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A few weeks ago, Nordstrom did a funny thing. It launched a rock—the same smooth, potato-like kind of rock you'll find in any flower bed, babbling brook, or sea shore—encased in a hand-stitched leather pocket. For $85. Per the product page, its maker aimed to "embody both simplicity and functionality" in the design, which will "develop rich character and patina over time."
Yurp. A rock. A "conversation piece," you could say. Or "a paperweight" (which is literally, by its nature, dead weight).
The semi-senselessness of slinging a "Medium Leather Wrapped Stone" on the internet for nearly a hundred dollars isn't unique to Nordstrom (nor is it entirely dumb: They sold out). So we've rounded up a dozen of the most bizarre products we saw for sale this year, just to marvel at
the brilliance the sometimes stupidity of mankind.
Okay, okay, this is coming from the Shop that sells a 0.4-quart copper pot with a handle so long it tips over (for flambée!), perhaps the ultimate in cute-but-not-necessary product designs, and from a person who recently praised an $80 picture book for adults. Function is good, but sometimes pretty's enough.
In the case of these other eleven head-scratching products, however, I'd argue that the why?'s outweigh the yes-please!'s:
Anthropologie's Faux-Dingy Garbage Can, $148
The internet was not very happy about this so-called "West Village" trash can, which is fabricated to appear as if it spent a previous life hiding in a dingy side street where rich drunk people peed on it. Hilariously, the product is currently both marked down to $12.98 (from $150!) and also "no longer available."
Scoutmob's Beard Comb Bottle Opener, $34
For all those times you need a bottle opener when you're combing your beard.
Kaufmann Mercantile's Lift Fruit Bowl, $260
Nothing like a hole in the middle of your $260 fruit bowl.
Neiman Marcus's Cooked Collard Greens, $81.50
By live-chatting with a Neiman Marcus customer care team member, our Staff Writer Mayukh found out that these Thanksgiving collard greens—which feature "just the right amount of spices and bacon" and ship "cooked and chilled" in a quantity large enough to feed 8 to 10—actually sold out, despite being the better part of a hundred bucks. For collard greens. I suppose that's called knowing your audience.
Walmart's Wine Lanyards, $6.99 for 2
So you can snack with both hands while still carrying your drink! To be fair, Walmart at least admits that these come from a brand called "Fairly Odd Novelties," and they're by no means the only retailer who sells them: A quick Google Shopping search for "wine lanyard" drums up a bevy of results—most of which look like some sort of sex toy.
Blu Dot's Brass "Untitled Turkey Leg," $199
It was just about a month ago that I came across this $199 brass turkey leg, sophisticatedly called "Untitled Turkey Leg" as if it'd be just as at home in the Whitney as propped up on your bookshelf. "Full scale cast of an actual turkey leg," the description reads, "A curious and intriguing object intended to amuse and befuddle. Do with it as you see fit." Heavy on the befuddling, I'd say.
Buzzfeed's Fondoodler, $35
A hot glue gun, for cheese. Enough said.
Quitokeeto's Lint-Covered Brick, $450
Only Heidi Swanson—queen of domestic loveliness—could market a brick covered with what looks like lint for nearly half a grand and still have buyers come calling (it's sold out!). She took care to explain in the product copy that, despite appearances, the rock was a piece of artwork—a sculpture—by the artist Llane Alexis that required a "slow, deliberate, methodical, painstaking, and beautiful" process to create. But then she also suggested it could be used as... a doorstop. Confusing.
Ostrichpillow's Ostrichpillow Original, $99
For taking a snooze, anywhere (the topmost two holes are for your hands to go in, when you use the ostrich pillow to sleep face-down on your desk). We've reached peak work-life imbalance.
SkyMall's Laser Christmas Light Projector, $79.99
If you'd like to make your house look as if it has virtual dandruff, perhaps this invention is for you. The rest of us will wrap twinkly lights around trees and mantels and things, the old-school way, and stop when we get sick of doing so.
Despite the ridiculousness of these designs, people will still spend their hard-earned dollars to have them—people will donate to the digging of an openly pointless hole, for crying out loud. As they say, you get what you pay for.
What other befuddling products did you spot in the internet this year? Tell us in the comments.