If you are one of the millions of people that have been trying to secure a PS5 since November 12, 2020, then you already know the ache of retail bots. This year, Christmas shoppers will be competing with “Grinch bots” that are retails bots designed to automatically purchase the best products on the market before humans can click “buy-now”.
If you’re not super deep into the software world, it might surprise you that shopping bots are very common. Essentially, they are automated little “bots” of written code that constantly scan the internet for the best deals in some product category, and notify the controller of the best deals in real-time.
Now, bots are so well developed that they can go a step further and automatically buy items for the bot owner. While using these bots may violate the specific terms and conditions of a store, they aren’t actually illegal… yet.
This week, congressional Democrats proposed the “Stopping Grinch Bots Act“, which would make it illegal to use these retail bots to buy specifics products in bulk automatically (which bot-users typically resell at much higher prices; see scalper bots).
The Stopping Grinch Bots Act is proposed just in time for the holiday rush, when people everywhere are anxious about:
- Supply chain issues which can cause major shipping delays, and
- Products being “sold out” due to retail bots buying popular products (like the PS5)
Whatever happens in the next 23 days, remember that Christmas isn’t supposed to be all about material gifting. Spend precious time with family, take a back seat to the mayhem of retail, and focus on how to lift up God in your own life. The gift opening is just a cherry on top.