Bought an iPad. What to do?
March 18, 2011 11:16 AM   Subscribe

I made an on-the-spot decision to buy the last iPad 2 at Walmart. Do I sell it or keep it?

For a few months now, I've been seriously considering buying an iPad. When the new one came out, I decided to get one. I had my heart set on the 32 Gig Wifi ($599) model. I took a look at a few Apple stores, Walmarts, and Targets this week but everywhere was sold out. The guy at Target told me that due to the earthquake in Japan, further stock probably wouldn't be getting in for at least another month.

Yesterday, I was at Walmart buying some other things when I passed electronics. To my surprise, a lone iPad was sitting in the display case. It was a top of the line 64 gig Verizon model. I decided to snag it, thinking that I could put it up on Craigslist and make a little bit of money (or just return it). The guy at the store said they had it in the back this whole week but thought it was an old one. When they realized it was an iPad 2 they put it out, and I walked by less than 20 minutes later. Now that I have it at home, though, it's sitting in its box staring at me, and I'm beginning to think maybe I should just keep it, especially if my chances of getting the iPad I want are apparently so slim.

So, MetaFilter, I ask you: What would you do if you were in my shoes? I am able to afford the $600 model, but spending $950 (after tax and the case) definitely put me over my budget (though not terribly). I highly doubt I'll ever use 3G or fill up the 64 gigs. Is it wrong to scalp it?
posted by orangeseed to Computers & Internet (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Of course it's not wrong to "scalp" it; it's a good and people have the right to sell goods as they see fit (mostly).

Also, if you have your receipt, Wal*Mart will accept iPad returns with no restocking fee for 14 days.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 11:21 AM on March 18, 2011

Is it wrong to scalp it?

I'm really not seeing the dilemma here. If you want to own an iPad, keep it. If you regret your purchase, why not just return the damn thing to Wal-Mart? You're unlikely to make much of a profit on eBay.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:22 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

What does it hurt to put it up on craigslist for $1000 and see if you get any takers? Better sooner than later, while they're still in short supply. Typically, the higher end iPads are usually easier to find, so if you get a taker, even for $1000, I say go for it. You can always buy another ipad later if you want it.
posted by cgg at 11:23 AM on March 18, 2011

One thing you might consider doing is going on ebay and looking at what the going price is for a new, unopened ipad 2. Bookmark 4-5 auctions, let them play out and see what the average going price is. If it will net you a profit (after fees and such), then sell it there. If not, just return it to Walmart.

I can't imagine you'd make a profit on Craigslist because shoppers there are looking for a deal over retail price. If they have the cash (which all CL transactions should be), why not pay a lower price at the Apple/Verizon store?
posted by special-k at 11:28 AM on March 18, 2011

I think the waiting times are 3 weeks, right? It feels like there's not much opportunity for that much of a quick buck, but you can try.

I'd go with just returning it, myself. Assuming no restocking fee hit, that sounds like the decision you'd be happiest with, and make the purchase in the Apple Store and it comes when it comes.

I think if you were cool with keeping it you'd have zero buyer's remorse.
posted by artlung at 11:28 AM on March 18, 2011

Returning it to WalMart seems like the easiest and quickest solution.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:31 AM on March 18, 2011

and FWIW, I highly doubt there is any shortage of ipad 2 shipments. As I'm writing this, there are two FedEx semi fulls of ipads sitting in the back parking lot being unloaded to the Apple store next door.
posted by special-k at 11:31 AM on March 18, 2011

and FWIW, I highly doubt there is any shortage of ipad 2 shipments. As I'm writing this, there are two FedEx semi fulls of ipads sitting in the back parking lot being unloaded to the Apple store next door.

They've been in extremely short supply.
posted by proj at 11:37 AM on March 18, 2011

I see no moral issue with selling it. eBay has profitable auctions ending right now . . .
posted by MeiraV at 11:47 AM on March 18, 2011

Scalping an iPad you bought on a whim isn't immoral, but it isn't nice, either.
posted by lore at 11:52 AM on March 18, 2011

There's no moral or ethical boundaries being crossed here, so sell it. If you don't really want it--especially if it's too expensive--then there will be plenty of people willing to pay top dollar for it. Unless you need it for work, you can wait it another month.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:54 AM on March 18, 2011

I say sell it on eBay or craigslist (with care to prevent being robbed). If people are willing to pay that much because they can't or won't wait a little while, it's their choice. We're not talking about medicine people desperately need.
posted by ambient2 at 12:07 PM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I doubt you'll be able to make a profit on craigslist. Just return it to walmart.
posted by WizKid at 12:12 PM on March 18, 2011

There is nothing even remotely wrong with selling it for whatever price you can get for it. You own it fully. It is yours to do with as you like.

Scalping means to sell something illegally. This is not illegal. This is not scalping.
posted by jon1270 at 12:14 PM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Are you kidding? In Seattle at least, these things are selling for twice the sticker price. I am not advocating scalping (in fact, I've cursed the scalpers a lot this week), but to say there's no market is ridiculous.
posted by proj at 12:14 PM on March 18, 2011

Your chances of getting the iPad you want are not at all slim, provided you're fine with waiting a few weeks. Order it now online, try selling the one you bought, and if you change your mind, you can always cancel the order before it ships.
posted by Dragonness at 12:17 PM on March 18, 2011

The answer's pretty simple. You bought it for a lot of money, more than your budget, and everyone wants what you have. Sell it for at least the same price you spent on it (put it on auction) and buy yourself the iPad at a budget you wanted to spend. You have 14 days to return it, if you can't get a good price for it (doubtful).

posted by vincentv at 12:35 PM on March 18, 2011

If you don't sell it for more than it cost you, you'll be the only person in the iPad supply chain who didn't.
posted by mhoye at 12:47 PM on March 18, 2011 [4 favorites]

online wait is actually closer to five weeks now. scalp away - someone with plenty of money will just be glad to get their hands on one. if they're willing to pay for it, let them. it's an ipad, not food and shelter.

anyone who says there are plenty available has no idea what they're talking about.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 12:48 PM on March 18, 2011

spending $950 (after tax and the case) definitely put me over my budget (though not terribly)

>You're unlikely to make much of a profit on eBay.

iPad 2 64GBs are going for $1,100 to $1,600 on eBay right now.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:40 PM on March 18, 2011

Sell it and figure out what you really want after you have a stack of cash on your hand.
posted by darkgroove at 2:03 PM on March 18, 2011

This makes no sense at all. The item was purchased at a retail store, they own it. It's theirs to do with as they please. What does niceness have to do with it?

This argument makes no sense at all. It's perfectly possible to do things that aren't nice with your belongings. If I buy a can of paint, it's mine to do with as I please. If I use it to paint the words "Gary sucks and I hope he dies" on the side of my house facing Gary's house, I have done something that isn't nice with it. The fact that it's your property does not excuse you from behaving like a civilized member of society.

That said, I really don't think that making a profit by reselling a temporarily-scarce luxury item violates any social norms.
posted by baf at 3:24 PM on March 18, 2011

It's yours to do what you wish. Return it to Walmart (under their return policies), use it, sell it (yes, even for a huge profit).

I'd sell it on Craigslist. You'd likely get a nice profit. Don't let the jealousy distract you. It's not immoral.
posted by santaliqueur at 6:00 PM on March 18, 2011

If you don't want to keep it, it is wrong not to scalp it!

Every iPad2 that is being flipped over its retail price is teaching consumer electronics manufacturers and resellers a lesson about sourcing, distribution and pricing.

That lesson will help the buyers of iPad3, Wii1080p, and every other future-device-all-must-possess get their goodies sooner and easier.

(Helping yourself being the most effective way to help others is the very essence of Adam Smith's observations about capitalism and the public interest.)
posted by MattD at 7:24 AM on March 19, 2011

Curious how the quake in Japan is going to impact deliveries of an item made in China.

(Well - to be slightly less cynical, perhaps international shipping is being re-routed to bring aid to Japan instead of consumer goods to North America, I dunno)
posted by jkaczor at 3:56 PM on March 19, 2011

Sell it now before rumors of the ipad 3 begin.
posted by Kale Slayer at 9:25 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

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