I noticed the fellas from PoketyPoke each carrying around an iMac box after the Digital Experience event at CES last week. “Wow, you guys really went all out,” said I. “Yeah,” said they, “Did you know you can rent an iMac for two weeks for $120?”
I had not heard of this, no sir. But it seemed like a smart idea, especially if you’ve got a product to show off at a large gathering full of reporters. And people love iMacs, from what I understand. I wondered aloud what kind of program Apple had in place for such rentals.
Apparently Apple’s iMac rental program is called “a 10% restocking fee.”
Jamie Siminoff of PoketyPoke did a little math for us:
1. Cheapest iMac rental I could find was $295.75 per week or $42.25 per day.
2. Our Macs cost us $119.90 for 14 days or $8.56 per day.
3. Instead of getting old beater Macs, ours are brand new.
4. If you buy using Platinum American Express (I did) you get loft and damage insurance that covers the duration of the “rental”.
5. Because Apple charges re-stocking, I am paying them for the service (the moral side of this). Also I am displaying Apples at a trade show, hell they should pay me.
I actually used to have a supervisor at Best Buy waaaaay back in 1995 who would swap out for a new computer every month. Back then there was no such thing as a restocking fee and the return window on computers was a full 30 days. The managers at my Best Buy (Store #5, Edina) finally told my supervisor that he couldn’t keep swapping out computers like that, to which he replied something along the lines of “Yes, I can. There aren’t any rules or fees to make what I’m doing illegal.”
And that’s how we got restocking fees and 14-day return windows. At least, I’m almost convinced that he was singlehandedly responsible for restocking fees and shorter return windows becoming commonplace in retail electronics stores. That might just be my own personal urban legend, though.