Boston – For the vast majority of people who are neither state employees nor timeshare salesmen, free money is a contradiction in terms. Money might be many things. The great motivator. The great leveller. The root of all evil. Either virtue, misery or vice. But it’s simply not, nor will it ever be, free. It always has a price attached to it because… well, that’s its very nature.

And for local some residents over the weekend, that price was either cautious fear or a couple rounds of $17 margaritas at a glorified Chipotle.

Bomb squads in Boston and Cambridge were called to three separate locations Saturday after reports of suspicious metal boxes were found at the Charlestown Navy Yard, a Santander Bank on Beacon St, and a park bench along the Charles River.

Boston police stated earlier that afternoon they were “investigating whether these items were placed with malicious intent. Police are advising community members to exercise caution should they discover similar objects and to call 911 immediately.” All three boxes had a note attached stating “Open Me.”

At least one of those boxes was detonated, according to Live Boston. The objects were later found to be part of a global marketing campaign, allegedly planned by an anonymous group known as Snoopos. An Instagram page connected with the group indicates they’ll provide further details on September 9th.

“Sorry for causing all the trouble, we did not mean to,” a representative claiming to be from the group told Universal Hub on Sunday. “We are doing a social experiment all around the globe in which we are giving away money in these boxes. The goal of it is to find out what people do with money they would not have had. We are more than happy that people already donated the money to charity.”

An egregious waste of taxpayer money? A global barometer of human folly? A hysterical farce out of a Terry Southern novel? Maybe all three. But here’s context for you. A “social experiment” involving metal boxes inviting random people to open them were publicly placed in the U.S. less than two weeks after a spate of highly publicized mass shootings. Approximately a month before the commmemoration of 9/11. And in a city that has seen rice cookers used as incendiary devices during a marathon.

Brilliant timing to launch what is no doubt either your new geocaching social media platform or the latest entry into the cryptocurrency market, "Snoopos."

But there was at least one silver lining amidst the hubbub and embarrassment. “I made a few jokes in my head about it being a trap,” Universal Hub reports one woman told them upon discovering one of the boxes. “But I still opened it pretty much as soon as I sat down and it was next to us. I opened it, looked pretty crazily around to try and catch someone watching or filming or something to confirm I'd just found $50 in the park and it wasn't a weird joke.”

“I'll have an extra margarita for those people more cautious of random packages with directions on them,” she added, indicating she plans on spending her findings on street corn and margaritas.

There’s no moral to this story. Just human gullibility, poorly executed marketing campaigns and a $7 appetizer of grilled street corn.

Image via Flickr / Beck Gusler