On Sunday evening, HP put the (allegedly) final batch of its discontinued TouchPad tablets on sale for cheap on its eBay store. Less than 30 minutes later, they were all sold out, and I was left slate-less, yet again.
HP entered into its great tumult of 2011 in August--a drama that has been covered in great detail on CNET--and one of the final stages of the corporate carnage came when the company began selling warehouses full of TouchPads for as low as $99. What ensued was a digital crush of bargain-hunting nearly as ugly as a Wal-Mart on Black Friday, but without the pepper spray.
HP offered a lot here and a lot there of the bargain-basement tablets, while smaller batches would briefly pop up on the sites of retailers like Barnes & Noble and OfficeMax or subsites of eBay, only to sell out again in mere minutes. Inventory systems were unable to keep up with the pace of sales, and suddenly a receipt and confirmation number was no guarantee of actually receiving a fire-sale TouchPad. Big bundles of confirmed orders were canceled, and angry customers vented on forums and on Twitter, leaving one unfortunate HP social-media manager tweeting her pleas for compassion and patience.… Read more