There are a few reasons you might be struggling to get hold of a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series console right now. One of the biggest is the well-documented semiconductor shortage, born as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic which is making it harder for Sony and Microsoft to make as many consoles as they actually want to sell.
This obviously sucks, and it's not being made any easier by the countless scalpers out there who have made it their mission to snap up what little stock there is and sell it on for massively inflated prices to increasingly desperate customers. These people are not entrepreneurs. They are opportunistic assholes.
As you can see below, this has been a major problem since the new-gen consoles launched last year:
It's no secret that there are many scalpers who have made a lot of money from reselling products throughout the pandemic. PS5 and Xbox Series consoles have been the hottest item, sure, but we've also seen hot tubs, household appliances, and even Pokémon cards bought up and sold on for much more than they're worth.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, 16-year-old Max Hayden is one of the scalpers who has done particularly well out of the past year. The New Jersey high school student is thought to have made around $1.7 million in revenue and $110,000 in profits last year by selling on all manner of items for inflated prices, including consoles and Pokémon cards as well as more essential items like heaters.
Hayden tells The Wall Street Journal he resold dozens of PS5 and Series consoles in 2020 for as much as $1,100 - more than double what they're worth. He decided to expand as a result of his initial success, and now co-rents warehouse space and pays two friends $15 an hour to help out. He spends 40 hours a week on the business right now and says he should do even better in 2021 as shortages continue. He sounds like a great guy, doesn't he?
Bafflingly, the original article paints Hayden as some sort of tech-savvy genius who has rightfully earned his riches by spotting a gap in the market rather than calling him what he is: a scalper who is getting rich by exploiting desperate customers in the midst of the worst health crisis the modern world has ever seen. Dress up scalping however you want, guys - it's still an absolutely garbage thing to do.
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