Woot and the Bag of Crap: How I got one
What is Woot and the Bag of Crap?
For those of you who are already familiar with Woot, feel free to skip ahead to the juicy bits. For everyone else, Woot.com is a deal-a-day website primarily featuring refurbished goods, but often new items as well. They have electronics offers such as cameras, TV's, computers, etc. but also feature vacuums, and kitchen goods such as knives. Woot also has expanded to a variety of specialized sites such as kids.woot, shirt.woot, and wine.woot featuring kids toys and goods, shirts, and wine respectively. Each item on Woot.com is featured for 24 hours starting at midnight with a flat rate of $5 for shipping no matter the size. The site also features an often humorous description for the item, and a thriving community base with helpful opinions found in the comments for each item that have frequently helped me decide whether or not to buy.
Woot also offers a variety of special sales such as Two for Tuesday, Woot-offs, and the Bag of Crap. Two for Tuesday features two items instead of the usual one, Woot-offs are super sales where Woot offers one item at a time until the item sells out, then another item is available immediately instead of the next day. The most sought-after item however is the Bag of Crap; a Woot offering featuring one bag, and three items for $3 plus the standard $5 shipping. Items in the Bag of Crap can range from calendars to mp3 players, even to LCD TVs. A recent addition to the Bag of Crap phenomenon is the Letter, which comes in a select few lucky customers orders stating that an item too large to fit in the box is on its way. Letter recipients have then received pallets of car wax or lefty golf putters, or an LCD TV all for the measly $8! If your thinking "Wow, that sounds great! How can I get in on the action?" read on...
How do I get one?
The two major methods for scoring the Bag of Crap are the "furious f5" (or continuously refreshing the page) method and the "bot" method. I have read numerous testimonials swearing by the f5 method, however after many years of trying this method myself and remaining crap-less, I switched to the bot method and got a bag on my first try! I will describe the principles of both methods so you can choose the one for you, but first some general tips for both methods.
- The Bag of Crap is most frequently seen during the Woot-offs, most often on the second day in the afternoon. A good sign that a Bag of Crap will soon be available is if Woot does a 'wine.woot or shirt.woot break' in which they will not be offering an item and instead direct you to the wine.woot or shirt.woot sites. Frequently the Bag of Crap can be seen a few items after these breaks occur.
- The Bag of Crap is also frequently offered on holidays, so make sure to check at midnight just in case!
- Make a Woot.com account and always sign in BEFORE the anticipated Bag of Crap. You will waste precious time if you have to sign in to your account after you finally get the page to load.
- On a similar note, make sure all your account information is correct when you sign in as well. This includes shipping and billing addresses, and the credit card info. Another good idea is to either memorize the security code on the card or have it copied to your clipboard so you can paste it in when the time comes.
Furious F5 (refreshing) Method
This is the most common method for the attempted Bag grab, because it involves no frills. You guestimate when the coveted Bag of Crap will appear based on the tips above, then open your browser to the Woot website and refresh the page continuously until you see the Bag of Crap appear. You can tell if the Bag is the item up for grabs when the page seems to refuse to load. At this point I usually have a couple tabs/windows open and watch them until one loads. As soon as you see the 'I want one!' button appear, click and wait for the next page. You will have to confirm your account information (which you should have already done) and type in your security code, then click 'this info is correct', then the final page you click 'buy it' and hope it goes through.
There's not much you can do to boost your advantage with this method besides making the preparations above, just hope you refresh at the right time and you get through.
The Bot Method
This method involves the same preparations as the refresh method, however instead of watching the page, the bot program will automatically open a Woot page and click the 'I want one!' button as soon as the Bag of Crap appears. It also plays an alarm so if you aren't paying attention, you will be. The main advantage here is that the bot can click the 'I want one!' button the instant it appears, where using the refresh method, even if you refreshed the page the instant it went live, human reaction time still adds a couple of milliseconds until you get to the button clicking. Check that the settings for the bag of crap match mine shown in the image below so that the bot will automatically bring up the order page on Woot (of course you can always adjust the settings for the other items, the only one I care about here is the Bag of Crap). I used the Wootalyzer bot (google: Wootalyzer) for the first time on the last Woot-off and scored my very first bag of crap!
Got one!! Now what?
Scoring the bag of crap is only the beginning! The comments section on the Bag of Crap page becomes an adventure of sorts as everyone anticipates the arrival of their crap. If you want a true surprise, then stay out of the forums until you get your box, otherwise join the adventure! See what other people got, compare and even trade your crap with others if you so choose, and enjoy the ride!
Hopefully these tips will help you out, I wish I knew what I do now a year ago and maybe I would have been spared some frustration..
Best of luck and happy Wooting!
UPDATE (12/1/10): I just scored my second ever bag of crap using the bot method described above! Just in case you are keeping track, that's about 0/20~ish on the f5 method and 2/2 on the bot method for me! Crap shown below.
UPDATE 2 (01/25/11): I just successfully ordered my 3rd ever crap again using the bot! The moral of the story here is I'm happy with my bot results and sticking with this wonderful tool.
2011 April Fool's Gag
2011's April fools gag involves having to play and beat the appropriate level of woot's lovely flash game aptly named crapshoot. On the early levels, I was able to sneak past the game using wootalyzer's 'buy item' button but trying again in the morning just brought me to a page saying 'sorry beat the game first!' Thanks anyway for the level 3 crap woot!