Despite knowing that people are willing to spend millions of dollars on Pokémon cards and sealed copies of readily available video games, the internet still manages to surprise us in its fervor over stuff as seemingly valueless as unusually shaped Cheetos. Vice has looked deep into this world of high-stakes financial deals centered entirely on items like “Cheeto Shaped Penis Balls Perfect Humor Oddity,” discovering that not only does this market exist, but it’s more complicated than we could have dreamed.
As an example, the above “Perfect Humor Oddity” listing is set at $5,000 USD (and is posed, naturally enough, next to a Stewie Griffin shot glass for scale) and is just one of the many Cheeto auctions that, as Vice reports, range in price from $0.99 to $899,999. Among these desirable items are snacks that kind of, just barely look like Tyrion Lannister ($175), a Rorscach test “Cheeto Shaped Tom Brady Jesus Pope Priest Heal! Nosferatu Zombie Mummy Fellatio!” (sold on Monday; $76,483), and a “VERY RARE!” cheese puff that’s meant to look like Elvis Presley ($100,000 or best offer).
The obvious question of why these listings exist is, it seems, because people are willing to spend way too much money speculating on any dusty food product that might potentially make them rich. The article cites a 13-year-old in Australia who was paid $20,000 AUD by Doritos for finding a puffy chip and the person who got $99,997 for selling a McNugget that looks like an Among Us character. Complicating the matter here is that Weird Cheeto sellers are trying to get in on a market driven largely by a “handful of high-profile outliers” who may be attracted to this arena for reasons less pure than a love for mutant snacks.
A collectible buyer explains that there probably isn’t “much of a secondary market for these food objects,” meaning that a lot of the prices that these fucked-up snack foods sell for on eBay might be the result of “shill bidding” or “collusion” spurred on by parties including Cheetos itself, which has used this sort of thing as fodder for advertising campaigns that hand out (and bring in) lots of money.
So, long story short: Discovering a bright orange Virgin Mary in a Cheetos bag may not be the winning lottery ticket it seems like. What a shame.
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