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Nowt so irrational as peeps

So, when I heard that the price of potassium iodide had soared on e-Bay as a result of idiots thinking that the light and very short lived radiation from Japan might soar over 7,000 miles of ocean and kill Californians dead in their beds, I tried to think through how I could make money out of this.

I can buy a 100 gramme bag of pharmaceutically pure potassium iodide from my local pharmacy here in Portugal for, including posting it to California, maybe $50.

There were stories of 12 tablet packs selling for $500. And, each of those 12 tablets is 130 milligrammes, meaning that my 100 g bag is equivalent to 780 doses.

Woo Hoo! $32 k for my baggie here I come!

Unfortunately, people seem to be even more irrational than I give them credit for.

They\’re still buying the tablets at exotic (even if not quite that exotic) prices, but the people selling bags of potassium iodide (there\’s one selling 100 g bags at $35) don\’t really seem to be moving the goods.

I can only assume that peeps think that the KI in the tablets is somehow different from the KI in the powder. Which isn\’t so but……

18 thoughts on “Nowt so irrational as peeps”

  1. It is like the fact that a sugar pill works as a placebo, two sugar pills work better but a salt water injection works even better at curing the disease.
    The trick is that the intervention has to look “medical” a man in a white coat and with a clipboard has to give you a pill with a leaflet etc.
    The human mind is a marvel to behold.

  2. Surreptitious Evil

    Iodine pills are potassium iodide powder and inert filler.

    And, frankly, potassium iodide is (as you’d expect from the salt of two rather reactive elements) relatively safe.

  3. You’re too honest to make much money doing this Tim.

    You should take as many orders as you can NOW while the panic is still on. If it sells fast at $10 increase the price to $20 until you find the maximum price people will pay.

    You source the demand now while the panic is on and try to source the supply later when the panic dies down. Match as many orders as you can (doesn’t matter if they aren’t tablets as such just wrap measures in rizla papers like a ‘bomb’) starting with the highest down to where you can no longer make a profit. Then refund everyone you don’t deliver too.

    It doesn’t matter if we’re talking potassium iodide or Robbie Williams tickets. Every good scam artist knows that Tim!

  4. If you are a Hollywood filmstar / Silicon Valeey zillionaire then the availability of a remedy for cash that may under circumstances give you a longer life and therefore a longer time to spend with your wealth, then you might well opt to pay the $450 cash for certainty now rather than wait a few days and take a change on the US/Portuguese postal service.

  5. Surreptitious Evil, gullible is the word you were looking for. Of course I was fucking joking. Sheesh.

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    But commenter has a point. If you take a pill you know how much you’re supposed to be taking. If you have a bag of powder, you don’t. You have to guess and self-medicate.

    Admittedly I haven’t heard of many people over-dosing on KI. But not everyone knows that. If I gave you even something as harmless as a bag of powdered aspirin would you prefer that or a pill?

    It is not all that irrational. The pill is conveying some extra information. Although probably not that much extra value.

  7. Cityunslicker: “If I was clever with computers I would have built an iphone app geiger counter…”

    It doesn’t have to actually work, you know. It’ll still sell like hot cakes…


  8. An iPhone geiger counter only needs to use the GPS facility and give high readings for the west coast of the US and Japan and lowish everywhere else. Job done.

  9. So Much For Subtlety

    SadButMadLad – “An iPhone geiger counter only needs to use the GPS facility and give high readings for the west coast of the US and Japan and lowish everywhere else. Job done.”

    It would also have to report high radiation levels on some beaches in India and Brazil. Due to natural thorium sands.

  10. Di-hydrogen monoxide protects against all dangerous chemicals if taken in doses of 1 litre per day.

    I’ll start the bidding at GBP 100 per litre.

  11. so is potassium iodide powder the same as pills? surely it is. Its the same chemicals but one is pure one is in pressed form (pills)

    sugar lumps and pure loose bagged sugar come to mind. The horse wont mind which he gets…

  12. So Much For Subtlety

    Just in passing, hospitals around my neck of the woods are reporting casualties from people eating too much. Mainly salt with KI added I would guess.

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