Capitalism is built on a couple of principles.
- Man should serve his fellow man
- He who shoulders the greatest risk deserves the greatest reward
There is a great deal of value in delivering goods and services when customers can’t get them otherwise. If you risk armed robbery by delivering gasoline to Florida before a hurricane and then weathering the storm, you deserve to be paid a premium. You are serving your fellow man, and you are the one who stands to lose a great deal of money. But those customers paying those high gas prices would all be stranded without your effort. They may not like the high prices, but they can at least see where you’re adding value.
The Craigslist and eBay resellers are not capitalists but parasites. It’s like someone is following you to the grocery store, grabbing everything you’re about to reach for, and then selling it to you higher than the price tag says.
Anything Apple can do to reduce the number of its iPhones that get hijacked and held for ransom by people who have no intention of using them would be welcome. I’ve thought for a while that Apple needs some kind of loyalty program, a way to give their best customers a chance to ensure that they’ll be a part of that first wave of iPhone shipments.
With shipping over 200 million iPhones out per year, Apple can’t have 50 million people on the waiting list for that first wave, so they’d have to cull the list somehow. That shouldn’t be too hard though. They could add stipulations like paying for the device in full up front. Or they could kill two birds with one stone and only make it available to people who purchased both an iPhone and an iPad in the previous year.
I’d love it if Apple sent me a letter or e-mail in August saying that I’d met their requirements and that I qualify for an early pre-order. Apple could then open a special preorder window for its gold star customers right after the iPhone event.
I’m not going to hold my breath that Apple is ever going to create any kind of loyalty program, even if it would bump up customer satisfaction. They probably don’t want to deal with creating a new bureaucracy in order to manage the program.
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