A totem of a forgotten era

Posted by Rob Walker on May 11, 2007
Posted Under: Olde News

Any of you kids old enough to remember the heyday of Kozmo.com? Here’s a (refresher).

I hadn’t thought about the company in some until reading this post by DL Byron on BikeHugger about somebody “scoring” an old Kozmo bag on eBay:

I’ve seen these treasured bags in Seattle and San Fran. I don’t know more about their history, other than they were used by Kozmo messengers and last forever. I also periodically miss Kozmo and their tragic dotbomb.

Check the post for nostalgic comments about Kozmo etc. Apparently these bags have sold for as much as $280! Pretty amusing.

Will Web 2.0 produce similar artifacts? No way! It’s totally different this time around!


Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

Reader Comments

The Kozmo bags were made by Chrome and were as big a bag as you could get at the time, they may have been bigger than anything sold publicly, and thus were prized by messengers. I’m actually surprised they are only topping out at $280, a new bag of that size and quality (say a Chrome, Baileyworks or Reload) would go for about $150 or more. The uberpremium bags from Pac (expensive because of their design & worksmanship) and Zo (expensive cause Eric Zo has been making them forever and you can only get them by dealing with him directly) easily cost north of $300 and sometimes $400. Definitely an interesting consumer/anticonsumer subculture going on in that little market…

Written By Abe Burmeister on May 14th, 2007 @ 10:39 am

HIghly interesting as alwas, sir. I’ve written about messenger bags, and learned about Zo and Reload and all that while researching the subject. But I did not know or had overlooked the Chrome connection to these particular bags.

Seriously though, don’t you find them, aesthetically speaking, pretty much hideous? It’s really only kitsch value, right? Getting a Zo bag is kind of a prestige and/or authenticity thing, there’s nothing like that here … is there?

I probably shouldn’t have said any of that. My aesthetic judgments are rarely in line with “the market.”

Written By murketing on May 14th, 2007 @ 7:32 pm

Well I find pretty much everything Chrome makes close to hideous…. The front release was an important innovation, but as seat belt buckle? They also achieve their high interior volume by making the bags longer, which is easier to do then deeper, and means these things are closer to capes than bags…

As for authenticity, it depends, Zo has some real history and worksmanship but it also has bit of the trust fund punk messenger thing going, where as the Kozmo bags were worn by real working class messengers making $8/hr… Vintage DeMartini/Globe’s of course win any authenticity pissing anyway. As for the market, the rave revival is ramping up so yeah huge ugly orange bags are probably only going to rise in demand. That and having one of them will let people brag about their role in fueling the dot com crash the way people from the 60’s claim they were at Woodstock.

Written By Abe Burmeister on May 14th, 2007 @ 8:19 pm

Interesting about Zo.

And I love the last point — I definitely can understand these bags as something like the tie-die T shirt of the ’00s. With roughly the same level of aesthetic appeal.

Written By murketing on May 15th, 2007 @ 8:11 am

Oh, and on the IPO/Woodstock thing: this may be of interest. Or not.

Written By murketing on May 15th, 2007 @ 8:13 am

wait so buying a twix and diet snapple from Kozmo is not the same as taking the brown acid at woodstock?

the interesting thing about Kozmo is that it tends to start discussions on just how little one once ordered from them. It’s very Thorstein Veblen, a servant who stands around all day doing as close to nothing as possible (I think he used a “footman”) is sign of much high status than a servant who you are actually employing to do work (say a gardner).

Written By Abe Burmeister on May 15th, 2007 @ 9:13 am

Personally I never actually got around to ordering from Kozmo.

But I think my footman did sometimes.

Written By murketing on May 15th, 2007 @ 11:57 am

lol. I guess we can blame you for the bubble popping then…

Written By Abe Burmeister on May 16th, 2007 @ 10:11 am
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