People were whining, and not reading the error message from the last hour. It looks like this is what's going on: (it at least explains the symptoms)
On the Main page, I saw both the shirts and the Skil tools, alternating back and forth several times in the last 2 hours (noon to 2pm, ET)
I also saw a couple 503 errors with a one word message: "aiCache"
Google found this page for Aicache web accelerators: "Operating Accelerated Websites in Fallback Mode" http://preview.tinyurl.com/6j6tgbl (aicache.com)
I'm guessing that the backend service (web page generation) died (or some part of transport broke), and we're all getting random pages out of the caching server's stale cache of the main web page http://www.woot.com
This would explain the 503 errors, etc, initially from trying to hit other pages than the main Woot page (like the dynamic Comments pages which are unlikely to be cached)
Ah. Now things seem to be better, for a moment. 1:57PM Eastern time
From the document:
...When the back end web service fails, the public-facing caching accelerator's degraded behavior includes these behaviors:
• requests for cacheable content are instantly satisfied by (possibly stale) cached responses whenever possible, w/o attempting refresh against origin servers
• no requests are allowed to go to origin servers
• non-cacheable requests and requests for cacheable content that doesn’t exist in the cache are served instant 503 responses by Aicache, again, no attempt is made to go to origin servers...