If you’re in China right now and you plan to get your hands on the recently launched White iPhone 4, be prepared for an uphill task. Yes, we’re talking about the official Apple Store in China, whereby scalpers are waiting within the vicinity of the entrances to such stores, and with bated breath they accost a potential customer or two into parting their cash for their stash of White iPhone 4s at a marked-up price, but of course.
If you have the patience to wait in line to get one, well, here’s something else you have to know. Amongst the 100 or so people who are lining up outside the store in front of you, a couple of only two or three of them are real customers, and the rest are all scalpers. Makes your blood boil at the thought of this, wouldn’t it?
One of the scalpers, who declined to be named, gave the following account:
“I always got 100 yuan reward by helping them to wait in line to buy a white iPhone. Since Apple only allows a customer to purchase two iPhones with an ID everyday, so I am hired by scalpers to use three different IDs to line up continuously in front of the Apple store. There are ten people like me doing this.”
Out of curiosity, the folks at MIC Gadget asked 15 people who were waiting in line outside the store, whether if they are buying the iPhone 4 for self-use, or otherwise. They said they are in the queue helping someone else to purchase. Actually, the ’someone’ refers to the scalpers who are holding stacks of credit cards and cash outside the Apple store. So, every scalper will bring two white iPhones out from the store and give them to their boss, then head back to the store, cut the queue, and purchase two more iPhones with different ID.
Wait, but there is a 2nd team of scalpers involved in this operation. They always do, don’t they?
The second team includes professional scalpers who usually carry Apple shopping bags and wandering outside the Apple stores. Of course, the Apple bags are filled with boxes of white iPhones. We often see these scalpers hawking the white iPhones to desperate customers outside the store for easy profits. And guess what, they do some modifications on the white iPhones before reselling to customers.
Here’s what Beijing-based Legal Mirror told MIC:
“Scalpers also profited by replacing the iPhone battery with a substandard battery and sticking the authentic iPhone batter into a fake iPhone body.”“Selling the resulting half-fake phones for slightly lower prices stood to earn a scalper 10,000 yuan ($1540) a month in Sanlitun.”So what’s the price of the white iPhone if I’m getting one from these scalpers? You need to pay an extra 300-500 yuan (about $46-77) for it, and remember, it’s not an original iPhone 4, slightly modified by the scalpers.
[excerpts via MIC Gadget]