practical jokes powered by wishlist hacking

I was happy to read that Meg got her gift today, and with some forward planning, Mark even got photos of the actual event (I told him I would give him my first born if he’d take photos on the sly). I think the photos capture it well:

  1. Oh boy, free amazon stuff!
  2. From Matt! With a funny note attached, I wonder what it is…
  3. What the hell is this piece of crap? Is this some sort of joke?

Looks like it went off perfectly.

So here’s the backstory on the joke. When Meg lived in SF, I heard first-hand all about the wonders of Seabiscuit for years. Eventually when I finally saw a Seabiscuit special, I was totally let down by the hype. I was convinced he was the greatest horse that ever lived, a Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan of racing, but it turns out he won a couple big events but otherwise just made for a good underdog story at a key point in this nation’s history. We used to argue about the details of the story, but suffice it to say she loved the Seabiscuit and hated the Admiral.

Anyway, when I saw Meg dissin’ the War Admiral the other day, I decided to see if an old Amazon bug was still around, the one that lets you send stuff not on a wishlist to people’s wishlist address. Amazon closed up all the holes except one, and I 2nd-day-aired the toy along with a note that said “HA HA! War Admiral RULES!” I really wanted to see the punchline to the joke, when she would get the box from amazon, would think it is Seabiscuit, then realize it’s her nemesis. Judging from the photos, I call this joke a rousing success.

Now, a tutorial on how to do it:

How to send something not on someone’s wishlist to that someone

I really hope Amazon doesn’t close this hole because I actually use it for good, not evil, and not usually for jokes. I often buy someone something extra to go along with their wishlist item, so if they wanted a simpsons figure, I often use this hack to buy them another one that goes with it.

So go to someone’s wishlist page, then add something from their list to your cart by hitting the buy button. Then when you are directed to the quasi-checkout/upselling page, you must scroll down all the way to the bottom to the button that says “Continue Shopping” in their list. Now, you have their address stored, and can go hog-wild ordering stuff. Just click anything in the top nav or run a search to get them something else. Add that something else to your cart then proceed to checkout.

On the address page, pick their wishlist address. Next write a gift note on the thing you really want to give them, if you want. Click continue. On the Shipping Options page, there’s a list of the goods, with a button that says “change quantities or delete”. Click that, and then click the delete button for the thing originally on their wishlist. You should be able to complete checkout, and they’ll get something not on their list.

Again, use this for good, not evil. It’s a fun little hack and I sincerely hope Amazon lets it stick around, I know friends have enjoyed getting extra gifts they didn’t ask for, and Meg even said it was a funny joke.