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 Nov 17, 2019 at 03:47AM EST by Y F.

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:

From: Jane Gilles Date: Wednesday 8 Oct 2008 12.19pm To: David Thorne Subject: Overdue account Dear David Our records indicate that your account is overdue by the amount of $233.95. If you have already made this payment please contact us within the next 7 days to confim payment has been applied to your account and is no longer outstanding. Yours sincerely, Jane GillesFrom: David Thorne Date: Wednesday 8 Oct 2008 12.37pm To: Jane Gilles Subject: Re: Overdue account Dear Jane, I do not have any money so am sending you this drawing I did of a spider instead I value the drawing at $233.95 so trust that this settles the matter. Regards, David.

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:

From: David Thorne Date: Thursday 9 Oct 2008 10.32am To: Jane Gilles Subject: Re: Overdue account Dear Jane, Can I have my drawing of a spider back then please. Regards, David. From: Jane Gilles Date: Thursday 9 Oct 2008 11.42am To: David Thorne Subject: Re: Re: Overdue account Dear David, You emailed the drawing to me. Do you want me to email it back to you? Yours sincerely, Jane Gilles


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

Winning bid: US $10,000.00 Get 15% back-new eBay MasterCard Apply Now Ended Shipping: To United Kingdom Not specified Ships to: United States ltem location: STOCKHOLM, default, Swedern History Winning bidder rma (24 Nov-13-08 04:54:38 PST 18 bids View larger picture You can also: Email to a friend Listing and payment details: Show

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 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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