Mystery item, not pig in a poke

box-mysteryA pig in a poke is an English idiom that refers to a purchase “sight unseen”, without inspecting the item. When describing the same type of transaction, most Indo-European languages refer to a cat in a bag (or a sack). Only a few others – among them Swedish, Estonian and Finish – talk about pigs. (Czech is a case apart: there they mention hares in bags.)

Regardless of whether the idiom mentions a cat or a pig, it refers to the same confidence trick popular in Europe in the Middle Ages. It works like this: during the times of famine (not a rare occurrence in Europe in the Middle Ages), someone approaches you in a dark alley and offers to sell you a sucking pig. The transaction must be concluded in secret and the pig has to remain in the bag. However, you can clearly see something wiggling. You start to drool at the thought of all that food. You hand over the money, grab the bag and hurry home. Alas, when you finally open the bag an animal of little culinary value, namely a cat, leaps out.

Whole buying a pig in a poke, or a cat in a sack, is a definite no-no, many of us are quite happy to part with our money for something unseen: for a mystery box. It is possible that the sales of mystery boxes go up before Christmas. After all, if we fancy buying something for ourselves, we would really prefer not to know what it is. We all love surprises, providing they are of a pleasant kind.

In order not to have the surprise turn into disappointment, you need to trust the seller when buying your mystery gift on bidorbuy. The rating system is there to give you the necessary guidance. Before you buy a mystery box, check carefully the seller’s ratings. That does not mean just looking at the number of stars and taking note of the percentage of positive ratings. That means actually reading the feedback other buyers left – especially the buyers who bought mystery gifts from the same seller.

Only after you’ve done your research thoroughly you can place your order and give way to the thrill of awaiting the parcel and marveling: “What wonderful things will I get?”

While it is probably unrealistic to expect the mystery box to contain more in value than you paid for it, it is reasonable to expect a fair value for your money. And, perhaps, a little extra special that does not necessarily have a monetary value, something that says: “This seller is really thinking of me, the customer.”