What's up with outragly overpriced items on Amazon?

Every so often, I’ll come across some mundane item with a sky high price tag on Amazon. For example, this $10,000 Roku box, this $9,999 keyboard, and this $2,997 SD card. There has to be a reason behind it aside form “there’s a sucker born every minute”, so … what is it?

This has been asked before. The answer seems to be “the seller is out of stock on the item but it’s easier to jack the price to the moon than to remove and later replace the listing.”

Some sellers don’t set their price directly. They use software to look at another seller (or another website altogether) and then set their price based on that, usually higher. The idea being that when the item sells, the seller will purchase it from the other place and sell it to you. Very common. But what happens when both of those sites (either directly or in a big loop with multiple people involved) are looking at each other. You end up with ever increasing prices.

Easiest answer I can come up with is “shits and giggles.” Someone’s probably got something they don’t really wanna sell and think it’ll be really funny to advertise it to the rest of the world at an extreme price knowing that nobody would really pay that price for it.

The answer that has been discussed here a few times before is this is the result of automatic pricing algorithms that go haywire. The algorithms scan the market for the same item and adopt a strategy of pricing relative to that. Sometimes it goes a little higher, and you end up with two pricing algorithms continuing to up the ante against each other until you get things like the OP cites.


One obvious cause is data entry errors of one kind or another: you misplace the decimal point or you enter the stock number in the price field.

The OP wasn’t trying very hard. How about these shoes for a mere $886,833,152,075.00. And it’s $4.99 for shipping. Not even free supersaver shipping.

I put a couple cheap things in my cart that I was waiting a couple days to purchase.

When I went back and added one item, I noticed that the price of the items in my cart was now $20k or so. The price had changed while I was waiting.

Fortunately, I didn’t submit that order before removing the item.

Conversely, I have had the opposite happen…when I came back to place the order, the item was cheaper than when I added it to my cart.

Agreed that it’s algorithmic pricing gone wrong. I remember a blog post about this from a few years back, concerning a $23.7 million textbook on flies. The data in there illustrates CookingWithGas’s description above quite nicely.

I’m almost tempted to “1-click order” that, just to see what happens. :smiley:

The reviews are pretty funny, too.

I wonder if by buying these (or attempting to) I would thus precipitate the total and complete meltdown of the world economy? All that power latent in my right index finger…

I suppose whether it does or not would depend on your credit limit.

Here is an example on eBay : http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=161160396536&ssPageName=ADME:X:RTQ:AU:1123
I contacted the seller and apparently white and black are out of stock

Sometimes you’re thirsty enough that a $10k jug of milk seems almost reasonable: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=591573

You get a bill. The next morning your wife checks the e-mail. Penis ensues.

What is the most expensive [item] sold on Amazon?