You’ve probably scrolled Facebook’s marketplace, a feature for users to buy and sell items in their own communities—maybe you’ve even snagged a hand-me-down couch on there. But if you’re shopping on social for something a little more…unique, there’s also reportedly a secretive underground market for rare meat.
According to Mel Magazine, there’s an entire web of invite-only FB groups where users are gambling to score both rare seafood and rare meat like Wagyu beef, stone crabs, or even an entire Spanish octopus. Seriously. I can’t make this sh*t up.
Here’s how it all supposedly goes down: Someone will post a prompt about the product, and if it’s of interest to a user, they can put in a $25 dollar bid. That gets you a number of one through nine. The more numbers you pick, the likelier you are to win. You’re even free to claim all nine numbers if you think it’s worth the $225 buy in. Get it? Got it? Good.
The phenomenon, typically called “Gray Market Selling,” is something we’ve seen before. People are gambling real cash on the world’s most unavailable delicacies. This time though, it’s exclusive cuts of cows and sea critters instead of booze. Sounds like a recipe for food poisoning, but what do I know?
Let’s talk about the raffle system. The outlet reports it’s called a “razzle.” Since it’s all, ya know, illegal, admins are careful not to get caught (and shut down!) by Facebook. They sub out words with fun slang like “doll hairs” instead of dollars, and when it comes to the numbers, they look to actual lottery drawings. If the final number drawn is yours, ding, ding, ding, you’ve got yourself a slab of really expensive meat.
So why are people doing this? According to University of Texas psych professor and avid meat gambler Art Markman it’s a genuine passion: “Finding a community, where all the members are people you can talk about this thing you care about that not everyone cares about—and there’s a lot of joy you can get out of that,” he told the publication.
“The forbidden has always had an allure, whether there’s a rule against it or it’s something really exclusive,” he added. “Partly, we’re intrigued by why there are rules around things, why there are limitations.”
OK, fair, but I’m sticking with my grocery store-bought filet. Thanks!