February 2, 2007

All Wooted Out

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What could it be? Only Woot knows.

We were at the “dollar” store with the kids and they were each allowed ot spend one of their dollars to get something. In the kids section, amid lots of little toy cars, bouncy balls, dolls, animals and such, they had a difficult decision to make. And then they were faced with the biggest kid draw: the “grab bag” for a dollar.

The promise of the grab bag is like a siren song. What’s in there? What could it possibly be? It could be a pony, or your favorite ice cream. It could be that toy you didn’t get for your birthday. It could be a laser gun!

As skeptical parents, we insisted on informing the kids against possible disappointment. “Kids,” we told them, “look around the store. Whatever is inside that bag, it’s most likely something from the store.” We tried to explain that if you didn’t like most of what is in the store, you’re likely not going to like what’s in the bag, because you’re just giving up your ability to choose (possibly in return for a slightly more generous helping of stuff you didn’t want in the first place.)

The kids understood and decided to choose their toys themselves rather than let the store do it. But the lure of the grab bag is strong. It lasts into adulthood.

Enter Woot. “Woot” is a site where they advertise “one day, one deal.” When they run out of the day’s deal, the site doesn’t sell anything for the rest of the day. Every once in a while, though they go into “woot-off” mode in which spinning lights appear on the site’s front page and they start a new sale as soon as the last one sells out. Woot-offs typically last a day. But the one in December laster 2 days.

The biggest draw at the woot-off is something called a “random bag of crap.” It’s a grab bag for adults. You pay $1 (+ $5 shipping) and Woot sends you something. You won’t know what it is until you get it. Among the people I know who follow woot-offs, random bags of crap are something akin to Christmas morning. People are glued to their monitors at home and at work, waiting for the current “woot” to end so they can see if the next item is “crap.” It’s somewhat comical. When the crap appears, you have to click fast, because they take under a minute to sell out.

I must admit, I was bit by the Woot bug. I followed the most recent woot-off, which lasted 3 days. Bags of crap appeared on the second day, and I missed them 3 times, even though I was clicking. Ryan was able to order 3. He’s of the impression that he’s going to be sent 3 unicorns, I think, and I wish him well. I pointed out to him that the battery operated scrubber was pretty popular.

Well, they finished off the woot-off last night, and my persistence “paid off.” I grabbed one of the random bags of crap just as the thing ended. I wasn’t fast enough to click “I want 3” — I didn’t want to risk missing it.

So, I’ll let you know what I get when it arrives… a unicorn or a personal scrubber.

It’s not exactly the same as the dollar store grab bag, because the merchandise at the woot-off are often considerably more expensive than a dollar. But maybe I’ll learn my own lesson about the grab bag.

Posted by James at February 2, 2007 7:32 AM
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I could hear the two of you celebrating from all the way upstairs yesterday. Silly me, I thought perhaps you had fixed a really pesky bug.

Posted by: Sara at February 2, 2007 9:50 AM

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