express to you how much it angers me when I am put down and treated like a normal teenager. I don't know what you meant when you said that you knew more than everyone else at your age, as "most everyone does", but I'm not an idiot, so don't treat me like one. I'm sure I can stand in a store and explain to people why they should buy an iPad or help someone with computer problems.


In 1637, I was hatched on the planet Light Beer. In the 37 nanoseconds I spent in a gestation chamber I learned Kung Fu, the kazoo, and the wisdom of not biting my sister. By the time I had conquered the planet of the very lonely cantaloupe woman (microwave baby, microwave), I had already developed a 6th sense, being able to tell the difference between my ass, a hole in the ground, and a bucket of KFC - extra crispy.

Not long after, I invented Velcro and those obnoxious plastic blister packages. Within two millennia of my eleventy-first birthday, Liv Tyler pledged her undieing love to me. Orlando Bloom is still pissed about that.

P.S. do you seriously not recognize the irony in my "narcissism" comment and your response? Love ya though... I'm a life long developer myself. I would recommend toning down my boastful bravado. It's going to do you NO favors when you are out in the adult workforce that you are currently bitter to not be a part of.*

Chocolate covered advice #1: Be proud of your accomplishments, but try to keep your superiority complex in check.*Unless you are John Carmack or Tim Sweeny's understudy, your skill set is neither unique nor irreplaceable(we developers are EVERYWHERE)... you'll learn that soon enough should your behavior warrant the lesson. Nor does your experience give you ANY right to claim intellectual superiority over people you don't know. That sort of behavior? It's called narcissism.

But enough of this silly bickering. Keep at it man! Last thing in the world I would ever do is discourage someone from learning to code and stretch their mental muscle. Just save the chest thumping till you are a bit older, have learned a thing or two, and have had a few beers like me ;)
Rating: 22 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago

Uh, no... the only difference is that I've proved myself. Let's start with OS X. I have six certifications from Apple and I had to read and learn about 2,500 pages of information. I have 16 apps on the App Store (self taught objective-c, my first programming language) and I'm constantly being hired or asked to work. The IT department at my school has no idea what they're doing, even though it's their job, and I am always asked for advice. In middle school, the headmaster based some of his choices and opinions about the iPad pilot program based on what I had to say.

I really have better things to do than brag, which I'm not trying to do, but I can't express to you how much it angers me when I am put down and treated like a normal teenager. I don't know what you meant when you said that you knew more than everyone else at your age, as "most everyone does", but I'm not an idiot, so don't treat me like one. I'm sure I can stand in a store and explain to people why they should buy an iPad or help someone with computer problems.


Dude, you sound just like a normal teenager.
Rating: 19 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago

Why all the hate for the foreign entrepreneurs? They bought thinking that they could sell for a premium and now since they can't sell for a premium they are returning for the original cost. There is no dishonesty or bad dealing. Apple sells them to someone else. It's just transactions. What's wrong with that?

Also, in the US it's completely legal for a retail store to sell something and not provide a full (or any) refund if its returned -- i.e., restocking fee. Look at eBay -- sellers are free to sell "as is". The thing to remember, though (and I suspect this is the same in the UK), is that if a store says you can return a purchase for cash within 14 days (or whatever) then the store probably is required to allow the return.


Buying up the stock of an item from a store solely to try to scalp it to others for a ridiculous price is called "gouging" and "sleazy" not "being an entrepreneur." There's definitely something wrong with purposely trying to make sure legitimate customers have no access to an item they actually want, when these pigs had no interest in actually using the iPad in the first place.
Rating: 19 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago

While the article and tipster said "new iPads" I am just guessing but these are likely brand new iPad 2s being returned (or exchanged for iPad 3?) that were purchased before the new model came out. That makes sense.


I'm the tipster :) The returns were all new iPads. Most of them barely spoke English.

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If you look at eBay, after fees (ebay/paypal) and shipping, there's no profit to be made at all reselling iPads online.

Plus, Apple launched in HK on the same day, essentially shutting down demand for grey market export to HK.

These folks are just getting their working capital back. 30 ipads is a lot of cash committed.

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The China custom charge a higher import tax, as high as 130-140$. No surprise that they came to return. But surprised that those returners are young and pretty.


Young yes..... pretty.... well....
Rating: 17 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago

Uh, no... the only difference is that I've proved myself. Let's start with OS X. I have six certifications from Apple and I had to read and learn about 2,500 pages of information. I have 16 apps on the App Store (self taught objective-c, my first programming language) and I'm constantly being hired or asked to work. The IT department at my school has no idea what they're doing, even though it's their job, and I am always asked for advice. In middle school, the headmaster based some of his choices and opinions about the iPad pilot program based on what I had to say.

I really have better things to do than brag, which I'm not trying to do, but I can't express to you how much it angers me when I am put down and treated like a normal teenager. I don't know what you meant when you said that you knew more than everyone else at your age, as "most everyone does", but I'm not an idiot, so don't treat me like one. I'm sure I can stand in a store and explain to people why they should buy an iPad or help someone with computer problems.


I'm going to put you down because you're complaining you can't work retail when you can write software. This is like Babe Ruth complaining they won't let him sell hot dogs at the park.
Rating: 17 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago
This article just made my day.
Rating: 17 Votes

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