Paying Bills with Spider Drawings (Seven-Legged Spider)

Paying Bills with Spider Drawings (Seven-Legged Spider)

Part of a series on David Thorne. [View Related Entries]

Updated Jun 18, 2013 at 05:48PM EDT by amanda b..

Added Jun 29, 2009 at 03:32PM EDT by Brad.

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Seven Legged Spider (a.k.a Paying Bills with Drawing of Spider) refers to the e-mail conversations that took place in October 2008 between David Thorne and Jane Gilles. More specifically, Seven Legged Spider is a comical drawing made by David, who offered his stick-figure artwork as a payment for his overdue utility bills. Needless to say, his drawing was rejected by the company’s representative Jane, but the playful, cutesy e-mail exchange between them lived on to become internet famous.


In October 2008, David Thorne received a payment notice via e-mail, stating that his utility bills were overdue by $233.95. Unable to make the ends meet at the time, David responded to the payment request with a pathetic drawing of a seven-legged spider:

Interestingly enough, this seemingly impossible exchange went on between David and Jane (company’s representative) for some time, during which his offer of payment with spider drawings was rejected by the representative not just once, but twice:


Shortly after their exchange, Thorne posted the original conversation on his website[1], which was then picked up by Digg[9] and subsequently disseminated throughout the web. People’s reactions after reading David’s e-mails were astonishing and the site’s server crashed after being hit by hundreds of thousands of people. A self-proclaimed internet prankster, Thorne has posted a series of other “internet jokes” on his website prior to the drawing of seven-legged spider.

Drawing Auction on eBay

In November 2008, Thorne took his joke to another level by auctioning off his drawing of the seven-legged spider. The classic eBay joke quickly caught on in the blogosphere and news media after an eBay user known as Patrick made the winning bid of US$ 10,000 for the drawing while others put up customized or accessorized versions of Thorne’s spider, such as Santa’s hat and Buddhist’s robe.

The story was highlighted by a number of Internet culture blogs such as Urlesque[7], Geekologie[5] and Neatorama.[8] When asked later about the eBay auction in an interview with 9News[4], Thorne stated that “the internet is a playground and I would not have it any other way,” revealing he had no real intention of selling. The transcript of e-mail exchange was also featured on TV and radio programs including BBC’s Have I Got News for You and the Late Show with David Letterman in the United States. On the Australian news site NineMSN[6], the article about the spider email was voted by readers as the most popular news story of 2008 in Australia, receiving five times more than the views of any article published that year.

Fan Art

On December 17th, 2009, artist Enkel Dika uploaded a graphic illustration titled “Value of The Spider” via Flickr[3], in tribute to the legendary seven-legged spider. The image was one of many tributes drawn by Dika, which were later published as a compilation post titled “The Art of Enkel Dika”[3] on Buzzfeed.

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