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Jerky Boys: I love the totally useless things that my Amazon Gold Box presents in the vain hope that I'll buy an attachment to an appliance I don't have. Yesterday I was presented with the Beef Jerky Works Kit. It's a caulking gun that instead of caulk contains ground meat and spices. You spray it into strips and dehydrate it in your food dehydrator. Remember, when you hear the word "jerky", reach for your gun... your jerky gun, that is!

I think that the Gold Box picks stuff more or less at random (maybe everyone's Gold Box is the same?) from the list of high-margin items like appliances, rather than make any effort to match up with things Amazon thinks you might want. Otherwise, as Cam pointed out, people might wait to buy something until it went into their Gold Box, making the exercise counterproductive (for Amazon).

This stubborn refusal to make use of the recommendation information is actually the reason why I like the Gold Box: it's the closest thing I've ever seen to a "random item for sale" button. If some online megastore had such a truly random button, I would do nothing but hit that button all day. First I'd need to come up with some sort of business plan for hitting that button all day, though. The obvious one involves a website where I point the jaded viewer to ever more odd and interesting books and appliances that they never would have found through any recommendation algorithm. The site makes money by taking a commission on sales. The site makes money by being a front for a diamond smuggling ring.

: Kris sets me straight:

Wouldn't the "Back off, I have Firestones!" be a joke on the Firestone defective tire recall thing, meaning the car is dangerous to drive near? I feel dumb telling you if you knew already, but if you neglected to inform your audience of that for the sake of a "random car parts" joke, I think that's dishonest and hurtful.

I vaguely knew about some tire recall thing but I didn't know they were Firestones. I almost made the connection anyway, but you must understand that this was a truck made to look like a miniature monster truck. It had a big American flag painted on the driver's side door (possibly on the other door as well). To me the bumper sticker looked like the driver was taking sides in a miniature Ford/Chevy-style flamewar; I thought the only reason there were even words on the bumper sticker was that it would have taken too long for another driver to figure out that that thing Calvin is pissing on is the Goodyear logo.

This seemed much more likely to me than that the driver of the truck would have a bumper sticker saying "Look out! An essential part of my ultra-customized vehicle is substandard and could fail at any moment! It's wacky!" But clearly, I was wrong, and the driver of the truck has a more nuanced psychological profile than I'd thought. Or maybe the bumper sticker was put on by guerrilla bumper sticker vandals. Yeah, that's it. Elven vandals... with jetpacks!

Update: Kris achieves a Hegelian synthesis:

If the car was all tricked out and huge rather than a sensible truck, I'd be more likely to believe the company that made the bumper sticker said "hee hee, the tire recall!" and the guy who bought the bumper sticker saw it and said "... YEAH! FIRESTONES ROCK!"

Spam: live in your house. Yeah, that's the idea.


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