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In the 1970s the United States encountered an “oil embargo” that dramatically curtailed people from being able to purchase gasoline for their vehicles. “No Gas Today” signs were everywhere. Gas rationing was imposed by only allowing car owners to buy gas based on whether the final numbers on their license plate was odd or even. This regulation simply resulted in many stolen license plates to allow car owners to buy gas on any day. The game was afoot, and the scarcity was overcome by what drives most human behavior: The drive to getting ahead of others. Today, waiting in lines for desirable things — usually now electronics or footwear — has has simply been replaced with waiting online to purchase those items. We are rarely forced to even be in-person to acquire the most sought-after commodities. However, that doesn’t prevent that “get-ahead” behavior from rearing its ugly head when a new item is driving up demand. As scarcity and demand increase, gaining the online advantage through automation has taken hold as shopping bots invade online retailers to purchase desirable items, then resell them on the secondary market. Recently, the latest high-demand sneaker drop, PS5, Nvidia GPU cards and Xbox all saw listings on resale sites before the actual drops happened, with prices well above their MSRPs. The bot writers readied their tools, and the “cooks” formulated their plans for how they were going to buy the items to fill the orders they already had. The bots started firing…

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