Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Enterprising Youth

Except for the fact that they don't approve of you or 95% of the things that you enjoy, they say that western Michigan houses the key to our future - unique companies in industries that have more growth potential than some of our more traditional industries. I'm sometimes skeptical regarding the promise of western Michigan, that is until I read things like this.

A 23-year-old from KZoo figured out how to scam Apple into shipping him about 9,000 iPod shuffles, and then he turned around and sold those shuffles for less than retail. He would give Apple a prepaid Visa number that would be rejected as soon as Apple eventually tried to cash in on the inventory they had just sent him, and then, for some reason, they would just let the situation slide - over and over again.

Unfortunately for this young man but fortunately for justice, this guy has been charged with fraud and money laundering. This is another one of those times where you have to be impressed by his enterprising spirit, and a little bit bummed that someone who clearly has some business ability and intelligence opted down the less-than-legal path. I don't know what's in the water in Michigan's west, but apparently it allows you to guess serial numbers for products so that you can make undue profit from those guesses. Naturally, a few questions have to come up from this story - how long did he actually think this ride would last, what the heck took a "smart" company like Apple so long to figure out the scheme, and at what point does someone take a look at himself in the mirror, furrow his brow, and decide "evil genius"? We will likely never know the answer to this and many of life's other questions, but we do know that it takes a stupid cartoon owl three licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

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