If you are like most people who live outside of a cave, you have likely seen the Buzzfeed video on the eBay phenomenon known as the “Mystery Box”, and all the videos that soon followed. They basically show someone who ordered a Mystery Box on eBay opening it in front of the camera to reveal its contents. I watched several of these videos and immediately thought, “Hey…I can do THAT!”
What would make a person want to pay for items they know nothing about from a person that they know less than nothing about? I don’t know, but if you like surprises, then I guess a surprise is a surprise, even if it’s a bad one. And some of the boxes I saw online were really, really bad. So my next thought was, “Hey…I can do BETTER than that!”
I think the only thing I find more fun than receiving a surprise is giving one. Right away, I started piling up stuff that I though would be fun and/or useful. I made 4 different boxes and listed them. “Mystery Box, All NEW Items, NO TRASH, Fun!” Or something like that. This was around 8pm. The following morning, I go to check my listings, and where is my Mystery Box??? DELETED. By eBay. With an automated message about how mystery boxes are not allowed. Whaaaaat?!? So I do a quick search on eBay for “mystery box”…over 9,000 results. Clearly, there has been some mistake, as there are thousands of people “allowed” to list mystery boxes. I try again. Deleted. I rephrase the title and description. Deleted. I call it a Grab Bag instead of a Mystery Box, but I’m not happy with that because I know that no one is doing a search for “grab bag”, so I change it back. Deleted. I give up.
Then I decide I will order a box from a seller whose listing states that they have sold over 100 mystery boxes. How??? I choose an $8 box with free shipping. I’m not expecting much for that price, but I have to know how these people are doing this without having their listings removed. While I am on that seller’s page, I decide to try one more thing. I click “Sell one like this”, tweak the title and description, put 4 quantity, and list it.
SUCCESS! Not only has this listing been up for a record 2 days and counting, I sold one of the boxes today! I don’t think I have ever been more excited about selling something in my life. I have no idea what was so different about this listing that it was not deleted.
In the meantime, I still have to get the box that I ordered. I check on my order and under the listing title I see a message from eBay stating that the item has been…DELETED. It had already been marked shipped, so no matter, and I can move on knowing that it’s them and not me.
So I guess the secret to keeping a Mystery Box listing up on eBay is…RELIST INDEFINITELY. Eventually they might leave you alone.
I haven’t received my box yet, but I’ll post about it when I do. If you decide to live dangerously for a minute and order a Mystery Box from me, I would love to hear what you think of your box in the comments!