So, you’d like to buy a refurbished product from the Apple Store, but it’s currently Out of Stock. And will probably be for a while, and when it’s not anymore, the few units available will be gone in minutes.
So you need a way to be notified ASAP when it’s available, so you can have a chance to order it.

Here’s a simple way using cron.

1. Get the product URL from the Apple Store Refurbished page.
You can find it on Google by searching for:
site:store.apple.com country refurbished product name

Example: site:store.apple.com canada refurbished Apple TV

The product URL for an Apple TV (2nd gen) in Canada is:
http://store.apple.com/ca/product/FC572LL/A

2. Under the price, on the right, you should see “Available: Out of stock” (or the equivalent localized in your language).

3. Create a cron to look for “Out of stock” (or the equivalent localized in your language), and email you when that string can’t be found on the product page.

Example:

* * * * * if [ "`curl -s "http://store.apple.com/ca/product/FC572LL/A" | grep "Out of stock" | wc -l`" != "1" ]; then echo "http://store.apple.com/ca/product/FC572LL/A" | mail -s "Your Refurbished Apple product is now available!" you@something.com; fi

Just change the product URL twice in the above, and change the email address, and you’ll receive an email within one minute of your product being available.

If you don’t have an always open Mac/Linux server that can send emails, to run this cron on, just send me your email address and the product URL you’d like to monitor. I’ll be happy to hook you up. Update: Just go to arsc.pommepause.com if you’d like to be notified of refurbished Apple products availability. It’s a little something I threw together that uses the above technique.