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Mystery Sale Update: Hurry, Get Yours Today Before It's Gone!

A quick update about the Mystery Sale: Thank you to everyone who has participated! Your purchase helped a great deal to support the blog.

As many of you know, right after we announced the Mystery Sale yesterday, our servers crashed because of the traffic. While it was a painful experience, this elucidated a weakness in the way we set up the servers which I didn't realize before. We've taken steps to solve the problem (which, of course, involves more and more hardware).

Looking back, we've had many of these growing pains - Neato started on a shared hosting platform in 2005 (which cost a few bucks a month). Since then, we've had to move to ever larger, more complicated and thus more expensive hosting platforms. Instead of fretting over outages and meltdowns, I choose to view them as milestones in the growth of the blog (and the shop too, now).

All this is because and for you, dear Neatoramanauts! So from all of us here on Neatorama, thank you! We couldn't have made it this far without the blog's loyal readers (and hopefully, loyal customers - or soon-to-be one - of the Neatorama Online Shop). I hope you will help spread words about the blog by telling your friends and family about it.

Because of the interruption, I'm extending the Mystery Sale a little while longer - if you haven't gotten yours, there's still time. Don't miss out: Link [Update 5/6/09 - Time's Up! Thank you for all of you who participated in this Mystery Sale! For those who missed it, maybe next time!]


This is a good idea...but just a note: its worthless to copy for another site unless the rep is there, so it isn't something other small sites could emulate. Hope you have success with this sale.
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Ooh comments are not disabled anymore. I had a little trouble. For some reason I had to create a new account.
But I ordered. YAY!!
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I will just say that the first time I read about this "mystery sale" i got all excited and bought THREE things. And I got utter crap: an oversized (re: useless) remote control; a TERRIBLE, unweaarable belt buckle; and a throw-away t-shirt.

Don't waste your time...
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Judging by the comments from the two previous sales I've seen here, I won't be participating this time. Last time, I also ended up with the (absurd and useless) giant remote, a shirt, a plastic tiara, and a gaudy belt buckle. I couldn't even give the stuff away, no one wanted them. :/

The one item I did like (that unfortunately still didn't make up for the total spent) was a fascinating little fact book that I could enjoy while waiting at the doctor's, taking the bus, etc. Exactly the sort of thing you'd expect someone that visits Neatorama to enjoy, really. More items like this would be awesome.
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@Raul - we no longer ship to Mexico b/c half of our shipments never arrive. It's quite a sad decision to stop shipping to Mexico as we have very good customers there, but ultimately it makes no business sense to continue to suffer the loses.

@Everyone who participated in the Mystery Sale: Thank you! Your participation really goes a long way in supporting the blog.

@Everyone else who didn't - As outlined in previous updates, I understand that many of you weren't satisfied with the products you received. I'd like you to know that we take feedbacks very seriously and have invested quite a bit of time and energy in improving the subsequent Mystery Sales.

It is quite impossible to satisfy everyone. I've received complaints about the book that O was happy about, and kudos from those who liked the belt. Some of you liked the strawz, whereas others reviled it). But we continue to strive to improve the selections.
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I must admit that the plastic drinking straws were a huge letdown. I genuinely don't believe that anyone working at Neatorama actually believes that straws (which are free all over the country) are "worth at least $9.95"

I wouldn't be sore at all if there was at least a hint that gumball machine prizes were on the list of items considered "worth at least $9.95".
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Come on guys. It's a MYSTERY sale. The joy is not knowing what your going to get. While I would obviously much rather have a Tokyo Flash watch, I wouldn't complain about some funky straws. (please tokyoflash watch, PLEASE TOKYOFLASH WATCH)
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I still think it's fair to warn people that they might get 10 (normally free all across the world due to their minuscule cost) drinking straws cut in half and a handful of plastic. The things must literally cost a fraction of a penny to produce.

Unless you collect straws, my advice is to put a quarter in a bouncy ball machine and donate the remaining $9.75 to charity.

Also just because it cost you quite a bit to buy "strawz" doesn't mean other people won't feel taken when they realize even a 99-cent store could turn massive profit on these.

what you get:
http://www.thinkgeek.com/images/products/additional/large/diy_strawz_all.jpg

what you could get for $10:
http://www.kitchensupplydirect.com/DIX-JW74.html

http://www.amazon.com/3M-Scotch-Removable-Magic-1296in/dp/B00006IF61/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=office-products&qid=1241673924&sr=1-1
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@crob02 - I don't think I can convince you that Strawz is worth $10, but that is the price it is being sold retail at some places (others sell them even higher). You referenced the ThinkGeek website for the picture of the Strawz. They sell 'em for $9.99.
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While I get the strawz are 10 bucks in some places...I was quite disappointed. Me and the hubby bought 3 items. The shipping time frame was ridiculously long. We received 2 straws and a bacon wallet...The wallet was cool-ish - and funny. While I love woot's BOC (I had thought this would be a similar idea here) which are normally the same TYPE of items...it's only a buck versus this was a ten dollar boc basically - without the bag even! For almost 30 bucks after shipping getting 2 straw kits was highly disappointing. We will be passing these up from here on out. Good luck to all those who take the plunge - I hope the straws are all sold out!
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Y'all are whiny. Just enjoy a nice surprise! 9.95 (plus shipping) doesn't seem like that much to pay for excitement and mystery! And, we're supporting a blog we love. And the straws look kinda cool.

Can't we all just get along?? Oh the humanity!
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I'm excited! I missed the last two sales and am looking forward to a surprise in the mail. I don't care when it comes!
Love neatorama and have been a reader since I found the link on Fortean Times four years ago in August!
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For the love of God, you naysayers just need to shut up. It's a MYSTERY sale. Obviously, there's no way EVERYONE could get a PREMIUM gift...it would cost way too much. If you're dissatisfied, DON'T PARTICIPATE. Stop bitching and moaning about trivial things like this. Alex, keep up the good work.
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Ordered mine, hope I get something cool. For me, the suspense is almost worth the $15.

I got the straws last time. Not my thing, but my daughter sure got excited about them.
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geez louise - I now realize why you had the comments disabled when you made the post.

You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not please all of the people all of the time.
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I'm thinking along the same lines as myst978 ... I expected something more like a woot bag of crap ... a grab bag type deal of all of the left over trinkets and things in the warehouse .. maybe the odd tshirt etc.. the stuff might be crap .. but everyone gts diffrent random crap

what I did not expect was for you to use this an an opertunity to unload hundreds of units of crap at MSRP + shipping (nor did i expect said $5 shipping to take nearly a month to arrive)

The Mysterbox tainted my entire perspective of neatorama. I felt cheated and hoodwinked yes it's valued at $10 ... I paid $15 and waited a month to get it ...

if you honestly thought the strawz were worth $10 .. i feel like you would have listed them in the neatorama store .. not unloaded them on 90% of the people who bought mystery boxes
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I agree with Jay.

The "mystery" was fun for two weeks and then it was just annoying to have to wait. Plus sending everyone the same thing (STRAWZ) was a major let down. I by no means was expecting a premium item, but come on - I can get straws for free at McDonalds.

I hate to say it, but I read Neat-o-Rama WAY less now, after the disappointing mystery sale experience.

I am sure Alex has improved the process and all that, so I hope you all get something great this time around!

On the note of supporting the blog - it seems like now that the readers write most of the posts anyway, the N-o-R staff now has time to get a part time job. Just a thought. :)
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Oh shush, all of you nay-sayers!

If you want to be "conscientious consumers" go to to CostCo (or Walmart or Pennywise or wherever it is you can go to complain and whine ad naseum). It's a MYSTERY SALE!!

I have missed all of them (but this one) and am excited at whatever comes my way. $9.95 be damned! It's for a good cause - an excellent blog with brilliant content and my daily ritual. If I get straws I shall drink with a little more zeal. If I get a belt-buckle, then let the hoe-down begin! I shall wear it as a badge of honor! (Especially if it says "Neatorama"!)

So I say to you, my fellow Neatorama-blog-o-nauts, sale on! (Mystery Sale) Sale on.
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@TerryI, Frau, & WillTheThrill

wow .. someone's been drinking the koolaid ... Look .. I get that you guys think this is a nonprofit and feel good about purchases "cuz you're helpin' the cause" (insert "cheezey sarcastic double thumbs up while winking real hard" action here) ... great for you

However some of us legitimately feel ripped off.. regardless of how much we like the content provided here .. This is a business .. they gather articles (that other people wrote) add their $.02 & give you a link for more details ... They also sell ad space and stuff in their online store ..

don't get me wrong .. i like the articles, that's why i keep coming back ... But don't expect me to "just put my hands on the monitor and believe" & feel good about throwing money away

If you were happy with the mystery box great.. leave a comment saying your happy .. but leave the holier than thou "i can't believe all the negativity.." crap out Those of use that feel like we got ripped off have just as much of a right to post our discontent as you do your praise.

Jay

“You have to know going in that... there is a huge commitment and not a lot of money in it...We're not out to gouge people.” - Jim Jones
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hi Jay

I think you have misunderstood me, and I do not understand how my post was 'holier than thou".
And this is beating a dead horse over and over because it has been discussed in the previous mystery sale comments and at length over in the forum.

I paid for a mystery item. I accepted that when I order something that is a mystery. It is like getting a "grab bag". You do not know what you are going to get.

I do not disagree with those leaving their complaints - but to do it anytime the words "mystery sale" are brought up...well that is just tiresome.

"this is Neatorama - people like to complain. :P "
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@Frau

I apologize .. perhaps I should have address each of you separately.. i did not intend for the "Holier than thou" portion of my rant to be directed at you ( did intend to direct it towards both TerryI & WillTheThrill )

I included you because i felt your initial comment implied that the comments should have remained closed to prevent valid complaints, However your reply provided clarification. Thank you

I was not aware of the previous discussion in the forum .. i've visited the forum.. i only come here to read & buy crap .. not talk to you people ;-) (please note winky face... i kid)
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@Frau

I apologize .. perhaps I should have address each of you separately.. i did not intend for the "Holier than thou" portion of my rant to be directed at you ( did intend to direct it towards both TerryI & WillTheThrill )

I included you because i felt your initial comment implied that the comments should have remained closed to prevent valid complaints, However your reply provided clarification. Thank you

I was not aware of the previous discussion in the forum .. i've never visited the forum.. i only come here to read & buy crap .. not talk to you people ;-) (please note winky face... i kid)
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Frau is right about the discussion at the forum (Link) I should've let people know about it earlier, to avoid re-hashing the same complaints.

For what it's worth, I'd like to point out that your feedback, good or bad, are published on Neatorama without being censored. We will continue to improve the Mystery Sale as we do the blog and the online shop. In the meanwhile, your support is needed and is very much appreciated.
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Hey Alex, is there anyway we can all pitch in and give Jay his money back so he'll stop whining?

Jay - As stated many times... it's a Mystery Sale! You knew that going in and now you're upset.

Take responsibility for your own actions. You knew there was a chance you were going to get the "Monty Hall Deal." If you didn't like it, learn from that and move on. Don't re-hash it again and again. Don't buy the mystery sale again.

And it's not a holier-than-thou attitude. I'm just tired of hearing people blaming others for their own ineptitude. And I'm quite sure I'm not alone in that sentiment. I say good day, Sir!
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@TerryI

take 2 minutes and go re-read my very first comment in this thread.. you'll see my complaint wasn't that i got crap ... it's that everyone got the same crap ...

i get that it's a mystery box ... when I got my Mystery box 31 days after i paid for it .. it was no mystery that i got .. it was the same goddam straw that everyone else had gotten and posted about
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See, I have this thing: I love getting mail. I especially love getting mail when it comes in a box. I bought three, and even if it's 3 sheets of bubble wrap, well not only will I have gotten a box in the mail, I'll have 3 whole sheets of bubble wrap to pop as I wish.
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Hey! Am I the first one who got his Mystery-o-surprisey-thing? Well, regardless... I got mine today. It's a copy of The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats Sell Out with an autographed bookplate! I am well pleased!
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