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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.

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