The most puzzling gift to pop up this holiday season is here. Nordstrom is selling rocks in leather pouches and charging people $85 for them. Yep --- you hand them almost a hundred bucks, and in return you get a rock.

Clearly, Nordstrom is having trouble figuring out why someone would just buy some random rock as well. The product's description on their website makes a few suggestions to buy it as a paperweight or a conversation piece before just giving up. The strange gift kind of harkens back to that "pet rock" fad in the '70s, but I'm pretty positive none of those novelties were priced this ridiculously high, nor did they take themselves this seriously. I mean, look at this thing.

And for rock lovers on a budget, Nordstrom is also advertising a "Small Leather Wrapped Stone," which is going for a paltry $85. Wow, what a steal! Of course, the ridiculously expensive rocks are being dragged through the mud online by confused tweeters and satirical reviewers. Though reviews on the product seem to be getting periodically deleted by Nordstrom, they have largely been sarcastic 5-star ratings about how buying the expensive rock has changed the customer's life.

But what I have found most perplexing of all about this story came from looking into the rocks' manufacturer, a Los Angeles-based artisanal leather company called Made Solid. Among useful items like belts, wallets, and jewelry, their website also features these "Wrapped Stones," which seem to be their trademark product, and two of the four $85 wrapped stones they are offering are sold out! Am I to believe enough people willingly forked over 85 bucks for a rock that this manufacturer is totally sold out of half their product!?

Further poking around the Made Solid site reveals that they have been making and selling these rock pouches since 2013. And yes, I'm sure that the leather pouches are indeed a really high quality, but if all it's going to do is hold a rock then I'm not sure how that price is justifiable. Just feast your eyes on this super flowery description from the website about how the rocks wrapped in leather are put together:

Each stone is selected for shape and color. Beautiful Hermann Oak vegtan leather is then stretched around the stone using the tradition technique of wet molding. Each is stitched and finished by hand in a multi-step, labor intensive process. It is an all natural process and no glue is used at any time. The leather is bound to the stone for life. The result is a one-of-a-kind piece.

So I guess if you open a present this holiday season and just find a rock in there, don't assume that the gift-giver was a cheapskate.

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