Do you ever look at Amazon listings and see items so obscure you wonder why anyone would ever buy them?
Well, there might be a reason for that beyond a simple ‘people have really weird tastes that we’ll never begin to understand’.
Journalist Meagan Day might well have ended up cracking the code of some of those bizarre listings – and all completely by accident.
It all began when she saw some felt hats listed on the marketplace site by a seller going by the name ‘Russian-Bear’. The hats were listed as being suitable to wear to a sauna, and they said ‘Oligarch’ on them in Cyrillic script.
Day thought it would be funny to buy them for her friends. Seems pretty normal so far, right, aside from the question of who might want felt sauna hats with the word ‘Oligarch’ on them in the first place?
So, what do you reckon happened? Perhaps it’s a funny story about her ordering six hats and getting just three, or getting a hilariously large number of hats show up at her door.
Or maybe there was a hilarious typo. Maybe she’d shown it to a Russian friend and found out it didn’t say ‘Oligarch’ at all, but rather something much more embarrassing.
Oh no, it was neither of those things. Those would have been entirely ordinary compared to what actually happened…
I mean how do you react to such a thing? Like this, probably.
Once the dust had settled, Day began theorising about how she had ended up with – in her words – “a $100 vial of Cuban scorpion venom… and zero felt hats”.
There’s no indication any of this was Amazon’s doing - indeed, based on her own theory, it might not even be an open-and-shut situation with the individual seller.
It’s a curious theory, made all the more concerning by this discovery.
And then this…
At least her story had a happy ending. Well, as close as you can get to a happy ending after inadvertently receiving a bunch of contraband when all you wanted was six funny hats.
We really hope there isn’t a cancer patient out there who ordered the less-than-legal drugs and wound up with the oligarch hats.
There is another bizarre coda to this whole story, though, because of course there is.
Day is a staff writer for Jacobin, a left-wing magazine. And the title of her most recent article (at the time of writing), uploaded the day after the unexpected marketplace delivery?
(Main Image: iStock)