Nordstrom, the US-based department store, sold out of their $85 (about £68) leather-clad pet rock online. As reported by CNN, the rock went viral on social media, increasing the number of sales. The description of the rock was fairly ambiguous, reading as follows:
“A paperweight? A conversation piece? A work of art? It’s up to you.”
But, it goes further describing how the stone is from the Los Angeles area and wrapped in vegetable-tanned American leather.
Why Did Consumers Buy In?
It’s hard to say why consumers decided to spend their money on leather-covered rocks. The novelty of the item likely came into play. Others may have wanted to be part of something exclusive.
Commenters mocked the item openly. Some suggested choosing the rock over buying food. Another commenter likened the leather warp to a holster and called the rock a “slappin’ stone.”
And, one commenter even suggested having technical difficulties with the item.
“I had to send it back because there weren’t any doggone instructions. I don’t even know how to turn the flippin thing on.”
While gag gifts can do very well during the holidays, most don’t command such a high price for a little bit of fun. Even Nordstrom’s smaller rock came in at $65 (about £52). And, yes, it was sold out online as well.
What’s a Gag Gift Buyer to Do Now?
If you were counting on the Nordstrom pet rock as a gag gift, you’d have to head back to the drawing board. Luckily, there are a number of options available. You can get a throwback to the original pet rock for about £16 if you truly had your heart set on the idea. Or step it up with a Poo in a Gift Box for closer to £7.
The point is, spending over £50 on a gag gift is unnecessary. And Nordstrom’s rock isn’t even an original idea. The first pet rock was sold in 1975. So, that makes Nordstrom’s version a reinvention of product that is over 40 years old.
First of all, it’s hard to understand why something like the Nordstrom rock took off. Budget-conscious consumers wouldn’t dream of spending so much on something you can effectively find on the side of the road (minus the leather). Obviously, this isn’t an item directed toward the common consumer.
Furthermore, it is hard to find a use for the product, as even Nordstrom had a hard time identifying its purpose.
On a good note, there is no requirement to spend money with such reckless abandon. However, if you are interested in investing in a rock from Los Angeles, that is your choice. But, if you are like most holiday shoppers, this is something you can easily pass by.
Instead of being caught up in the social media frenzy, look for items that provide something more meaningful that anything this Los Angeles stone will provide, especially when you consider the price. So, don’t feel pressured to buy into idea simply because the internet is amused by its presence. Living with a greater sense of financial responsibility is often the better path for the majority of consumers. And it is unlikely you will get over £50 of value from a rock wrapped in leather.