iPad and Marshalls - a Match Made in Heaven??

Last night I walked past the local Marshalls to return a movie to Blockbuster - yes I was partying like it was 1999. And I saw an odd sigh (and by sign, I mean laminated piece of printer paper taped to the window at an angle), it had a blurry picture of an iPad and some text "iPADs NOW AVAILABLE!!!! GET THE IPAD WIFI NOW FOR $399!!!!!". I was a little surprised. Apple's latest halo product showing up next to pink and purple striped Ralph Lauren rejects and the piles of brown and beige housewares dumped at the back of the store (I actually like Marshalls, because I love cheap shit, but then again, I own a $100 nokia tablet--from a while back--, a Palm Pre because I get unlimited everything for $45/mo on Sprint, a $200 Asus netbook, a $350 Compaq work laptop, and a $1,500 '96 Chevy Tahoe - the Dutchess, whom I dearly love. I am not your typical Apple customer).

Endadget confirmed my findings today: the iPad is now for sale at TJX (TJ Maxx and Marshalls) stores across the country.

This makes a lot of sense, because....

er....

umm....

Yeah. I don't get this at all. Honestly, even look at that crappy sticker haphazardly applied to the box: this is not where you keep your brand honest, white, and shiny. It is modern, rural, America's shady alleyway, where good deals with dubious provenance can be had with a wink and a nod... or a slowly mumbled "hello, would you be interested in a Marshalls card today?"

This is far below Wal-Mart in terms of branding - this is a store where inventory goes to die. Customer service is... minimal. Sales support... I don't think they have any.

I just don't understand how Marshalls buyers got hold of the iPad, and who at Apple let it happen. However it happened, its bad news for Apple.

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