$100,000 Harambe Cheeto sparks boom in silly-snack auctions

A Cheeto shaped kind of like the primate tragically shot at the Cincinnati Zoo sells for an absurd amount on eBay, leading to copycat auctions of odd little snacks.

Slow down and examine your snacks next time you've got the munchies. There might just be a hidden fortune in your next bag of chips.

That seems to be the lesson from an eBay auction for a "unique Cheetos that looks like Harambe the gorilla." It ended Tuesday morning with a winning bid of $99,900 (£79,970, AU$130,750).

Harambe was the ape shot by zookeepers last year when a young boy fell into his habitat at the Cincinnati Zoo. The adult male silverback has continued to live on as a persistent meme. Heartfelt tributes to him circulated on social media, but the meme soon became weird and reportedly even led to write-in votes for Harambe in the 2016 US Presidential election.

An eBay seller who typically sells Blu-ray discs attempted to sell the Cheeto vaguely shaped like a gorilla three previous times over the past month. Each time it got zero bids.

On the fourth try, it took nearly a week for the first bid of $12 to finally come in. Then the auction seems to have gotten a little help from the Twitter account "@FatKidDeals" and its 86,000-plus followers.

After that account tweeted a link to the auction Sunday evening, bids started to come in, and within 24 hours the price rocketed to over $90,000.

Smelling the sweet aroma of all that cash, copycats are already hot on the trail.

Another kind-of gorilla-shaped Cheeto is currently going for over $75,000 on eBay. Most ridiculously, a screenshot of the original Harambe Cheeto auction taken with just one second left for bidding is fetching $10,000.

Hustlers of shaped snacks aren't just capitalizing on the Harambe phenomenon. Cheetos shaped like Superman, Jesus and Donald Trump are also on offer.

Remember folks, always look before you snack. Don't waste a potential fortune on your appetite.

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Cheeto that looks like Harambe sells for $100,000 on eBay

Someone has bid nearly $100,000 for a Flamin' Hot Cheeto that resembles Harambe, the slain gorilla.

The seller found the cheesy crisp in a bag of crisps, according to its description. It was then listed online, with bidding beginning at $11.99.

But it quickly shot up before bidding ended on Tuesday morning, finishing at $99,900 after receiving 132 bids.

The buyer will receive just the crisp on its own, not any of the other Cheetos that came with it or the bag itself.

The listing showed the crisp next to the picture that it resembles, of Harambe climbing a tree. That image isn't the most iconic one of the ape – who is usually pictured sitting on the floor – but has circulated since he became famous last year.

"I opened up a bag of Flamin Hot Cheetos and as soon as I looked inside I came across this unique Cheetos that looks like Harambe the gorilla," the eBay listing read. "This item is one of a kind!

"It measures up to about 1 1/2 inches in length," the post continued. "This item up for bid is only for this unique Cheetos, bag not included. This makes a great collectible for anyone who appreciates rare items!"

Harambe became the centre of internet outrage last year when handlers at the Cincinnati Zoo, where he lived, shot and killed him in May. That was after the gorilla dragged a small boy who fell into his enclosure, and staff claimed that the death was necessary for safety reasons.


Harambe-shaped Cheeto sold for almost $100,000

A Cheetos corn snack resembling Harambe the Gorilla just sold on eBay for $99,900.

The listing attracted 132 bids before closing at 3:45 a.m. on Feb. 7. The item was sold from Burbank, California, and even came with free standard shipping, according to the eBay listing.

The seller, "valuestampsinc," listed the item as "Gorilla Hot Cheetos – RARE – One of a Kind Cheetos – Harambe Gorilla," juxtaposing it with a side photo of the gorilla.

In a phone call, eBay confirmed to CNBC the item was valid and available for purchase, but has not yet returned a request for comment on the specific listing. Wired noted in 2015 that trolls tend to inflate the bids on "rare" and collectible items, making large offers that inevitably fall through. Oftentimes, the only consequence for not fulfilling a bid is a strike against the seller's account.

Seeing resemblances in food is not a new phenomenon. In 2014, the BBC explained why people see faces in everything from food to cars, and how it may have developed because of our dependence on socialization.

Harambe the Gorilla was a 400-pound silverback fatally shot by a zookeeper after a human child entered his enclosure. His shooting went viral on the internet, creating several memes and attracting worldwide attention. Harambe was housed in the Cincinnati Zoo.

An 8.3-ounce bag of Cheetos Crunchy Flamin' Hot retails for $2.50 at Target.

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