Welcome to the Holiday Grift: PlayStation 5 Is the New Tickle-Me-Elmo
Nothing demonstrates the love and joy of Christmas like being grifted for twice the retail value on a hot gift item. I certainly can't think of a better way to celebrate the birth of Christ than trying to cynically cash-grab from a desperate parent whose bratty kid only asked for a $500 console.
Okay, so maybe these things make me incredibly jaded about the holiday season. I grew up during the gauntlet of must-have Christmas toys. In fact, my very first Christmas saw the release of Cabbage Patch dolls: a phenomenon that caused actual riots in stores. Luckily, I was far too young to care, and I would get my first Cabbage Patch, named Kelly, a couple years later.
The 90s saw year after year of this same mouth-foaming crazed commercialism. Remember Tickle Me Elmo and Furby? My grandmother paid hundreds for a Furby, but to her credit, it was part of a charity auction. I was not the recipient of said Furby; I think she may have kept it for herself.
2020 has been a year of supply chain disturbances, and most people spending many more hours at home. It makes sense that Sony's new PlayStation 5 game console would be a hot ticket item, even as the Nintendo Switch was selling well above retail no where near a major holiday.
Go to Facebook Marketplace and you'll find dozens of listings for the PS5 at $1000+, more than double retail. No matter how desperate you are, I would not recommend paying that since many retailers will have restocks soon. If I was able to buy a Nintendo Switch from Best Buy in April, I think you'll be able to grab a PS5 before December 25th.
Here's what Lubbock's PS5 Marketplace looks like (ignore the 'free' listings -- they aren't) as of the publication of this article:
Are people paying outrageous prices here in Lubbock? Recent listings say, yes -- yes they are.
Some sage and presumably professional economists are chiming in with their free-market wisdom:
Lol everyone is so upset, go get one from Walmart then. Oh wait, you can’t. It’s called supply and demand. There’s is absolutely nothing wrong with making profit.
Maybe not, but does it look good on you? Is it a proud accomplishment you'll remember for many Christmases to come?
One PlayStation 5 Digital Edition (which is actually $400, but lacks a disc drive) listing on the Lubbock Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook group racked up more than 100 comments, not all of them as supportive.
"My grandson wants one I was like no way am I buying him a new system for 500 but 900 that's insane! Times are tuff for a lot of people some people wont even get Christmas this year. Maybe you should gift it to a child that has nothing," wrote one person.
"Anyone that pays this is a freakin d**b AF. Sorry not sorry," said another commenter.
Another person wrote: "FYI they won’t be out of stock forever! They are slowly releasing more and more. In a month or 2 they will be everywhere so why pay almost twice as much for one! Don’t be the schmuck!"
Am I being too harsh on individual grifters? Maybe. Especially since there are professional scalpers who ordered thousands to resell. Perhaps this might be a time to teach children and teens the invaluable lessons of patience and fortitude. Perhaps I'm just saying that because my kid didn't ask for one, so it's easy for me to feel that way.
With so many people out of work or with diminished incomes, many of us are having a hard candy Christmas. Perhaps we should all consider that before getting too greedy this holiday season.