When you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.
Cards Against Humanity, the maker of the game of the same name, announced last week it would be celebrating Black Friday by digging a giant, pointless hole in the ground. The company named it the Holiday Hole, and said it would dig the hole for as long as people were willing to pay for it. The dig lasted for days and ended on Sunday.
Before the dig was stopped, donations began to dwindle, but for more than a week the money piled up, as has all the displaced dirt next to the hole — the location of which Cards Against Humanity has not disclosed. According to the website, the initiative has brought in $100,573.
This has raised a lot of questions in NPR's newsroom, some of which Cards Against Humanity endeavored to answer on its site:
What's happening here?
Cards Against Humanity is digging a holiday hole.
Is this real?
Unfortunately it is.
Where is the hole?
America. And in our hearts.
Is there some sort of deeper meaning or purpose to the hole?
What do I get for contributing money to the hole?
A deeper hole. What else are you going to buy, an iPod?
Why aren't you giving all this money to charity?
Why aren't YOU giving all this money to charity? It's your money.
Is the hole bad for the environment?
No, this was just a bunch of empty land. Now there's a hole there. That's life.
How am I supposed to feel about this?
You're supposed to think it's funny. You might not get it for a while, but some time next year you'll chuckle quietly to yourself and remember all this business about the hole.
How deep can you make this sucker?
Great question. As long as you keep spending, we'll keep digging. We'll find out together how deep this thing goes.
What if you dig so deep you hit hot magma?
At least then we'd feel something.
This isn't the first holiday stunt pulled by the company. Last year on Black Friday, the company made $71,145 after it asked people to send $5 each — to receive absolutely nothing in return. Two years ago, it sold literal bull feces to 30,000 people, bringing in $180,000.
As the rate of donations for the dig decreased, so too did the amount of time each dollar would buy. As Business Insider reported on Friday, "each dollar donated extends the dig time by about another 1.8 seconds." By Sunday morning that number had dropped to 0.4 seconds. By early Sunday afternoon, 0.3 seconds.
Cards Against Humanity told NPR it was not trying to discourage people from donating in order to end the hole digging. Claire Friedman, Cards Against Humanity employee and self-described "hole mom," said Sunday: "It's set so time gets more expensive the longer we dig. The first dollar paid for 5.5 seconds, now it'll only get .3. Basically just reflecting the longer we need to hold crew and equipment here, the more expensive it gets."
We emailed Cards Against Humanity with further questions, and will update this post if we hear back.
This post was updated to reflect the increase in total money donated and the conclusion of digging.
An earlier version of this story said the plan was announced on Nov. 18. In fact, the dig began on Nov. 25.