The Amazing Amazon Seller Story


There was a good reason his 28 iPads were all bought overnight.

We all love a deal. We scour grocery store circulars and online search engines for the best prices and the latest sales. There’s nothing we like better than to discover that a $1000 airline fight has been mistakenly posted at $100. We shake our heads in frustration if we miss the opportunity. There are even special websites created specifically to let us know about these “steals” – be it children’s toys, clothing or travel opportunities. We eagerly check our inboxes for the latest update.

That’s why this story – related by Rabbi Yoel Gold in a recent edition of Ami Living magazine – and repeated to me by one of my sons-in-law (lots of attribution here) was so striking. Rabbi Gold describes an Amazon seller who had 28 iPads to unload. He posted them online for $400 each and was astonished to see that they had all sold overnight. He had expected good sales but not this…

His joy turned to dismay, however, when he realized he had mistakenly advertised them for $40 each!

(I recently made a similar error in the opposite direction. Attempting to pay a $500 bill, I erroneously typed in $5000. I didn’t realize my mistake until serious havoc had been wrought in my bank account!)

Sitting in his office, discouraged by his stunning loss, our seller noticed an email from an unfamiliar seller, “Yehuda from Lakewood.”

What followed was nothing short of awe-inspiring. Having notice our seller’s post, Yehuda knew it had to be a mistake. Instead of taking advantage of the deal – and immediately informing all his friends, family and acquaintances – Yehuda decided to spare a fellow Jew pain and purchased all the iPads himself. He now offered the seller the opportunity to buy them back at the $40 price and resell them for $400 as originally desired.

Our seller was amazed, dumbstruck, astonished – you name it. Things like this just don’t happen in our cut-throat, dog-eat-dog business world. He never found out Yehuda from Lakewood’s full name. He didn’t want to be identified. He was just one Jew who went out of his way to help another.

And that’s why this story is so amazing. The first step was looking beyond his own self-interest. This is already a higher level than most of us. The second step was actually acting to prevent the seller’s loss, buying the iPads himself. We might look and we might even feel badly for the hapless seller but would we think to buy them? Would we put our own money on the line?

This individual Jew’s behavior was above and beyond. It didn’t just show good character but spectacular character. It’s really what it means to think of someone else. It’s true empathy. I could go on and on. I plan to share it with all my classes, whether it’s on topic or not. Because character is always the topic.

It’s a rare action – which is why it’s a story – but it’s truly beautiful. It’s an uplifting moment amidst the usual dreary and depressing news fare. I’m always waiting for the right moment to use the expression, “Mi K’Amcha Yisrael”, “Almighty, Who is like Your people Israel?” I think I found it.

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