Given the recent publicity given to the iPad 2 grey market, especially overseas, you’re probably not going to be surprised to hear that many people waiting in line for an iPad 2 at Apple’s flagship 5th Avenue Store after every delivery are being paid to wait in line and buy their iPads for someone who will then sell them overseas. These line-waiters tend to make between $100 to $200 dollars for their services, and with iPad 2s going for at least twice and sometimes three times their retail price on eBay or in other countries, grey marketeers are obviously interested in soaking up as many iPad 2s as possible.
What might shock you is just how big a problem this is. According to the New York Post, though, more than half of the 400 people in line at Apple’s 5th Avenue Store last Thursday handed over their two purchased iPads in exchange for cash to a man sitting in a nearby BMW-X5.
“This has been going on for days,” one Apple Store employee said. “I feel for the die-hard customers who want the product but can’t get it.”
Jeez, I’ll say. Apple’s hands are tied on the matter, though: even though the iPad 2 export market seems like it is largely dedicated to exporting tablets to Hong Kong, Apple has been warned in the past of looking upon their Asian customers to a higher degree of scrutiny. That’s only fair, but short of refusing to sell certain customers based upon profiling (which isn’t just illegal, it’s icky), we’re hard pressed to see how Apple can ensure only selling their limited stock of iPads to customers who intend to actually use them.
If you haven’t gotten your iPad 2 yet, I’m sure this news story is pretty frustrating. If it helps, though, those long lines of gray market line-waiters should disappear almost entirely when the iPad 2 launches internationally on Friday… and Apple says they’re still on track for that. Be patient! There’s light on the horizon!