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Starts With A Bang

Weekend Diversion: Revenge of the Sparkles

How a funny idea to ship your enemies glitter turned into an empire.

“There is a concept that is the corrupter and destroyer of all others. I speak not of Evil, whose limited empire is that of ethics; I speak of the infinite.”
Jorge Luis Borges

When you’re out on a glorious summer’s day, strolling along the sandy shores, there’s little that’s more serene than — as Tower of Power would sing you — the sunlight’s reflection Sparkling In The Sand.

But not everything that sparkles is so welcome. I refer to the bane of every kindergarten classroom: glitter. Because there’s a big difference between what you think glitter is going to look like versus what it actually winds up looking like.

Glitter, glitter everywhere. Think of the clothes, the hair… it’s straight to the bathtub for both of these girls! Pictures credit: Kesha Lambert of http://keshaphotography.com/2014/06/16/the-emergency-glitter-stash/ (L); Louise of http://www.sweetestbugbows.com/glitter-snowflake-wreath/ (R).

Yes, even I myself can’t keep away from its sparkly allure on halloween and the like, and no drag queen’s ensemble would be complete without a copious helping of these tiny reflective, colored motes. But if you’ve ever tried to use or apply it, you’ve inevitably found a severe problem: it gets everywhere!

Well, it finally happened. On January 12 of this year, young Australian entrepreneur Mathew Carpenter found a new purpose for glitter: revenge.

Image credit: screenshot from http://shipyourenemiesglitter.com/.

At last, a company had sprang into existence with a sole raison d’être: to send an envelope full of glitter to your enemies. An envelope that, once opened, will fill your enemy’s everything: room, carpet, clothes, hair, skin, nasal passages, etc., with these tiny, shiny particles of immeasurable van der Waals forces.

It will take weeks to get it all out.

Image credit: via http://shipyourenemiesglitter.com/.

For the low, low price of $9.99, you can give your enemies the comeuppance they deserve. (I’m sure they deserve it; they are your enemies, after all!) As he says up front:

We fucking hate glitter. People call it the herpes of the craft world. What we hate more though are the soulless people who get their jollies off by sending glitter in envelopes.

We’ve had enough so here’s the deal: there’s someone in your life right now who you fucking hate. Whether it be your shitty neighbour, a family member or that bitch Amy down the road who thinks it’s cool to invite you to High Tea but not provide any weed.

So pay us money, provide an address anywhere in the world & we’ll send them so much glitter in an envelope that they’ll be finding that shit everywhere for weeks. We’ll also include a note telling the person exactly why they’re receiving this terrible gift. Hint: the glitter will be mixed in with the note thus increasing maximum spillage.

The thing is, Mathew Carpenter is having regrets now. Apparently, this 22-year-old didn’t want to run a business where he spent his days overseeing a glitter-shipping, enemy-infuriating enterprise; he started this as a joke! As a lark! As a fun holiday project!

Travel the Universe with astrophysicist Ethan Siegel. Subscribers will get the newsletter every Saturday. All aboard!

But it’s taken on a life all its own.

Image credit: screenshot from http://shipyourenemiesglitter.com/.

After 20,000+ orders in less than a week, he’s decided that enough is enough. Maybe it was the ethics of glitter, glitter everywhere that got to him, or maybe there are just too many other things he wants to do with his life, or maybe it was the opportunity to cash in that was just too lucrative.

Whatever the case, he’s now auctioning off the entire business, and shipyourenemiesglitter.com is now available for purchase. He really wants you to buy it, too, as he includes the following information and promises:

Monetization

The website makes money every time a user purchases a glitter filled envelope. Each purchase is worth $9.99AUD. I’ve calculated that the total cost of shipping an envelope filled with the glitter & the A4 letter to most places in the world from Australia ranges anywhere from $2-$4. That leaves $5.99 to $7.99 profit on each order.

Why is the business being sold?

I launched this website as a bit of a joke not expecting this level of attention. Heck, I launched this website whilst I was on holiday! For the past few days it has been stressful dealing with all of the media attention & even more so because this was only intended to be a small side project. It’s taken on a life of its own, and I want to watch it continue to grow under a new owner.

Post Sale

I’m willing to sign a 3 year non-compete contract. I’ll also be happy to provide 30 days of after sale support & training to ensure that the buyer is able to fully take over the website and there is a smooth transition.

As of right now, there are 4 days left on the auction, and this questionably ethical business can be yours for the low, low price of around $70,000!

Image credit: Screenshot from https://flippa.com/3783970-20-000-in-sales-and-2-5-million-visits-in-4-days-hugely-popular-viral-site.

So to everyone out there with an enemy who needs a hate-note sent to them, along with a hefty dose of sparkly awfulness, you know what to do as soon as new orders resume.

And for those of you who are my enemy… uh… I can only hope you’ll be nice?


Have a great weekend! Check out our best comments of the week on Scienceblogs, and leave your comments on this piece at the Starts With A Bang forum here!


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