On Day 28, a tank is rusting. Suspenseful! Katie and some of the other women return to camp with treemail, and it indicates that they will have "mostly" eating and drinking rewards, and that getting them will require "strategic thinking." I'll let you imagine how the horrible rhyming that is so much a part of the treemail tradition is accomplished. The tribe quickly concludes that this is probably the customary auction situation, and Tom interviews that he's hoping that, aside from the food and drink, there's something from home, because he needs "a little food for the soul." Aw. Tom's soul is hungry. Feed Tom's soul!
The tribe converges on the challenge clearing, and they all sit down next to their wallets. Jeff tells them that they each have been given $500, and adds the piece of trivia that Palau uses U.S. dollars. It's good that this show is doing its part to make you smarter, because I heard PBS is getting a lot of pressure not to show the planned educational cartoon in which a pair of gay squirrels goes to Palau and learns about currency. Probst tells the candidates that they can keep the money, or they can spend it on items at the Survivor auction. Bidding for each item will start at $20, and will go up in $20 increments. They won't get a warning before the thing ends, so they should spend their money freely. The first item Jeff brings up is something or other with a green canvas cover over it. "You're not going to show us?" Steph asks. "No," says Jeff. Call me crazy, but this approach seems to take much of the interest out of the auction aspect, considering that people have no idea what they're bidding on, so you can't tell how badly they want any of it. Who cares if two people are in a bidding war over a green canvas cover? Anyway, bidding goes along until Anonymous Jen finally nails it down for $120. She counts out the money for Jeff, and he uncovers...an ice cream sundae. Not what I would want in this situation, since it would be melted and gross by the time I got it. But I do tend to undervalue dessert as compared to other people, and Jen seems happy, so that's good. Katie is nearly in tears at how awesome this is for Jen, which is kind of funny. They're sympathetic ice-cream tears. The game sure does get emotional.