So what are we working on these days at Groupon? Super important things – for example, check out this email I just got from our managing editor (and the guy that coined the name “Groupon”) concerning a conference room our writers are designing in our new office.
> Begin forwarded message:
> From: Aaron With
> Date: April 21, 2010 8:08:41 PM CDT
> To: Andrew Mason
> Cc: Mark Desky
> Subject: Fwd: ‘Weird Room’ Shopping List and Assessment
> OK…here is our vision for the weird room, including the items we intend to purchase. It’s meant to be like a really strange bedroom, where every item is pretty weird, but you could concoct some strange, frightening story in your head to rationalize why it might be there. I’m pretty excited about this as a theme. There’s a lot of variety, but it’s just restrained enough to not be “random for the sake of random.”
> While we didn’t go for anything crazy expensive, it is going to cost us, at least a few grand undoubtedly.
> We can run up the budget, but that’s gonna take a while. I just want the go-ahead first from Andrew that you’re behind this thing & we’ll be able to pay for it.
> Unfortunately, to make this happen I’d probably need to use a temp who can run around & get & assemble this kind of stuff. They’d report to me & Kibblesmith. It’s the kind of thing that’s just not gonna happen if we don’t get someone on it full time for a little while. Is there someone currently available for this kind of thing we could use? I could see this taking 30 hours, though maybe up to 70ish.
> So Andrew—what do you think?
> Aaron With
> Groupon Managing Editor
> e: email@example.com
> Begin forwarded message:
> From: Daniel Kibblesmith
> Date: April 21, 2010 10:05:50 AM CDT
> To: Aaron With
> Subject: ‘Weird Room’ Shopping List and Assessment
> Here’s our list so far, with some a few additions toward building a very vague theme:
> 12 BOXES – Identical Obscure Cereal (Frute Brute, Urkel’O's, etc).
> 1 TERRARIUM (or shoebox diarama) Open or chewed through, creature has implicitly escaped, nearby jar of spider-food?
> 1 TOILET (not hooked up)
> SEVERAL BULK-SIZED BAGS OF INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED COLORFUL HARD CANDY (to fill toilet)
> 1 AIBO
> MAP OF BELGIUM OR OTHER FICTIONAL COUNTRY (with colorful pins)
> 1 BED (with itching powder, and fire-damaged sheets)
> BIKE-POWERED RECORD PLAYER (with ‘Smooth Operator’ Single)
> 1 JAR OF VASELINE (gently used from someone’s home)
> SOLAR SYSTEM MOBILE (some missing or replaced with alternatives)
> BERT AND ERNIE DOLLS WITH HEADS REMOVED AND SWAPPED (Handcuffed together)
> RUG WITH LUMP UNDER IT (lump held in place with staple gun, inaccessible)
> PAIR OF BOXERS PINNED TO WALL BY CEREMONIAL DAGGER
> ANNE GEDDES CALENDAR (Andrew Mason’s face taped over babies in advance, cryptic messages maintained on calendar)
> BIKE HELMET (with severe visible damage)
> ASSORTED WALL CLINGS AND STICKERS (many scratched off hastily)
> 3 – 12 DIGITAL PICTURE FRAMES (Rotating pictures of Andrew, Andrew holding up messages, and voyeuristic shots of staff working)
> MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY-STYLE STATIC ELECTRICITY BALL
> ANIMAL POSTERS WITH EYES BURNT OUT BY CIGARETTES
> DOOR HAS HOLE PUNCHED IN IT ::or:: AXE STUCK IN IT
> 6 CLOCKS LABELED AS DIFFERENT CITIES (all operating on CST)
> TABLE TOP MODEL OF CITY OF CHICAGO BENEATH A SHEET (doesn’t have to be nice, or to scale, SHOULD look like someone’s plan)
> 1 GUITAR BROKEN IN ANGER
> [THIS POSTER](http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Welcome-to-Mooseport-Posters_i420834_.htm) ON CEILING (or TBD equivalent)
> SOUND SYSTEM:
There are a couple ways to go with this, that I’d like your opinion on (we can also mix and match):
Big-Brother-style computerized text-to-speech translator reciting Groupon Says columns, or entire works from Google Books
Giant reel-to-reel tape recorder for aesthetic purposes
1980s-style answering machine with cryptic messages from Andrew and others, addressing an individual by name.
I think it’d be really funny to have messages directly from Andrew, addressing the owner of the room as “a disappointing boy.”
> THE NAME:
> I’ve been calling it ‘Michael’s Room,’ which I liked because it was really creepily generic, and conveyed some kind of monstrous manchild, but we can go with any name or designation (variant on the “Weird room,” etc.) At my house, the spare room is called ‘The Ghost Room,’ because presumably that’s who lives there.
> If we go with ‘Michael’s Room’ or similar I was thinking we could get some childlike askew adhesive letters to spell out ‘MICHAEL’S ROOM’ and then scratch a few of them off, maybe even with tools and a little fake blood so it looks like it was done desperately by hand.
> The more I got into this, the more it became clear I had no idea. Almost everything home-furnishings related could be gotten off Craigslist or from IKEA, but would require additional time commitment and transport. Something like the clocks, the cereal or the candy could all be gotten from Costco or ordered from office or restaurant suppliers, and things like the guitar and the vaseline, someone in our circle definitely owns already. I wanted to run this list by you and see whether we should add or cut anything, before getting into the budgeting, because finding this stuff is going to be a pretty intensive separate job.
> SMOOTH OPERATOR:
> Cullen had a really inspired idea on the record-bike (and the room in general), which is going to the Steppenwolf props department, or other theater departments, who might have experience putting together live practicals with mechanical components. I imagine we can get the record off eBay or from a local store.
> So that’s all the notes consolidated plus more, the next step would be hunting these things down, and figuring out a way to transport and pay for them. Working remotely on write-ups, but let me know if you want me to start sending out e-mails and pricing all of the above.
> – Daniel
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