576: Packages

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Packages
Day six: 'The hell? Who mails a bobcat?'
Title text: Day six: 'The hell? Who mails a bobcat?'

[edit] Explanation

Cueball wrote a script that searches online shopping sites for items that cost US$1 with free shipping. Because the script is programmed to use an account with a $365 balance, this script will buy one random item per day for a full year. Megan comments that Cueball might just end up with "lots of crap" but replies that he might get something interesting.

Over five days the script orders a length of rubber hose, a ski mask, a bear trap, a map of The Pentagon and "lube" (sexual lubrication). This pattern prompts Cueball to stop the script out of fear of being placed on a FBI watch list; to a paranoid passerby, the purchased items make Cueball look like a terrorist who plans to kidnap and torture federal employees. And also a pervert; such a contrast is considered funny.

In the title text a sixth item is sent, a bobcat. This may be connected with 325: A-Minus-Minus where Black Hat delivered a bobcat instead of a chair.

[edit] Transcript

[Cueball is sitting at his computer.]
Cueball: I love getting packages.
[Megan enters and Cueball turns towards her.]
Cueball: I set up a script to search eBay et. al. for $1 items with free shipping.
[Cueball comes home with a backpack on his back and find a package waiting for him on his doorstop.]
Cueball: I gave it $365, so each day it can buy me something random.
[Cueball, again sitting at his computer.]
Megan (off-screen): What if you just end up with lots of crap?
Cueball: I'll give it away.
Cueball: But I'm sure I'll end up with some interesting stuff.
[The next five panels have a caption in a black frame at the top. The caption is written first for each panel. In the first panel Cueball has unpacked a hose. The paper lies in tatters on the floor. Megan stands next to him.]
Day 1: Length of rubber hose
Cueball: Could be handy around the house.
[Cueball stands with a black item and the torn paper it came in. Megan looks on.]
Day 2: Ski mask
Cueball: It's spring, but hey.
[Cueball is standing alone with a bear trap and the box it came in on the floor.]
Day 3: Bear trap
Cueball: Huh.
[Megan is back as Cueball looks at a piece of paper that came in an envelope.]
Day 4: Tourist map of the Pentagon.
Megan: Uh oh.
[Cueball is standing alone with a tube in one hand and the box it came in in the other hand.]
Day 5: Lube
Cueball: I'm stopping this before I end up on every F.B.I. watch list ever.

[edit] Trivia

Someone has set up an actual service inspired by this comic, which does exactly what this comic describes.


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Discussion

The only way I could imagine Cueball being on a wanted watch list is if the items he ordered could be interpreted as potentially being used in a hostage crisis at The Pentagon. --Btx40 (talk) 20:27, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

What's the lube for? 103.10.66.8 16:29, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
It's only for adults.--Dgbrt (talk) 17:24, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

Has anyone actually tried this?--Mynotoar (talk) 22:57, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

This guy did. 74.124.100.108 07:47, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
Here's one you can sign up for. I've been signed up for a while and packages are starting to trickle in, much to my amusement. --Alex (talk) 22:46, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
I've added a link to the "Bobcat in a Box" website in a trivia section, because I really thought it should be mentioned in the main article. Just some random derp 18:33, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

Who would sell a bobcat for a dollar? 108.162.250.217 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I think the shipping costs will eat you alive. 108.162.220.53 18:49, 20 June 2015 (UTC)

Similar sort of experiment with a $100 cap, in bitcoins. Was discontinued within three months after the program purchased ecstasy internationally, a likely stolen credit card, and a presumably fraudulent (but very high quality) Hungarian passport - in addition to some other suspect items of questionable legality. 108.162.219.98 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I think it would be an acceptable sacrifice of randomness in purchases to put a few "forbidden" key words in your purchase-bot's programming. -Pennpenn 108.162.250.162 04:22, 17 July 2015 (UTC)
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