I noted in a previous post that Best Buy hands out tickets for hot items and that this seemed to create opportunities for ‘entrepreneurs’ to resell spots in the queue. How have the boys in blue polo shirts dealt with this? By turning to the real boys in blue (Best Buy combats doorbuster scalpers, CNNMoney.com Nov 27):
Huang said he was 61st in line, based on tickets employees handed out for limited-quantity doorbuster deals. He noted a few people on line had attempted to sell the tickets.
The Best Buy employee who declined to be named said the store began handing out tickets at 3 a.m. on a first-come basis, and each customer was eligible to receive one ticket per item on as many doorbusters as they wished.
About 10 to 20 people attempted to sell their doorbuster tickets to others, the employee said. However, other Best Buy employees were seen escorting three people to a police officer. The attempted scalpers were not arrested, the Best Buy employee said. Instead, their tickets were confiscated and they were not permitted to rejoin the line.
I am not sure why Best Buy gets to use the fuzz to stop scalpers. I do not see why this behavior should be illegal. One could argue that it is socially efficient. If I have a low cost to waiting and no good plans for Thanksgiving, I have a lower cost than you of hanging out in a Best Buy parking lot. I can arrive early, get the golden tickets and save you the hassle of waking up early or ditching your family before the football game is over. Why is this bad? Would Best Buy object if you had paid me $50 bucks to just run the errand for you? Scalping the tickets beats that on two points. First, you don’t have to contract with me before the holiday. Second, you only have to pay for actual results. That is, you can pay me to go but you cannot be sure that I have gotten the laptop you want. If you pay for my ticket, you know that you will get the goods.