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AirPods - Monday, December 23, 2019
It seems like Apple AirPods have been all the rage recently. And perhaps especially so with the AirPods Pro, released on October 30, which have better features (like active noise cancellation) than their predecessor models.

Apple experienced such high demand for the AirPods Pro that they're out of stock in most stores and won't ship until January when purchased from various websites. Which is especially suboptimal given that Christmas is fast-approaching. So it's a pretty amazing feat that my company gave everyone in our division a pair of AirPods Pro (with wireless charging case) as a year-end gift. How we were able to acquire a few hundred of these is beyond me, but clearly somebody in the company is on top of their game.

It seems like the AirPods hype may be justified, but Priscilla and I wouldn't be able to make use of some features like Siri-integration, since we both have Android phones. And reportedly, streaming AAC audio over Bluetooth is noticeably worse on Android, though that seems like a narrow use case. We also already each have a pair of wireless headphones that work decently well for their $26 price tag. Priscilla likes having headphones with a cord since she can wear them around her neck when they're not in use, and the cord helps her not lose them. And I don't like accumulating more things. So we were both ok with selling the AirPods.

Online, people are selling them marked up by 25% or more. Exploiting scarcity for personal gain. Or call it retail arbitrage. Since I received the AirPods as a gift, I didn't really feel like selling them for more than face value. They're retailing at $249, so I priced them at $270, which is around the after-tax total that somebody would pay in a store. A coworker recommended selling on Facebook Marketplace, as it lets you vet buyers by looking at their profiles. So yesterday, within a few minutes of my post there, I got a message from a woman whose profile showed pictures of a nice, normal-looking family. I arranged to have us meet up at the local library today.

Today, the woman had her brother-in-law and niece meet me. They came at the arranged time, looked over the box, asked some questions about my work, and gave me the $270 in cash. They were very nice and seemed happy to finally get the AirPods, saying that it was a Christmas present for the niece and that all retail stores were sold out. This was my first time meeting a stranger in-person to sell them something (well, excluding the few times I met a fellow student in college to sell them my used textbook). But it ended nicely and I like the fact that I was able to vet the buyer to some extent, something that elevates Facebook Marketplace over Craigslist. If only either service had a reputation system built in. But I think I'll arrange my in-person transactions through Facebook Marketplace going forward, and that may even apply to the next time we're looking for a new renter.
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