Instead they came from a trip to the mall.
As always, Lynch was interested in what people were buying there.
However, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal by Rolfe Winkler there's a new twist to this theory: these days it also pays to keep an eye not on what consumers are buying, but what criminals are stealing.
As Winkler claims we're suddenly in the grips of an "iCrime Wave". Not surprisingly, the products mentioned are those from Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL).
What's also interesting is what's not mentioned.
There are no crimes associated with Samsung, the world's largest mobile phone company who partners with Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) in the Galaxy Nexus.
There is no report of the criminal element targeting the Blackberry from Research-in-Motion Ltd. (Nasdaq: RIMM), even though it was the first smartphone.
As Israel Ganot, the founder of Gazelle, an electronics recycler, notes, "There is insatiable demand for iPhones outside the U.S., mostly in emerging markets."
That is certainly the case in China, where more than 20 fake Apple stores have been busted.
Meanwhile, there no reports of stores anywhere that traffic in fake Research-in-Motion or Nokia products.
The Reason Behind the Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) iCrime Wave
This Apple crime wave is best explained by the basic economic principle of "revealed preference."
Articulated by Paul Samuelson in 1938, it is, "An economic theory of consumption behavior which asserts that the best way to measure consumer preferences is to observe their purchasing behavior. Revealed preference theory works on the assumption that consumers have considered a set of alternatives before making a purchasing decision. Thus, given that a consumer chooses one option out of the set, this option must be the preferred option."
Here, "revealed preference" is what is being stolen or bootlegged.
In the endresult, it is meeting consumer demand for a good or service which in this case is smart phones. More specifically, smart phones from Apple such as the iPhone.
This will only get worse when the iPhone 5 is introduced this fall, as is widely reported; or the rumored "iPad Mini" actually surfaces.
After all, no company does a better product launch than Apple.
In fact, when the iPhone 4S came out last year, there were crowd control problems at numerous Apple stores.
As for Apple stock, it has been just about flat for the last month of trading.
In that regard, realism has suddenly set in since everyone, everywhere will not be buying a new iPhone and iPad every quarter.
And while Apple may never see $1,000 a share it's still a company with a profit margin of 27.10% with a return-on-equity of 47.10%.
What's more, on a quarterly basis, sales growth is higher by 58.86%. By comparison that's still far ahead of its competitors.
For Microsoft, quarterly sales growth is only increasing by 3.98%. At Google, it is up 35.32%. At Research-in-Motion, quarterly sales growth is off by 42.67%. For Nokia, quarterly sales growth is down 18.68%.
So while Apple's strong financials obviously did not satisfy the analyst community which was expecting better numbers, it certainly shows the revealed preference of those meeting customer demands from both sides of the street.
As long as crooks are still stealing Apple products, Apple shareholders have nothing to worry about.
Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) stock has soared 54% this year to $624.
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