The bidding for 'A piece of cardboard (shaped a bit like an iPhone 5)- USED' has been stopped at £200,100 by eBay. The product was removed on the grounds of 'false advertising' (surrounding calling it an iPhone 5); but has been claimed as a charity effort by supporter Julia McGill on her Just Giving page.
Donating to Dig Deep (Africa), she has planned a trek across The Great Wall of China in support of the charity, and placed the item up on eBay on November 6th. This surprisingly aggressive bidding war was picked up by the Reddit community shortly after. Unexpectedly, and unfortunately in some cases, this has also opened the floodgates to many-a-copy of this idea.
A piece of cardboard (shaped a bit like an iPhone 4), a piece of cardboard 2.0 (shaped a bit like an iPhone 5), futuregazing with a piece of cardboard (shaped a bit like an iPhone 6), a piece of cardboard (not shaped like an iPhone 5), a piece of cardboard (shaped a bit like an iPad Mini), and a wire bike (not shaped like an iphone 5). There's plenty of choice and much discussion around all of them; but it feels as if the dry sarcasm of British humour, poking fun at the lack of progress and meaning in Apple's products, instigated by the initial posting has deteriorated surrounding this wave of identical listings. Kind of like too many people repeatedly making the same joke.
What you get for your money, however...is still just a piece of cardboard:
"No Display – just your own eyes looking at a piece of cardboard. Real HD, fully colour, no lost pixels. Quite brown.
No camera – You don’t have to take photos of your ‘friends’ or your own disappointed face when you realise this really is just a piece of cardboard.
No Video Recording – If you want to see something just look up from your piece of cardboard and watch it happen. Full HD, surround sound.
Wireless Technology – This being a piece of cardboard, it needs absolutely no wires to function.
Design – Even thinner than the iPhone (probably) and at the same time you are far less likely to get mugged.
Battery Life – This is a piece of cardboard so doesn’t include a battery. No more hopeless power saving techniques or borrowing chargers from people you don’t really like.
Eco – Fully biodegradable and recyclable.
Sharing capabilities – You could rip or cut up and share this with probably more than ten people. But why would you want to do that?
Unique – If your thing is being individual and different then this is the product for you. Never be embarrassed by someone using the same gadget on the tube. Guaranteed to make you feel superior and cool, this is way ahead of the times.
No More Annoying phone calls – This one speaks for itself. The piece of cardboard on the other hand, can’t speak. It’s just cardboard.
Durability – Literally just a piece of cardboard. You probably shouldn’t get it wet.
This is just a piece of cardboard. If you bid on this item you are promising to pay money for a bit of rubbish. If you win you will receive a piece of cardboard in the post. Don’t expect anything else. No refunds when you realise you wasted your money on a piece of cardboard."
Many of the other product listings have taken this text word-for-word; but it's the Q&A where things get interesting. I know that Apple has lost some brand loyalty; but this is just plain harsh!
While our feature, along with many others who choose to write about this, will notify eBay of such selling practices, we applaud the first attempt at raising money for charity with something humourous. It's a cheeky stab at what people have judged to be an underwhelming product offering from Apple, and was done with good intentions in mind: the charitable troll if you will.
But lightning never strikes twice, as we can't envision the myriad of other pieces of cardboard (shaped a bit like Apple products) to do as well as this, alongside the fact that it's a mixed bag between those raising money for good causes and those which are not. Be individual, eBay seller community.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.