Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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. 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 reference to 325: A-Minus-Minus, the script managed to make one last order for an item being sold by Black Hat, with a bobcat being delivered instead.
- [Cueball is sitting at his computer.]
- Cueball: I love getting packages.
- [Megan enters.]
- Cueball: I set up a script to search eBay et. al. for $1 items with free shipping.
- [Cueball checks his doorstop; a package is waiting for him.]
- Cueball: I gave it $365, so each day it can buy me something random.
- Megan: What if you just end up with lots of crap?
- Cueball: I'll give it away. But I'm sure I'll end up with some interesting stuff.
- [Day 1: Length of rubber hose.]
- Cueball: Could be handy around the house.
- [Day 2: Ski mask.]
- Cueball: It's spring, but hey.
- [Day 3: Bear trap.]
- Cueball: Huh.
- [Day 4: Tourist map of the Pentagon.]
- Megan: Uh oh.
- [Day 5: Lube.]
- Cueball: I'm stopping this before I end up on every F.B.I. watch list ever.
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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? 126.96.36.199 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. 188.8.131.52 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? 184.108.40.206 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- I think the shipping costs will eat you alive. 220.127.116.11 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. 18.104.22.168 (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 22.214.171.124 04:22, 17 July 2015 (UTC)
I am totally signing up for Bobcat in a Box! :D --JayRulesXKCD what's up? 18:40, 10 February 2017 (UTC)