potatoThe world seems to be growing stranger by the moment sometimes. Just twenty years ago, who would have expected so many people would be downloading books on their computers and phones, and so many other people would be writing and uploading them to the world, that it could present the old-guard publishing industry with a crisis of confidence?

And who would have expected people to put a stamp and address label on a potato and send it through the US Mail?

Yes, that’s right—a potato. On Facebook, Craig Miller reports receiving one, and Mike Glyer at File770 has more coverage. To promote the release of its movie The Martian, 20th Century Fox made a promotional deal with pre-existing company “Mail a Spud” to let people pay $10 to mail a potato to a friend or relative. (Or enemy or perfect stranger, for that matter.) Since postage stamps can be custom-printed now, it can even arrive emblazoned with a miniature The Martian movie poster.

Of course, you could mail someone a potato yourself for a lot less money, but there’s something to be said for spending a little extra to let someone else do the grunt work for you. The Mail a Spud website notes:

    • Can I eat the potato when it gets here? We do not recommend you consume the potato after it has traveled across the country inside of trucks, planes, and postal service bags. It has touched a lot of germs by the time it arrives to the recipient.
    • Aren’t you wasting food? No! Well yes, but each spud shipped is bringing more awareness to the beauty of the potato.

Even if you couldn’t eat it, it would make a great demonstration project for a teacher or parent to use to prove that it’s actually possible to grow more potatoes out of individual potatoes the way Mark Watney did in the movie (and Andy Weir’s book on which it was based).

What a strange world we live in now—whereby for about the same price as downloading a copy of a book you used to have to go to the store to buy, you can receive a single potato in the mail.


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