Wednesday, March 19, 2008

When in doubt: read the rules, then work around

Two sisters from Chesapeake found a gem in a box of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes. It was a corn flake that was shaped like the state of Illinois.

So as any entrepreneur might, they put it up for sale on eBay, the grand online swap meet. The Daily Press has an account this morning.

The flake was going for 50 bucks when someone noticed the auction item. It was getting fat, probably phony, bids that drove the price to about $200,000.

Then eBay pulled the auction, citing rules against the sale of food. Who knew?

In a move that shows these young women might well have legal careers ahead of them, they read the rules and figured out a way around the problem, allowing them to sell their flake and stay this side of eBay’s requirements. Now you can go on the auction site and buy a coupon that entitles you receive their Illinois corn flake. Pretty clever. Right now the flake coupon is going for $138.50; the auction ends March 21, so you better hurry.

By the way, the Illinois flake has spawned a number of copycat auctions. For example, you can get a different corn flake shaped like Ireland or a Cheeto shaped like a dinosaur.

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