People buy iPads, get floor tiles

The police department in Ceres, Calif., warns of the latest, and certainly not greatest, iPad scam. There are also reports of televisions that are mere blocks of wood.

Chris Matyszczyk
Tile be darned. City of Ceres Police Department

It will end the day people stop begin gullible. And greedy, of course.

Bargains on electronics are constantly being offered in the streets and parking lots of the world. These rarely turn out to be bargains at all.

The latest involves boxes that appear to include nicely packed iPads. These turn out to include nicely packed floor tiles.

I am grateful to the San Francisco Chronicle for sending me to the Ceres Police Department's own Web site, where I find tales of misappropriated tiles.

In this case, the innocent were inveigled on the streets of Ceres and offered what the police describe as "out of the box" prices.

Some might wonder that you'd have to be out of your box to believe such an inducement.

However, when they were encouraged to inspect the goods, the customers saw they were bubble-wrapped and had store labeling.

Yet, when you're being asked to hand over cash in the street, it's always worth inspecting every last element of your purchase.

What the people who paid "hundreds of dollars" for these deals discovered was that they had bought floor tiles covered in paper and adorned with the Apple logo.

This ruse follows a hallowed tradition, started, perhaps, by the $180 wooden iPad.

The wooden approach hasn't died. The Ceres police would also like residents to take into consideration the somewhat cheap flat-screen TVs also on offer on the city's streets.

These are actually large blocks of wood.

I am floored.