Shit I found on eBay: 500 typo koozies.

Before eBay founder Pierre Omidyar became a self-made millionaire, he auctioned off broken laser pointers on the Internet. He bought it for a business presentation, but he ended up reusing it as a cat toy before his untimely bankruptcy. He then traded in his non-working laser pointer for $14.83, making it the site's first-ever sale.

It's been 20 years and not much has changed. eBay still sells many broken items, including repairable electronics, disposable lighters with no liquid, and “as-is” antiques looking for a new life. No matter how absurd, defective, or shattered the item is, there is a buyer for it.

So it wasn't that surprising that I stumbled. A seller wholesales bulk orders of beer koozies with printing errors, available in sets ranging from 100 to 5,000 each. Sure, some have misspellings, some have incorrect listing descriptions, some have crooked text, and almost all of them indicate connections to people or companies you've never heard of. . But at less than 15 cents each for a set of 500, it was a pretty good deal, especially considering that one cat koozie sells for nearly 100 times its price. (Excess is crap!).

Over the past 30 years, koozies (also known as “beer huggers,” “stubby holders,” “coolies,” or “candams”) have established themselves as a highly influential and inexpensive means of advertising. I've been doing it. . In fact, they're so effective that Heineken sponsored the Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2009. Local brewery Shiner has unofficially usurped the rights and handed out more than 10,000 custom-printed beer sleeves to concert-goers, essentially putting its name on the beer giant's cans. The logo was splattered. Koozies are so ubiquitous that they even find their way into national politics. Nearly every candidate in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is selling koozies as part of their campaign swag (see “Chillery Clinton”), offering voters the opportunity to buy one. We talk about their politics over an ice-cold beer.

But there seems to be something inherently pleasing about koozies that goes beyond personal branding, at least according to eBay. eBay sellers have reported selling as many as 500,000 typographical koozies in bulk packs to customers like us, who probably don't care what's written on the piece as long as it's played at a summer barbecue. Masu.

“The listings speak for themselves. They are what they are,” the Texas-based seller wrote, immediately responding to our request for information on how this typographical jackpot came about. was rejected. (They also sell 10,000 gallon military water bags, a selection of bank deposit bags, and, rather ironically, copies of the 1998 movie.) interrupt, which feels appropriate in a dark way. )

To find out more about the legal koozie market, we spoke to expert Bob Riddle. He co-owns North Carolina-based Custom Koozies with his wife, Julie (and often sends misprints to troops overseas rather than selling them on the Web).

“Weddings… make up about 60 percent of our business,” Riddle said, adding that the koozie market for birthdays and graduation parties as well as bachelor and bachelorette parties is steady. He pointed out that But even more surprising are funeral koozies (which Riddle says are often painted with the deceased's “favorite team, pictures of bikes, boats, things that were important to them”) and fantasy leagues. The market is growing. As guaranteed on Twitter.

Fittingly, Riddle himself also Really to coozie. If you catch him empty-handed, you'll get a $100 prize, which records say has never been claimed. “I wash his pants with a koozie in his pocket so he doesn’t have to change them,” he says. “As part of our employee agreement, the drinks we drink at work must include a koozie.”

As for his own personal collection, he estimates it to be one of the largest in the country. “If he emptied my house, he would probably find over 500 of them.”

I can say that I am very happy to know that feeling while looking at colorful beer sleeves of similar size.

Editor's note: Sweepstakes has ended. Be sure to tune in next time for “Sh*t We Found on eBay” for another chance to win a weird but wonderful cocktail collection.

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