Hideous $10,000 plastic Christmas tree


#1

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#2

Hilarious and interesting. I had no idea about the auto pricing algorithm. Can anyone explain if that is the reason I sometimes see stuff on Amazon for 1 cent? Or is there also something else going on there?


#3

I would bet money that there are Russian oligarchs who’d spend more than that on a single bauble


#4

I think these days it’s more likely that an American oligarch would fill that role.


#5

One of the reviewers on the Amazon site said it wasn’t worth the $70.00 she paid for it…


#6

The 1 cent deal would seem to be something else. I see that on a lot of the books I’d like, but as I don’t have enough money to get the free shipping, this mostly doesn’t work for me even if it comes out to $4 per book (which, I’ll admit, isn’t that bad, especially as all the books I’ve actually gotten are in excellent shape). I suspect that this is more of a ‘loss leader’ type of thing.


#7

Please, please tell me that John Waters is buying a slew of this things for home, family and friends.


#8

Said Oligarchs are generally going to be seeking out and creaming themselves over something a little more exclusive and flashy than this. Based on the picture this is identical to one I got for $19.99 a few years ago as a half joking gift for an 8 year old. It doesn’t even have 16 Prada logos on it.


#9

I have one of those trees - bought because our was so obviously artificial. The pink glow, however, is quite pleasant.

Not so pleasant that I wouldn’t be willing to let it go for a mere 25% of the Amazon price.


#10

People need to learn to set max and min prices for their autopricing software.


#11

If she’d paid $10k for it, though, I bet you she couldn’t praise it enough.


#12

CBC radio show Spark had a short segment on their latest episode: A brand new TV for a penny? Why these super-low Amazon prices are too good to be true

“Stephen Palmer got a nasty Christmas surprise. Many of the electronics in his Amazon shop TV Village, were being sold for one penny. In this segment, Stephen tells his story, then law prof Frank Pasquale reflects on algorithms gone haywire.”

Apparently, it was an algorithm gone wild, and Palmer cancelled many of the orders, but he was on the hook for orders filled from stock given to Amazon warehouses. They said there was a minimum price set, but for some reason this was ignored when the algorithm’s results were accepted.


#13

I think I’ve seen that tree before…


#14

At the moment, the Russians seem to be somewhat more into the crasser sorts of conspicuous consumption.

It’s all the new money, you see. The old-money families in America and Western Europe know how to behave from long experience. The new-money oligarchs of Russia are still acting like a kid in a candy store.

(I’m not sure if I’m being sarcastic or not)


#15

I’m going to put this on my Amazon wish list, right next to the $180,000 television.


#16

With due respect, I submit that the US has produced quite a lot of new-money billionaires of late. :wink:


#17

I have a vague, rambling theory about that that I just made up!

Most of our new billionaires are (a) computer nerds, and (b) came from middle- to upper-class families to begin with. Nerds are notoriously oblivious to appearances, and tend to be scruffy and favor jeans and T-shirts regardless of income or social class. As for (b), I propose (without citations) that the classic nouveau riche conspicuous consumption is historically found in people who came up from the working classes and needed to prove to themselves that they had risen above the dust and sweat. People who never really knew hunger or deprivation are less concerned with that.


#18

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