Nutpharm has mentioned the mystery auctions on ebay in the past. in these auctions, you bid on something unknown. it might be a ferrari. it might be a rock in a box with a label that says ‘suck this.’ you never know. but the seller certainly does better than the buyer.

i’m a big fan of woot!. on woot! you have the option of buying one thing per day. they sell reasonably cool things and what is usually the best price anywhere. i lurked on woot for a while, and make the first purchase back in august of 05 when i bought my first infocus projector. i’ve now scored two projectors for the home cinema (sold the first on craigslist), a dyson vacuum cleaner, some flying monkeys, and a few other things. i’ve also bought some of their tshirts, but honestly i don’t like the feel of american apparel shirts. that makes me very uncool, but they feel like polyester. polyester makes me uncomfortable. i keep saying that i’m going to try their wine site, but i don’t ever seem to get around to it.

usually woot sells one item a day, starting a 12m central time. they sell that item until they’re all gone. then they stop selling things for the day. shipping is always $5 no matter how many items you buy and you can never buy more than three of anything.

woot is cool. they occasionally have woot offs. woot offs are very cool. woot offs are back to back sales of random things in their warehouse. usually at an even greater discount. people stay up for days at a time chasing a woot off. great deals, and a very vibrant community on the web site, posting some very funny comments. there’s an entire subculture built around the site.

but what everyone loves is the woot bag of crap. no one knows what’s going to be in the bag of crap. you can buy up to three, and each bag costs $1. with shipping, three bags cost you $8 total. have i gotten any? yes. three, i think. that’s included a honeywell air purifier (which was sold on craigslist for $100), a virgin mobile cordless phone with a dead battery on the handset, but a working answering machine. also a virgin mobile cd player which i’ve never used. a box of 100 floppy disks. a very nice pen. two, yes two, camcorder cases. a book on how to look busy in the office. and some other stuff i can’t recall.

bags of crap are always a good deal. people post what they receive on the website and some people get dvd players or roombas while others get camcorder bags and pens. they ship whatever they have left in the warehouse and it really is random. they’re nearly impossible to get, as they only stay available for a few minutes before they sell out. but if you get one, you’ll feel as if you’ve won the lottery.

so, a new site has popped up on my radar. somethingstore sells one thing a day for $10, shipping included. i’m not so sure about this concept. woot buys in bulk and gets a discount because they can commit to a fixed number of items, which are often refurbished (like my $200 dyson). but somethingstore must keep costs below $10 a purchase to profit. of course, they also need to send better things to some people to build good press. for the consumer, this is nothing more than gambling. woot’s bags of crap are gambling as well, but since they’re so rare, you know that you’ll almost always get something worth more than $8- woot uses it as a way to encourage people to come to the site to see what’s for sale. those of us looking for a bag of crap often find something else we want to buy in lieu of the BoC. it’s like their advertising budget.

there’s little incentive for somethingstore to send valuable things, is there? is it just a $10 lottery? i might give it a try in a few weeks…

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