What scam are these macbook box bandits running?
April 25, 2009 3:38 PM   Subscribe

We've had to buy five macbooks in three years because of a couple of apartment break-ins. Now we're moving (because of apartment break-ins). I put up the old macbook boxes up for free (seem too nice just to recycle) on Craigslist and got a surprising number of takers. Is there a scam here?

We ripped off the old serial numbers on the boxes, so that's useless for them. But I don't want to find out I'm giving away boxes so some jerk can sell his freshly stolen macbook (possibly my macbook) as "new in box." Is this something people do? Or do nice people need macbook boxes too? Thanks in advance.
posted by miniminimarket to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
...could be, but in terms of takers on craigslist, I find it very useful to save (or procure) the original computer boxes for the purposes of moving and storing them.
posted by lalalana at 3:40 PM on April 25, 2009

How much are people willing to pay? If it's $5 or something, they might just want an easy way to store/move their own computers. If they are paying more than that, it sounds like a scam of some kind to me.
posted by crapples at 3:42 PM on April 25, 2009

I was just looking for one, so that I could send my old Macbook to a friend across the country. It went into a larger box but I wanted the original box for security inside the peanuts. Here's one vote for pretty innocent purposes.
posted by barnone at 3:45 PM on April 25, 2009

If you're so worried about it, I'd do something like write your purchase date across the front of the box with permanent marker. People who want it for innocent purposes like shipping aren't going to care.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:52 PM on April 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Another point to consider: I bought my MacBook refurbished from the Apple Store (along with my last two Macs - comes highly recommended) and they ship in a plain brown cardboard box with an Apple logo. Might be people looking for a nicer retail box.
posted by porn in the woods at 3:53 PM on April 25, 2009

When I bought my MacBook I saved the box for a while since there was a chance I might've been moving. Apple's packaging is phenomenal and very strong. If these boxes also contained the original styrofoam supports I would jump on one if I was moving. For people who haven't unboxed a new Apple product, the don't just include packing peanuts or a couple of styrofoam supports, these packages are very, very well designed. I'm sure it's mostly for appearances, Apple wants you loving the machine from the time you open the box, but damn, they're good boxes.
posted by Science! at 4:07 PM on April 25, 2009

Its almost certainly for the purposes a re-using the box themselves or alternatively selling them on eBay. If you take a look at eBay listings for Mac products you often see empty apple boxes being sold for between 10 - 20 dollars. People want them either for posting their macs or when selling their own used mac which no longer has its original packaging. People are snapping them up from you for free because usually you have to pay hard cash...
posted by stumpyolegmcnoleg at 4:12 PM on April 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

In short - Original Apple boxes have intrinsic monetary value.
posted by stumpyolegmcnoleg at 4:13 PM on April 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

If I got five MacBook boxes I'd be really happy to round out my collection, which're used for storing Xmas ornaments. I expect them to last until the ornaments are handed down to the next generation; them's just plain good boxes.
posted by kmennie at 4:21 PM on April 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: @sickinthehead No, I don't think the same people will get the boxes. I just hate the though of giving boxes away to the kind of people who break into apartments.

Whoever did break in kicked in my door 20 minutes after I left the apartment, 3:30 PM on a Monday (I work from home). So maybe I'm paranoid, but having people watch when you leave your apartment will do that to you as well.
posted by miniminimarket at 4:24 PM on April 25, 2009

I just sold my old iBook on eBay and kicked myself that I didn't keep the original box. It was hard to find a substitute that worked right. I ended up using the styrofoam out of my MacBook box and a Dell box. I vote +1 for innocent.
posted by wingless_angel at 4:27 PM on April 25, 2009

Ripping the serial numbers off your boxes doesn't help with much. Would it not be better if you left them on? That way someone selling a (stolen) laptop has a non-matching serial number.
posted by rokusan at 4:34 PM on April 25, 2009

I bought a box for $5 once on eBay. It was because I lost mine and wanted one for shipping.
posted by rokusan at 4:35 PM on April 25, 2009

"Comes with box" usually adds ~5/10% to value for items being resold in my experience.
posted by SirStan at 5:06 PM on April 25, 2009

Tekserve, a large Apple reseller shop in NYC, has a trade-in program that specifies that having all original accessories (including the box), can raise the resale value by up to 35%.
posted by hooray at 8:27 PM on April 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Fanboys building a Mac box wall next to their pizza box towers.
posted by gnash at 8:32 PM on April 25, 2009

At home we like the boxes for moving stuff like books around. They're tough and hold a surprising amount of weight, but they're not big enough to overload.

Plus you can break them down and then put them back together inside out, so that it doesn't have pictures of an expensive Apple computer all over the outside.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 9:14 PM on April 25, 2009

I second writing in marker on the box. Maybe something like "A new computer does not live in here" in Magic Marker.
posted by nosila at 5:52 AM on April 26, 2009

Exceptionally cruel fakeout gift packaging? That's why I've kept mine, at least.
posted by wreckingball at 7:46 AM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

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