I Bought A Woot Bag Of Crap, Someone Sent Me A Wad Of Cash

Reader WootAndTheWay tells Consumerist she was one of the lucky few who got to order the Bag of Crap from Woot.com during the last Woot-off. Once the package arrived, she found that she was luckier than she had thought. Her box contained the usual assortment of random closeout goodness, and a folded-up envelope containing $609 in cash. Wait, what?

Woot says that they don’t know anything about how the envelope got there. It’s easy to believe them, since this is a very poor business model. What would you do?

I was able to score a bag of crap on woot.com during the last woot-off. Yay, right?

It arrived yesterday and I gleefully opened it up. I got some pretty good crap this time — mostly the usual stuff, and one thing that wasn’t so usual. It was an envelope with $609 in cash, mostly $20’s, one $5 bill and two $2 bills. You could have knocked me over with a feather! I was shaking. Instead of Bag of Crap, I got Bag of Cash. I know this is hard to believe, but I’m not kidding and I’m not making this up.

Now, obviously this is a mistake. For one thing, the envelope had been folded up like it was in someone’s pocket and I knew Woot isn’t in the habit of sending out cash. The envelope has writing on it, it says “For _____.” This money is someone’s personal property and not sent from woot itself.

I know some people would think “Just KEEP IT” — but I could not sleep at night knowing I had taken someone’s money that didn’t belong to me.

So I wrote to customer service about an hour after receiving the package and asked them about it. I told them that if some poor woot warehouse worker missing their cash, I’d happily return it if they identified who or what the money was for as written on the outside of the envelope.

Woot disavows any knowledge of the money, and while they haven’t out and out called me a liar, it’s not hard to read between the lines.

Today I received a short, curt reply from woot customer service, “Woot does not/would not send out cash in a Bowl of Cereal. Evan”

I received a reply on the forum from a moderator a bit later who said, “Ok, looked into it and have been told that our guy has said our response is the only comment we want to make on the subject, i.e.: we do not send out money at all and this is not from us. No one in the warehouse/anywhere is missing any cash and we have no idea why there would be money in your Bowl of Cereal if indeed there was as we did not put it there.”

And by “If indeed there was” we mean “we think you are lying.”

I don’t think anyone purposefully put it there, I think it was an accident of some kind. I have absolutely no reason to lie, but I can see how they would be skeptical. I would be too if it hadn’t happened to ME. All I can say is that this absolutely not a hoax; I honestly received $609 in cash in my Bag of Crap box that does not belong to me. I don’t know how it happened, I just know I got it.

My questions:

Regardless if they (or anyone) believes me or not, I have elected to wait 30 days just in case someone at Woot discovers they are indeed missing money. Is that all I’m legally/morally required to do? Is that the appropriate length of time to wait? Is there anything else I could/should do to try to discover the owner? The “For _______” on the outside of the envelope isn’t enough information to go on, but I’m not publishing that part in case someone come forward in the next 30 days. I live in California if that matters.

And hey, if it turns out I that I get to keep the money, I’m totally buying myself a new TV with some of it (my current TV is almost 20 years old) and putting the rest into savings.

Thanks for any advice.

It might not be a bad idea to call the local police department in the town where Woot is located, and also the shipping carrier, but this is a unique situation and it’s likely neither of those options would get her anywhere. If a company sends you something you didn’t ask for, generally, it’s yours. The question is: is there no one at Woot (or the shipping company) who is missing money, or no one who would admit to missing money?

Woot did not respond to Consumerist’s request for comment.

Maybe WootAndTheWay has a fairy godmother who operates in very mysterious ways.

BAG OF CASH [Woot forums]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Captain Walker says:

    She already went above and beyond

  2. Propaniac says:

    I’m so confused. Why would anyone think this is a hoax? What would the writer possibly have to gain? Why would the writer call the police, who aren’t going to care? And why are there only two comments on this page, both from today, when this was posted three days ago?

    You did the right thing by contacting Woot; they don’t want the money back; you’re fine. Maybe hold on to it for a month or so just in case someone does eventually contact you about it, because God knows this site has posted much stranger things than some employee suddenly calling and saying you accidentally received his envelope of cash three weeks ago. But after a month I don’t see how anyone could blame you for spending it (or donating it to a good cause).

  3. Winteridge2 says:

    Come On! They told you to say this to boost their sales. Right? What is it they sell, anyway?

  4. jayman419 says:

    Morally? You’re already going above and beyond, and you can sleep easy with a new TV next month.

    You may want to check the package to see which company handled the actual mailing, and if you can find that out, try contacting them. There may be shenanigans in their warehouse, and while they won’t be happy to hear about it, they may take care of the problem so little Jenny can finally get her birthday presents.

    I’d say the most likely scenario is that someone along the mail route stole the envelope from a coworker or from inside another parcel and placed it in the flaps of your box, but then was unable to retrieve it before it was moved or accidentally pushed it in too far.

    Legally? It varies by city, county, and state. Check your local government websites to see if you can submit questions about ordinances online or check the listings to find out who to call. Most likely it’s not the police but the comptroller’s office or such that you might have to turn it in to for a certain period of time.

    Either way, if you do keep it you should claim it as other income when you file your taxes.

  5. NashuaConsumerist says:

    I knew there was an extra reason for kicking myself when I was just a few minutes lte to nab a bag of crap…

    I’m surprised someone isn’t blamming Amazon’s take over on this, or perhaps thanksing Amazon instead…

  6. RandomHookup says:

    WootAndTheWay (if that is indeed your real name):

    The Woot warehouse is obviously a center of drug activity. Someone was trying to make a buy or just made a deal and then had to stash the cash when the boss came by. In the millions of outgoing packages, the “victim” lost track and can’t come forward now. You are safe in keeping the money unless the knowledge that you are undermining American society by keeping money used to propagate the dirty underworld of our society keeps you up at night. Or a big guy named Raoul comes knocking at your door wanting his money back.

  7. somegraphx says:

    Next article on Consumerist, “I lost $609 while working at Woot and no one will help me get my money back.”