A Unique Holiday Gift That Rocks

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a holiday rockThere’s less than two weeks until Christmas and Hanukkah!! Last-minute shoppers, are you hearing this? Get your gifts in order. Unfortunately, you’ve missed out on a hot seller at Nordstrom—the Medium Leather Wrapped Stone. And its sister item, the Small Leather Wrapped Stone.

What is this incredible item that has sold out everywhere (even the manufacturer’s, Made Solid, website)? Read the name again…it is a medium (or small) stone wrapped in leather. Oh, and it was listed at $85 and $65 respectively. Nope, I’m not kidding.

No one is quite sure what this item should be used for, not even the people at Nordstrom, as their product description reads as follows: “A paperweight? A conversation piece? A work of art? It’s up to you…”

When I saw this, all I could think was “where is the outrage?” Isn’t this going to turn into a PR fiasco? Don’t you remember last year when Whole Foods was selling asparagus water, which was just 3 to 4 stalks of asparagus in a bottle of water, for $6? And people lost their minds, leading Whole Foods to quickly remove the items from shelves after announcing it was a “mistake” to sell the product to begin with?

Not the case here. Sure, people made fun of it (take a look at the comments section on Nordstrom’s product page, it’s pretty funny), but it seems that comments, tweets, conversations were more comical than downright angry.

I did some searching to see what the difference between Nordstrom’s situation and Whole Foods was because I wanted to know why people weren’t outraged at this rock wrapped in leather (at a cost of $65 to $85) and came up with nothing. So here are my thoughts on why Nordstrom isn’t dealing with a PR crisis.

  • Whole Foods is known for being pretentious. Nordstrom is not. Whole Foods is known for being extravagant and expensive. It even has the nickname “Whole Paycheck.” Many people associate it as the grocery store for the wealthy (and maybe a bit snobby). Nordstrom, on the other hand, is not. Yes, it has extravagant items, but it also has fairly-priced options. It’s a place nearly everyone can afford to shop if they look hard enough.
  • Asparagus water is meant to be consumed. A rock wrapped in leather is not. People get angry when you mess with their food. Haven’t you heard people complain about the cost of milk? And many people are avid couponers for grocery shopping. People really care about food prices because it’s a necessity. A rock wrapped in leather is an extravagance. It’s a home décor item. As long as an item isn’t offensive, people think it’s ok because you don’t have to buy it. It’s true, you don’t have to buy asparagus water either, but do you get my point?

And you know you’re going to see this rock on some celebrity’s bookshelf in the near future.

Do you have any thoughts on why/how Nordstrom avoided this PR crisis?

Sara Goodwin
Sara Goodwin
Account Coordinator Sara is a Maryland native who moved cross country to join the team at HMA. She is passionate about digital media and knowing what’s upcoming in new technology, whether it’s apps, social media platforms or hardware. She enjoys hiking, reading and traveling. Check out Sara's full bio