When a free market is in a sufficiently inefficient state for a sufficiently long period of time, people work to establish systems that allow the market to function better. It doesn’t happen overnight, but if someone notices widgets selling for half the price in China than in the US, he’ll buy there and sell here. That sort of thing.
We’re seeing it now with websites and ammunition. The inefficient market (retailers who haven’t raised prices are cleaned out minutes after ammo comes in stock) is being encapsulated and calcified in websites like GunBot that monitor the stock levels of retailers up to the minute and alerts you.
A new one just launched called AmmoScanner and the creator, in his announcement of it, promises more and better things to come. The risk in any type of economic load-balancing effort like this is that the market inefficiency will be solved by some structural or external change and all your work and capital investment (more the former than the latter in this case) will be a loss. But given that the ammo crisis, when it dies, will do it slowly and painfully, this type of site may prove handy to those of us lucky enough to be able to jump available stocks in the ten minutes before they sell out.
And, the good news is, sometimes efficiency gains made during a market disruption persist after the disruption is over, leading in the long run to a more efficient market. I imagine we’ll see that here if these websites stick around after prices come back down.
To read the original announcement and revel in the irony that the top comment at press time is bemoaning Cheaper Than Dirt actually allowing their prices to fluctuate to a market clearing rate in an effort to keep anything on their shelves for longer than 10 minutes (aka “price gouging”) check out the thread on Reddit.