A bookie might have given long odds on this one, but here's the tale of Jim Navarde. Or at least the tale he tells.
He says he decided to buy his wife an iPod for Christmas at a San Diego Target store. I wasn't aware people still bought iPods. It seems, though, that they do.
Navarde's wife reportedly didn't appreciate the gift very much, because when she opened the box, she found only erasers and index cards.
As San Diego's CBS 8 reports, Navarde said he was very surprised. The shrink wrap looked genuine. It was merely the contents that were not.
So he took it back to Target -- a different Target store in San Diego, as it happens.
At this Target, they believed his story. They asked Navarde to pick out a new box from the display.
"We get a black one out of the case, bring it up to the front. I tell the lady, you know what, I want you to open it this time, because I don't want to take it home and have it be full of erasers and then you really won't believe me," he told CBS 8.
You really won't believe this, but this iPod box was also allegedly full of erasers -- albeit of different colors. And, well, no iPod.
Dear mathematicians and actuaries, what are the chances that a man would walk into two different Target stores and select two iPod boxes, both of which having their essence erased?
Still, Target says it's investigating this latest apparent attempt to defraud innocent Apple buyers. It gave this statement to ABC7 News: "We take this incident very seriously and worked directly with the guest to resolve the issue and make it right. We are looking into this incident and have no additional information to share."
It's true that some people are fooled by rogues in parking lots, rather than stores -- such as the woman who paid $180 for, or the British man who paid $390 for an iPad and .
But famed British retailer Tesco. (He was put in jail for a while, as no one believed him.)
Yet again, then, we must iterate the same words of caution: open the box before you leave the store. Some retailers might not be as apparently understanding as the Target in San Diego. Some might want to erase you from their list of good-faith customers.