Sunday, November 19, 2017
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The BSD’s Stylus Black Market


Source: Laptop Mag

The stylus was introduced as part of One-to-One laptop initiative to BSD middle and high schools. Since then, the small black pens have been stolen, misplaced, or even sliding out of the computer. Thus, there seems as if there are more students without their styluses than there are with styluses.

Despite this, there are some profiteers benefiting from the elusory stylus. These students recover missing styluses – whether in hallways, at lunch, or even stealing from their peers in the classroom – and sell them to unfortunate students who had lost their own styluses. When looking through the laptop lost-and-found of Odle, located in the office, all the styluses in the laptops were missing.

The regular price to replace a stylus is $13, but the black-marketers sell them for much less, ranging from $5 to $10. This imbalance results in a loop: The theft and sale of styluses back and forth drives the dependency of the students upon it, and therefore the prevalence of the market.

The stylus black market presents three key issues:

  1. The BSD loses substantial amounts of money when students stop buying styluses from them, because of the black market’s cheap prices.
  2. When students’ styluses are stolen repeatedly, students cannot write on OneNote, resulting in frustration from teachers and students alike and a detraction from the One-to-One Initiative in general.
  3. Stealing and selling styluses is a bad practice, and is one that displays a lack of self-discipline and neglect by authorities. According to BBC’s Bitesize, these are traits connected to why people commit crimes.

However, in the near future, the BSD has no tools to tackle the black market. When the BSD tried to ban the pirating of the game Minecraft on BSD laptops, it somehow proliferated a few months later; probably the same thing would happen with a ban on stealing or selling styluses. While the BSD obviously opposes the stylus market, many students are ignorant or indifferent of the market, and many others support it. As long as students continue to ignore or support the black market on styluses, no action will be taken to stop it.