If you're not familiar with Woot or the idea of a Woot-Off, see "What is Woot".
Usually about once every Woot-Off and at infrequent other occasions, Woot will list an item for sale called simply "Random Crap". This is an item, priced at $1.00, which entitles you to at least one item of random crap thrown in a box and sent to you. Like any Woot item, you can choose to buy up to three. Buying three and adding their fixed $5 shipping charge, you'll end up buying a mystery box with at least three items for a grand total of $8.00. This is usually how Woot gets rid of broken items, scratch and dent stuff, stuff they have too few of to actually sell in normal Woot fashion, or stuff they thought was funny but couldn't justify selling through normal means.
Woot is very up front about the idea that this stuff is most emphatically crap and really not worth the $6-8 you'll spend to get it. However, that doesn't deter the masses of Wooters from jumping on this thing whenever it's available. The appearance of Random Crap, or "Bag of Crap" as it's more affectionately known, usually foreshadows the complete meltdown of the Woot servers under the crushing load of everyone trying to get in on the crap action. Sellout is usually acheived in less than 5 minutes, and trying to get an order to go through in that time is pretty difficult considering that every single browser request times out or comes back with a server error.
I've been watching Woot-Offs closely trying to get the bag of crap for like two years now. Usually it comes on right when I step out to go to the bathroom or something. But, I've been sitting right at my screen when it comes up several times only to be stymied by the server meltdown.
Last month's Woot-Off, I happened to be in the right place at the right time, and had the bag of crap pop up right in front of me. I began clicking furiously, and was getting nowhere for about 5 minutes. I was sure that it was sold out and done, when finally, my order went through, and I got the confirmation page. Success!
To save money on shipping crap, Woot sends the bag of crap out via the absolute slowest shipping method imaginable, which probably involves loading things on an actual slow boat somewhere. It seems from checking the Woot forums that 2-3 weeks seems to be the average it takes to actually get your crap. So, even though the Woot-Off was about a month ago, I just got my crap last week.
Getting the crap is of course the highlight of the experience, because that's when you find out if you've scored anything great, or if you should be embarrassed that you wasted the eight bucks. I had the crap delivered to work, and when the delivery person brought it, I was really surprised at the size of the box. It seemed rather big for just 3 little items of crap. I was cautiously optimistic.
Opening the box showed me a lot more than three items, and the more I dug into it, the more excited I got. Here is all the crap laid out:
I got (going sort of clockwise from the far left):
- A 4 pack of iGo cigarette lighter power adapters. These are universal power adapters, the idea being that you have one adapter and just buy interchangeable tips for all the electronics you have. Well, I have 4 of the actual adapters now, and no tips, so that's kind of useless. The tips cost as much or more than cheap cigarette lighter adapters do, so I don't anticipate using these much.
- A RCA remote control. It doesn't appear to be universal, but has controls for VCR/DVD/TV/SAT, so it probably came with some RCA product and controls other RCA products. Well, I have an RCA TV in the bedroom, so I guess this will be a good backup remote if the three other remotes I have for that TV get lost or break.
- Some cheap Chinese earbuds. I thought these would be great for running. They weren't.
- An expansion pack of cards for some trading card game of which I've never heard.
- A JVC camcorder bag. I actually needed something like this a couple of months ago, but just went and bought a bag instead. I'm sure I'll find good use for this to hold something though, as it appears to be pretty durable, and has good size pockets and stuff.
- A ThermoHawk infrared thermometer. This is actually pretty cool. Basically, it lets you measure the surface temperature of something without touching it. It's fun to watch the pan heat up, or see how much colder the window is when compared to the wall. It has a built in flashlight as well. I don't have any serious use for this, therefore could never justify paying actual money for it, but it's nice to have.
- A Motorola Bluetooth headset. My car has a built-in Bluetooth handsfree speakerphone, so I don't have a lot of need for this, but it might come in handy around the house. Or, I might just start wearing it around at work so I can look like a tool.
- A Kodak digital camera. The camera comes with computer cable, carrying case, power adapter, and EasyShare dock adapter, but doesn't come with a battery or a crack-free LCD screen. I assume it would still take pictures even without displaying them, but I haven't a battery, and haven't broken out the power adapter to try it.
- Mr. T & The Mystery of the Mind Thieves, a book and record set still in the shrink wrap complete with old school Wal-Mart price tag ($2.77, if you're curious). This is quite possibly the choicest item of the bunch.
- The last item is definitely the highest value item. It's a white 30GB Microsoft Zune. The box is pretty banged up, but it has all the accessories, and the player itself is spotless. I don't quite have a need for this, since I've got music on my phone and would rather just carry one device. However, this could be a great gift or make a good profit for me on eBay.
Disclaimer: Not all bags of crap are created equal. This is not at all representative of the average haul. Your crap may vary. Don't go out wasting two years of your life expecting to get something as good as what I've got.