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 http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet...=1031784478882


iBook sale creates chaos


BY OLYMPIA MEOLA AND ALEXA WILLIAMS

TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


Aug 17, 2005


Chaos erupted yesterday morning at Richmond International Raceway as people stampeded through the gates in a rush to buy used iBook laptops for $50 each.


Mothers clutched their children for protection, people screamed as they were knocked to the ground, a stroller was demolished, cars inched through the crowd.


"I can't believe people are so barbaric," said Grace Wang, a rising senior at Henrico County's Godwin High School.


The crowd started forming at 1:30 a.m. as Henrico residents and taxpayers began to arrive. By the time dawn broke, people on foot had formed a line half a mile long. Others waited in cars parked nearby or milled about the entrance to RIR. An official estimate put the crowd at 5,500. Other observers estimated a crowd size more than twice that.


When gates opened just before 7 a.m., the crowd had already grown surly, many in the crowd yelling to police officers who said they were just trying to keep people from "inciting a riot." When the gates swung open, the stampede -- literally -- began.


"We were just coming in the door and everyone was just pushing," said one J.R. Tucker High School student who was sitting on the ground with a bloody foot after getting caught in the rush. "We just fell down and everyone trampled on us."


Several people sustained minor injuries. One person was taken to the hospital with a leg injury, Battalion Chief Steve Wood said at an afternoon news conference. In all, 17 people were treated, the majority for heat- or diabetic-related problems, he said.


Inside the gates, a second crush surged outside the warehouse where the laptops were being sold as people pushed to get through the door. Police struggled to keep the crowd under control and relieve pressure on those at the front.


Lester Caudill consoled his crying 14-year-old daughter outside the warehouse, while waiting for a family member who made it inside. He said his family had waited at the gate since 3 a.m.


"It's like the people are going to die if they don't get a computer," he said. "This is like the last chopper out of Saigon."


The scene calmed significantly when police back-up arrived and barricades were erected. Inside the warehouse, the pace slowed and people civilly purchased all 1,000 laptops for sale.


The schools are getting a new fleet of Dell laptops for high school students and teachers next year, so the county sold some of the Apple iBooks used by students during the past four years.


The sale was originally to be open to the general public but Henrico supervisors changed the county code to give residents or taxpayers first dibs.


Paul Proto, director of general services for Henrico, said he believes the county took all the necessary measures for the sale. Organizers anticipated a crowd and arranged for five off-duty officers to monitor the gate. Back-up officers were soon called.


"What occurred at the gate was unfortunate," Henrico police Chief H.W. Stanley Jr. said. "If we had had 100 officers at the gate we would have had a problem."


Police spokesman Lt. Doug Perry said many responsible residents turned out, but apparently so did some irresponsible ones.


"A few bad apples forced their way in and caused some people to be injured," Perry said. "Our officers immediately took control of the situation with the resources we had here."


Some who had waited criticized the event's organization and offered suggestions, including shutting down the sale amid the chaos or employing another sale method. Proto said setting a firm price is the typical method of selling surplus computer equipment and that auctioning or soliciting bids for the items were not practical options.


Some people managed to make money off the sale -- one man sold his laptop on-site for $200. An eBay entrepreneur was offering 100 T-shirts for $7.50 apiece that read: "I went to Henrico County for a $50 iBook . . . but all I got was kicked in the [vulgarity]." By 7 p.m. a dozen had been ordered.



Polling Questions


Donetta Graham, still recovering from a recent back surgery, arrived at 5:30 a.m. to purchase an iBook for her disabled daughter. In line, she was felled by dehydration but maintained her place with the help of a stranger who donated a chair.


She said she was about 10 people away from the warehouse door when the iBooks sold out.


"I'm crushed," she said. "I wanted a computer for my daughter so badly. That's her saving grace -- she's really good on the computer."
 

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I was there and the papers did not due the scene justice. It was a complete zoo, the police had 0 control over the situation. While, I was in line I saw 3 people be taken away in ambulances from the crowd crushing them like a sardine.


Idiot parents brought there 1 year old sons and daughters and "camped" out from 1 am.


It was a complete zoo, I got one of the iBooks, but looking back it certainly wasn't worth it.
 

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I had considered going, but as soon as the event got national exposure I knew it would be a total madhouse. It just wasn't worth dealing with the jerks and 'rons.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by collin
so what was the condition of the iBook? there was speculation that they would be in pretty bad shape...
If they are working, they are worth $50. Even with dings on the cases. If you needed it to read / send email while away from home, this type of laptop is perfect. By no means is it a power machine.


Hell, if someone offered me an old Celeron Dell Laptop for $50, I'd take it. However, if I NEEDED a laptop, I'd already have one, and a better then four year old one. I'd still go and see if I could pick one up for $50. But if I saw a mob waiting to get in the warehouse, I'd simply turn around and go home - It's not worth it.


Apparently the Monsters ARE Due on Maple Street.


-Doug
 

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Actually, the laptop is in very good condition. The case is a little scratched, but it's in perfect working order. Quite a deal for $50 IMHO, but the zoo to get it was not worth it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mastiff34
It was a complete zoo, I got one of the iBooks, but looking back it certainly wasn't worth it.
oh the guilt must be eating you alive
 

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The sale was originally a week earlier on the 10th, but was postponed to the 16th. That didn't stop 100 people from showing up on the 10th. Some came from as far as Michigan and Florida (on the wrong day) for an ibook sale restricted to Henrico County residents. Part of the confusion may have come from the wording, "...will go on sale to Henrico residents and taxpayers..." But several sentences later it read "must bring proof of residency, such as a driver's license or a Henrico real estate tax bill" which technically is still ambigous. It could be read as both a>all taxpayers from any state b>residents of Henrico (whether they pay taxes or not) are legible. But who the hell could read it that way and feel safe in their conclusion??


The important thing is I pulled off getting two


here's an article about the 100 people who showed up a week before:
http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet...=1031784344579


excerpt:

"Some even showed up at the school's warehouse even though that sale location was scrapped two weeks ago."




If someone went and didn't get one, they can always buy one of these teeshirts from ebay for ~$7

http://www.tuaw.com/images/2005/08/f6_12_sb.JPG2.jpg
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by icecow
oh the guilt must be eating you alive
I never said I felt guilt, but looking back the time and effort involved was not worth it for the computer.


Never said I felt guilty. In fact the article in the richmond times dispatch that talked about 2 guys that protected the ladies kids, well one of em was me, so I am quite proud of myself, and I got the ibook to boot.
 
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