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A little "pre-sale" history...



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I-books go on sale Tuesday


By Curt Autry

NBC12 News

Monday, August 15, 2005

Tuesday is the big day to line up for one of those surplus I-books. They were left over when Henrico County schools switched to Dell computers. Before you go, you should know the rules set up by Henrico County.


First and foremost, you must be able to prove that you live or pay taxes in Henrico County. A driver’s license or even a utility bill will do the trick.


There will be a thousand of the laptops on sale for 50-dollars each. It's first come, first serve, and one per-person.


The laptops will be laid-out on tables and you'll be able to power them up, to make sure they work.


But there are no guarantees. Once you buy it, it's yours and if it crashes the next day the county takes no responsibility.


The sale starts at 9am Tuesday at the Richmond International Raceway, at 600 East Laburnum Avenue. The gates open at 7am. Camping out overnight is prohibited.


Some of the students got first pick in a private sale last week. And some of them are now on E-bay, going for as much as 275 dollars.

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Now here's where the fun starts...



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Mob scene, several hurt in rush for cheap laptops


From NBC12 News

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

What started as a sale turned into a mob scene as thousands of people pushed their way through the Richmond International Raceway gates to buy a $50 iBook laptop computer from Henrico County Schools Tuesday morning.


An estimated 5500 people were on hand when the gates were opened. What followed can only be described as chaos as dozens rushed to get to the head of the line. People were trampled, shoved and pushed.


Starletta Wilson pointed to her child’s broken stroller, “Yeah, they pushed me, look at my child's stroller... they actually pushed me and stampeded over me. Those people who are down there now were behind us."


Dustin Coppinger, who attended the sale, said he saw an older man run over by anxious buyers, "An old man in a walker was trampled to the ground. Trampled to the ground... walked all over," he said.


Alice Jemerson was one victim who got trampled." Look at my knees. They ran on top of me. I just starting kicking the people," she said.


There were also heat problems as 17 people were treated for heat exhaustion. Four were taken to the hospital.


There were only 5 police on the scene when the gates were opened at 7 o’clock. Seventy additional officers were called in including 20 in riot gear. Twenty-two firemen were also needed.


Despite the chaos, Henrico County officials insist there was ‘adequate planning.’ Paul Proto with Henrico County General Services says in preparing for the event, “all that was necessary was done.”


Many who were there disagree. Steven Poor, who managed to get a laptop, said the problem was simple. “Just poor County management,” he said.


And a Henrico Police official told NBC12 News that Henrico General Services had been informed well in advance of the sale that the five off-duty officers that were retained wouldn’t be enough.


In four hours, the 1000 surplus computers had been sold.

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iBook sale frenzy


Richmond Times-Dispatch

Aug 16, 2005

Mayhem ruled at the Richmond Raceway Complex this morning. Henrico County sold 1,000 used laptop computers for $50 each on a first-come, first-served basis, and demand far exceeded supply. Thousands pushed through the raceway gates, a baby stroller was trampled, and many who managed to buy an Apple iBook had cut in line.


"I want to speak to somebody -- and I should get two iBooks," yelled one woman. "Look at what's left of my child's stroller! People were pushing!"


The computer sale, which was limited to Henrico residents, was supposed to begin at 9 a.m., but officials started the sale earlier to relieve the pressure. Henrico police called for additional units when they saw the amount of traffic and the size of the crowd outside the raceway.


The main gate opened at 7 a.m. Though camping and overnight parking were prohibited, one driver said he had positioned his car near the raceway at 1:30. But it's not clear if he got an iBook -- people who lined up on foot outside the gate had an advantage over those waiting to park at an adjacent lot. And with the number of people who cut in line, the length of someone's wait didn't necessarily mean getting an iBook.


The iBooks, which the Henrico school system had issued to high school students, are four years old. The county initially was going to sell the computers to the general public, but after an outcry, officials limited the sale to Henrico residents. And based on overwhelming response, the county moved the sale from a warehouse to the raceway.


Students and teachers will be getting new Dell computers this school year.

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Computer chaos drew 5,000; handling questioned


From NBC12 News

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

More than 5,000 people stood in line yesterday morning at the Richmond International Raceway, hoping to buy a $50 Apple iBook laptop computer. Several people were hurt in the rush to get through the gates.


One father grabbed his 1 year old daughter just before her stroller was trampled and destroyed. One grandmother suffered cuts and bruises after being trampled.


Henrico citizens complain that the county could have done more to prevent the mad dash for computers by having more police or better organization.


County officials say they did everything necessary and despite the chaos, would do it all over again in the same way.


Paul Proto with Henrico County Schools said having more officers and staff would not have created a different outcome.


"You still would have had the same crowd same issues to deal with," Proto said.


An Henrico Police official says while another sale is not expected, if a similar situation comes up, the police department will step in to handle it.


The school district was selling the surplus computers because it is switching from Apple to Dell computers.


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Computer chaos makes global headlines


From NBC12 News

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Henrico County’s computer sale and the chaos that surrounded it Tuesday made global headlines.


Images of residents dashing for $50 ibooks, even made the news in England. The British Broadcasting Company called the sale “Mac Mayhem.” [See Story]


Speigel Online, a German website, also ran a story about the chaos. [See Story]


Closer to home, some are making a profit on "stampede memorabilia,” from t-shirts to buttons to coffee mugs and even tote bags.


Henrico's County Manager Virgil Hazelett says he feels the entire incident is being blown out of proportion and that he doesn't think he'll ever recommend that such a sale be done again.


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Panic ensues in rush for cheap laptops

Tuesday, August 16, 2005; Posted: 2:05 p.m. EDT (18:05 GMT)

RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) -- A rush to purchase $50 used laptops turned into a violent stampede Tuesday, with people getting thrown to the pavement, beaten with a folding chair and nearly driven over. One woman went so far to wet herself rather than surrender her place in line.


"This is total, total chaos," said Latoya Jones, 19, who lost one of her flip-flops in the ordeal and later limped around on the sizzling blacktop with one foot bare.


More than 1,000 people turned out at the Richmond International Raceway in hopes of getting their hands on one of the 4-year-old Apple iBooks, which retail for between $999 and $1,299. The Henrico County school system was selling 1,000 of the computers to county residents.


Officials opened the gates at 7 a.m., but some already had been waiting for hours in line. When the gates opened, it became a terrifying mob scene.


People threw themselves forward, screaming and pushing each other. A little girl's stroller was crushed in the stampede. Witnesses said an elderly man was thrown to the pavement, and someone in a car tried to drive his way through the crowd.


Police would not immediately comment on the number of or extent of injuries, though witnesses said they mostly had scrapes and bruises.


"It's rather strange that we would have such a tremendous response for the purchase of a laptop computer -- and laptop computers that probably have less-than- desirable attributes," said Paul Proto, director of general services for Henrico County. "But I think that people tend to get caught up in the excitement of the event -- it almost has an entertainment value."


Blandine Alexander, 33, said one woman standing in front of her was so desperate to retain her place in line that she urinated on herself.


"I've never been in something like that before, and I never again will," said Alexander, who brought her 14-year-old twin boys to the complex at 4:30 a.m. to wait in line. "No matter what the kids want, I already told them I'm not doing that again."


Jesse Sandler said he was one of the people pushing forward, using a folding chair he had brought with him to beat back people who tried to cut in front of him.


"I took my chair here and I threw it over my shoulder and I went, 'Bam,"' the 20-year-old said nonchalantly, his eyes glued to the screen of his new iBook, as he tapped away on the keyboard at a testing station.


"They were getting in front of me and I was there a lot earlier than them, so I thought that it was just," he said.

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Original Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4159678.stm



L: Police struggled to hold back the crowd

R: Eyewitnesses described the scene as terrifying and chaotic


Cheap laptops provoke Mac mayhem

Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 August 2005, 13:15 GMT 14:15 UK


A sale of second-hand Apple laptops costing only $50 have caused a near riot in Virginia in the US.


More than 5,500 people queued for a chance to buy one of the 1,000 laptops and stampeded when the sale of the computers started.


In the crush 17 people were injured and four needed hospital treatment.


The four-year-old iBooks were being sold off cheap because Henrico County switched to Apple to Dell to supply laptops for its schools.


Riot gear


People began queuing at the Richmond International Raceway in Henrico County, Virginia shortly after midnight for the start of the 16 August sale.


The sale was due to begin at 9am local time, but as the queue grew to almost a kilometre in length, organisers brought forward the start time by two hours.


When the gates opened, a stampede started as people raced to be at the head of the queue for the cheap iBooks.


In the crush, people were trampled on, a chair was thrown, an elderly man was pushed to the ground, a baby's buggy was crushed and one desperate buyer tried to drive his car through the crowd.


Eyewitnesses described the scene as "terrifying" and "total, total chaos".


Despite a heavy police presence, there were no arrests.


"It's rather strange that we would have such a tremendous response for the purchase of a laptop computer, and laptop computers that probably have less-than- desirable attributes," said Paul Proto, director of general services for Henrico County commenting on the sale of the four-year-old machines.


County officials said they would review events and see what could be done differently for future sales.


Unofficial estimates said more than 12,000 people attended the sale.

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That bad?


I'm surprised it wasn't worse.


When I first heard about it, I had originally wanted to try to get one, but then as it got more and more coverage, I knew that it'd be a waste of time to try because of how hectic it would be. Only reason I wish I had gone now was to watch, in amusement, as all the self centered people made themselves into moronic baffoons when the gates opened. You'd think it was a 90% sale at Wal-Mart on the day after Thanksgiving. People acting like they have no common sense.


Then on top of it all, the county officials claim that they handled everything properly and (duh) are claiming no responsibility. Who-ever was directly in charge of the event was totally stupid. Firstly, who in their right mind is going to reasonably expect a crowd of an expected crowd of over 1000 people to walk in a "first come, first serve" line like a bunch of school children in 3rd grade? Secondly, when the rule was stated that overnight camping/waiting wouldn't be allowed, that should have been enforced. At 6:00 AM, they should have started telling everyone, "Sorry but you'll need to leave or you'll be arrested for loitering". That way those who followed the rules wouldn't be punished.


If that no-camping rule had been enforced, then the comical moron-a-thon wouldn't have happened. Open the gates at 7AM, people start showing up and getting in line at the building, you wouldn't have had a stampede of buffalo butts trying to scratch and claw their way to the front.


It gets better. Video footage showed in there not 1 but *3* lines. That's a stupid move too because someone in line 1 may have been waiting an hour longer than those in lines 2 & 3, the people at the front of 2 & 3 step forward to get the last 2 computers and that 1 waiting first gets told "hey, you're too late"


That's one thing I hate about going to places like Wal-Mart and many other places - multiple lines can and often do screw you over. Most banks (and many movie theaters) use the smart system, stand in a single line until the next lane/register/etc is open. Henrico screwed up even before the opened the gates. The opening of the gates was only a symptom of the poor planning.

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