Irate TouchPad fans have taken to Twitter to vent their frustration after many were unable to buy one of the heavily discounted HP tablets online, leading some to suspect that the huge advanced publicity given to the fire sale was merely a cynical marketing ploy.
Online price finder tool InvisibleHand claimed that it saw the biggest ever surge in online shopping in the UK as the Dixons Group and Carphone Warehouse cut prices dramatically from Monday evening.
The 16GB TouchPad was on sale for £89 while the 32GB was going for £115, a huge discount on the usual RRP of £399 and £479 respectively.
"We briefly saw the highest ever number of UK consumers shopping simultaneously online, not to mention the largest number of shoppers visiting a single UK retailer - Dixons - for the same product simultaneously," said InvisibleHand founder Robin Landy.
"The number of simultaneous server requests we received was 50 per cent higher than the previous Monday's peak."
Scores of people complained of sluggish performance on the Currys, Dixons and PC World web sites, and some were left fuming after successfully placing one of the tablets in their virtual shopping basket only to have it removed at the checkout stage.
The retailers have now sold out of all TouchPads, while a note on the Carphone Warehouse web site states: "HP TouchPad is currently out of stock online and by phone - please do not call us to order this product."
So what have we all learned from this grubby little Primark clearance sale-esque dash for the TouchPad?
When a good piece of kit gets marked down at ridiculously low prices it garners a LOT of interest. Not just the retailers mentioned above but the likes of Comet and BestBuy were also quick to sell out of the device.
It's pretty clear that some of the retailers involved had relatively little stock to shift anyway, and were certainly ill-equipped to deal with the huge influx of web orders.
It remains to be seen whether retailers including Expansys and Clove decide to follow Dixons in heavily discounting the TouchPad. At the time of writing they were still selling the tablet for close to the original RRP.
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