The Thrill of the eBay Mystery Box

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!