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My liver vs. Amazon.
February 29, 2012 8:45 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way that I can get Amazon to periodically send me items from my wishlist without me telling it to?

Here's what I want to happen: I purchase everything on my wishlist, and over the next twelve months or so, Amazon sends me those things at random intervals. Basically, I want all the awesomeness of getting presents in the mail, but not the potential disaster of getting something I don't want.

Ideally, I would get an email a week after the package should have arrived, so that I can know that I should have received something.

Is there a service or script or something I can use to make this happen? The only solution I've come up with so far relies on drinking heavily and routing Amazon emails to an address I don't use often.
posted by punchtothehead to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
That is a really cool idea. If there isn't a technical solution, another option might be to give account access to someone that you trust to periodically send you something from your wishlist.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:51 AM on February 29, 2012

Oh, I love this idea! If it turns out that it doesn't exist already, I'll be awfully tempted to create it [for you and for us all] myself.
posted by 168 at 8:56 AM on February 29, 2012

Why is this "my liver vs. Amazon"? Does your wishlist consist of booze?

Seriously, though: there's an xkcd about doing this with buying random items from eBay and some guy did it for real.
posted by madcaptenor at 10:10 AM on February 29, 2012

You linked back to me in your second link, but I know what you were linking to; I found that when I was looking into this. I don't want something random. I want something from my wishlist.

It's "my liver vs. Amazon" because of what I wrote above: "The only solution I've come up with so far relies on drinking heavily and routing Amazon emails to an address I don't use often."
posted by punchtothehead at 10:23 AM on February 29, 2012

Right. I'm not saying that you could use that solution; I'm saying that similar things have been done before, you just need to select the thing you get from a different list.
posted by madcaptenor at 10:25 AM on February 29, 2012

What about using ZeeZaw to set up your lists and price thresholds and promising yourself to purchase each item on your wishlist as soon as it falls below a certain price. This does have the element of being random (you don't know when the prices will fall) but lacks the element of surprise at receiving something in the mail that you don't know you ordered. You would save some money this way, though - it's crazy how much prices on Amazon jump around.
posted by hazyjane at 10:45 AM on February 29, 2012

Well, there's got to be a way to interface with Amazon via wget and/or curl.
I think I'd do this with some shell scripting, and cron.

1. Get the URLs for all the items on your wishlist, save them as a text file, one per line.

2. Use bash to read the file into an array, choose one of the URLs at random, and then use wget/curl to navigate the URLs and order the item. (this could actually be quite complicated, but I'm certain it could be done - 1-click ordering might make it pretty easy)

3. Write the new array (minus the just-ordered URL) back to the original file.

4. Send some kind of notification, after a 3ish day delay. (I would probably do this by tweeting from the command-line, rather than email. Email can be hard on a home box because so many ISPs block port 25.)

5. Run this script approximately every so many days, with some random addition/subtraction so the items weren't coming quite like clockwork. You'd have to balance between getting all the items in during the given timeframe, keeping it from becoming too predictable, and getting and item too soon after the previous item.

I could certainly help write the script, but I'm sure there are MeFites that are better at shell scripting/web scraping than I. If someone was truly ambitious, this would make a pretty rad web-app/service. Start-up anyone?
posted by god hates math at 11:00 AM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

got hates math - I'm just waiting a day or so in case someone finds it and links to it here, and if no one does, I'll get right on it!
posted by 168 at 2:03 PM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

Oh man, this is going to be awesome. I'm so excited.
posted by punchtothehead at 2:09 PM on February 29, 2012

I hope you make this happen because its an awesome idea. When your done I am going to pay you $$$ to use it.
posted by jasondigitized at 7:08 PM on March 1, 2012

I looked into this briefly. I couldn't find a way to get this to work unless you gave your Amazon password to the webapp. I wouldn't trust a non-amazon website that claimed it needed it, even if I was the one running said website. Unfortunately that makes it a complete non-starter. (If someone can prove me wrong I'd totally take a shot at writing this.)

Which is a shame too; you could probably run this off of referral dollars alone.
posted by fragmede at 10:10 AM on March 4, 2012

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