Open the gold box!

by Michael Alderete on 11/20/2002

So, I recently discovered the subtle danger that is Amazon.com’s Gold Box. If you’ve never heard of or tried it, it’s a gold treasure chest icon in the top right of Amazon.com’s web pages — all of them.

The concept is simple. You click on the Gold Box to get access to 10 special offers. You access the offers serially, that is, one at a time. It’s a special deal on some “random” item, usually not a book, that ranges from a few dollars savings to $50 or more. To see the second offer, you have to “pass forever” on the first. To see the third, you have to give up the second. And so on, a one-way trip through an online coupon book. And you get a new Gold Box every 24 hours.

What’s insideous is that (I believe) they’ve carefully thought about what to show you if you decide to buy; when I decided to save a couple bucks on the Misto Martini Vermouth Sprayer, I was presented with a slew of additional martini-related items. And, uh, I bought something from the list (Riedel martini glasses, if you must know).

And then I saw more “related” items, lots of high-end stemware for other sophisticated adult beverages. And, um, I bought a set of those, too. (Riedel wine glasses…and yes, we’ve proven they do make a difference.)

So, $200+ later, I’ve saved about $20 on Amazon.com’s usual prices — but I only meant to buy a $10 vermouth sprayer!

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