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.