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  • Writer's pictureJohn Selzer

Declare Guerre Nucleaire

Updated: Jan 15, 2019

Sometimes all you really need is a pound of glitter and some fart spray.

It is that time of year when your neighborhood is a constant stream of UPS and FedEx trucks (and the gig-economy folks slinging Amazon boxes out of their trunks). With the rise of online commerce, our porches have become dumping grounds. The final few feet of that fabled last mile.

What a marvel this truly is, though. A couple of clicks and exactly what you need appears on your doorstep within as little as a few hours. Like magic. But intermittently offsetting that extreme convenience is the opening created for the sticky-fingered, opportunistic malfeasant: the porch pirate.

(Slowly raises hand over one eye and utters, “Arrrrrgh.”)

We all know someone who has fallen victim to a mysteriously disappearing box. That moment when the porch acts more like the Bermuda Triangle than a safe haven protecting your brown-boxed bounty. Maybe it was you who got that delivery confirmation, only to find your porch as bare as a bachelor’s pantry when you got home.

Cue the sad trombone.

So you install a couple of cameras and lie in wait. You are going to get that so-and-so who disrupted your Amazon-induced euphoria... But when you inevitably capture footage of the next larcenous event, you find that the police are inundated with countless other videos of an identical scenario.

So nothing happens.

You could post the video to Nextdoor in desperation like everyone else. Or, you could exact your revenge. Sweet, sparkly and unpleasantly-scented revenge.

The latter is the approach taken by a former NASA engineer. He built a dummy box with a heavily over-engineered collection of cloud-enabled cameras, an accelerometer and a geo fence. Oh, and a crap-ton of glitter and a can of fart spray.

Take the package from the safety of its porch, and it begins to record. Pull off the lid, and it releases a rainbow-colored cloud of ultra-fine glitter into the air. Followed shortly by five quick bursts of fart spray. Which will repeat every 30 seconds until the box is abandoned.

Message received loud and clear: do not take that which is not yours.

(Give the video a gander here. It will be worth your time, I assure you. My sides still ache from laughing so hard.)

Sometimes a problem appears unsolvable. Until you readjust your thinking, that is. If you cannot find resolution through traditional means, you need to dig deep and try again.

Abandon the boring. Forgo the familiar. Get creative and approach a problem from a different angle.

And maybe add in a little sparkle.


I’ll save you the hassle of hitting up Google Translate: the title translates from French as “Declare Nuclear War”. While maybe a bit harsh of a title for this post – I mean, they are just stealing packages from porches, not committing genocide – it just seemed to fit. Sometimes you have to pull out the big guns to make a point or catch someone’s attention. I hope with as much national press as the video has gotten that porch pirates will leave the neighborhood high seas and pursue an alternate hobby. Or at least be braced for the glitter explosion and appreciate the sweet, sweet justice they have been served.

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20 Δεκ 2018

Yes, as the recipient of several parcels in the past few days (and grateful for working from a home office...) - I would want "nuclear revenge" on a porch pirate. It's a very funny video... thanks for sharing John!

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