Thursday, December 15, 2016

Between the Bridges in Broad Channel

Between the Bridges in Broad Channel
Peter J. Mahon
December 15th,  2016

While surfing the net recently looking for some gift ideas for the family I came across an offering from Nordstrom touting a medium leather wrapped stone for only $85!. I was somewhat curious as to what the background story of this stone was that made it so special. Sadly Nordstrom was unable to provide any specifics other than to state "A paperweight? A conversation piece?  A work of art?  It's up to you but this smooth Los Angeles area stone is sure to draw attention wherever it rests."   In short, Nordstrom was asking me to lay out $85 for a nondescript rock found lying around somewhere in the Los Angeles area.   Had the rock been pilfered from beneath the Hollywood sign or filched from the property of some motion picture star or even purloined from the La Brea tar pits in Hancock Park the worth of the stone might have been added to but for all I (and Nordstrom) know, the rock may have been pocketed by someone coming off a bender and waking up in the concrete basin of the Los Angeles river! 

That being said, I must add that I was not too quick to dismiss what, at first glance, appeared to be nothing more than a boneheaded marketing ploy on the part of a business to take advantage of the holiday Christmas season.  After all, during Christmas back in 1975, Gary Dahl unleashed a horde of igneous invertebrates, also known as "Pet Rocks", upon the American consumer for $3.95 a pop. Replete with a cardboard pet rock carrier with air holes, a straw bed and leash accompanied by a 32 page training manual with tips and tricks on how to train your new pet rock to :"sit" and "stay" the novelty was advertised as a "hassle free" pet.  Back then I had a Gilligan's Island Thurston Howell moment and decided to buy several pet rocks and put them away as a collectors item with a strong belief that over the years, if maintained in mint condition, they would be worth substantially more than I paid for them.  Although the pet rock fad was short-lived, more than 5 million of the endearing stones were sold and Gary Dahl became a millionaire almost overnight while laughing his way to the bank!  As for my investment scheme, I think the last time I actually remember seeing any of my pet rocks was sometime back in the early 80's when I used them as gifts to my colleagues at a "Secret Santa" office party.  .

Fast forward some 40 plus years I consider myself much wiser than I was back in 1975 so once again, completely disregarding the definition of insanity as something you keep repeating over and over in the hopes of a obtaining a different outcome,  I decided that I should invest a couple of bucks and purchase several of the Nordstrom leather wrapped stones and give them to my daughters as keepsakes with the caveat that they should safeguard and maintain them in the event their worth appreciates over the coming years. Unfortunately, after checking online I discovered that the stones were sold out.  I called Nordstrom customer service and after I convinced the staff person I was speaking with that I was not recently escaped or released from a mental facility or rehab,  they advised me they were in fact sold out and not expecting any replacement stock of the sought after leather wrapped stones.

Not to be undone, armed with the sage advice of Mrs. Thurston Howell ("Lovey") who said "Anyone who says money can't buy happiness doesn't know where to shop" I intend to head up the Broad Channel Gift Shop tomorrow as word on the street has it that a few Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Chia Pets may still be available.  After the recent election you just know they will be worth something in 20 or 30 years!  

Broad Channel, why would anyone want to live anywhere else?

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