Merchant Innovation

The Strangest Gift Ideas On The Internet

Well, once again, the race to the end of the holiday shopping sprint is near. The Christmas shopping season has officially less than one week left to it, and at least for the next eight days, millions of customers will descend upon the nation’s retailers in an attempt to secure the gifts that they think that most everyone will want to receive.

For the “done” shoppers, there isn’t much you can offer but grudging admiration for their superior organizational skills. For the “not-so-done” shoppers? The good news is that the Internet has their back more than ever.

As recently as five years ago, ordering online for gifts necessary for Christmas Day openings a week out was a little dicey. More likely than not, it was already too late, or at the very least, it was a crapshoot.

And, in 2013, in fact, a lot of gifts were missed, and since then, eTailers and their brothers in logistical arms at FedEx, UPS and the USPS have been very serious about making sure that the Dec. 24 deadline was met.

In 2015 the gifts are getting there, even if Jeff Bezos has to hitch a ride in Santa’s sleigh and kick the last couple over the finish line personally — or with the fleet of 757s that he is allegedly planning to buy.

But suppose the thing that you really want to give is unique, something that will make, well, an impression?

We found quite a few of those gifts-in-waiting.

For instance:

For The Religious Recipient…

…A Medal Blessed By The Pope

While most people like the pomp, circumstance and tinsel associated with Christmas, others tend to wonder if perhaps all the commercial enthusiasm has taken away from the religious aspects of the Christmas holiday. You will recognize them by their frequent mentions of the words “War on Christmas” or by their staunch refusal to drink Starbucks coffee over the heathen red cups.

Good news, Amazon has them covered.

For the reasonable price of $25, the Sorrowful Mother Pewter Medal and Necklace Free Prayer Card Blessed By His Holiness Francis can be theirs.

Note of warning, though, the medal itself and necklace are not actually blessed by the Pope — only the prayer card is.

Pays to have already read the fine print.

For The Kardashifan…

…Kim Kardashian’s Maternity Clothes

Despite what media reports might have one believe, we as a nation are not all keeping up with the Kardashians; in fact, the vast majority of us go most days without even once wondering what’s up in the House of K.

But there are 3 million to 5 million Kardashian active viewers and tens of millions more following them on social media. So, it’s safe to say that someone you know is a Kardashian fan, even if they don’t want you to know about it.

And for a brief window, you could have helped that friend live the dream by buying them some of Kim K’s recently released into the wild maternity clothes.

The professional celebrity recently sold off all of her maternity clothing in her eBay store — a fun throwback to Kim’s roots. Before she was famous or Paris Hilton’s personal assistant, Kim Kardashian’s first job was running her own eBay store.

But sadly, that window has closed, as all of Kim K’s maternity gear has moved on to new homes — with pregnant women we hope.

For Apocalypse-Obsessed Friend…

…Doomsday Prepping Services

Know somebody who watches “The Walking Dead” with the seriousness that most people bring to church attendance? Someone who perhaps uses the words “bugout bag” in casual conversation? A friend who is hard to shop for, because no matter what you buy them they complain that it’s a nice thought but not exactly what they wanted? A relative who is always telling you about how bitcoin and gold are going to replace paper currency?

Good news, if you can’t talk them out of it, you can at least help them feel more prepared.

For the bargain rate of either $27.95 a month or $39 a month, you can sign your friend/loved one/creepy neighbor up for either Bug Out Box or SEREBOX, two services that will send them a box full of lovingly curated survival gear and instructions from experts on how to use it.

You might question why a service preparing for the end of the world would build its business model on a monthly subscription, but don’t worry, the average doomsday prepper probably won’t.

For The Hardcore Military Enthusiast…

…A Tank (AKA The Badonkadonk)

OK, so you can’t easily buy a real military grade tank on the Internet. We looked as hard as we could without ending up on a government watchlist.

What we found was arguably much, much better: the Badonkadonk — a custom-built four-person tank that could be yours for the bargain price of ~$20,000.

Honestly, the product description says it better than we can.

“The JL421 Badonkadonk is a completely unique, extremely rare land vehicle and battle tank. Designed with versatility in mind, the Donk can transport cargo or a crew of five internally or on the roof and can be piloted from within the armored shell or from an exposed standing position through the hatch, thanks to special one-way steel mesh armor windows and a control stick that pivots up and down to allow piloting from the standing or seated positions. The interior is fully carpeted and cozy, with accent lighting and room for up to five people. A 400-watt premium sound system with PA is mounted to project sound both into the cabin and outward from behind the windows. The exterior is a steel shell with a rust patina and features head and tail lights, turn signal lights, trim lighting, underbody lighting, fixed slats protecting the windows and a unique industrial-strength rubberized flexible skirt that shields and protects the wheels to within an inch of the ground, while still allowing for enough flex to give clearance over bumpy and uneven terrain.”

Words of warning: Apparently, it isn’t street-legal. Imagine.

For Sugar Snob…

…Japanese/International Candy

While chocolate is basically an acceptable offering to anyone, anywhere, for any reason, at any time of year, by the time Christmas has rolled around each year, even the most hardcore chocoholic can start to get a case of craving some broccoli.

However, before letting vegetables win another day, you might wonder if what they need isn’t health food so much as better variety in their junk food.

In which case, Candy Japan, Skoshbox and Oyatsu Box will each deliver sweets and snacks from Japan with prices ranging from $11 to $25 per month. Skoshbox will also help users expand their pallets and, for a small additional fee, also add Vietnamese and Mexican candy to the mix.

For The Animal Lover…

…Fainting Goats

We at PYMNTS love dogs; in fact, we have an office dog. But ever since “Lady and the Tramp,” the adorable puppy on Christmas thing has been done to death. Everyone gets a puppy.

A fainting goat on the other hand? Now, that’s a unique pet.

And a weirdly adorable one. Fainting goats suffer from a genetic weakness that makes two things true of them: 1) They are small for goats and only grow to be 60–100 lbs; 2) The origin of their name — when they feel fear, their muscles freeze up, and they tip over on their side.

And yes, you can buy them online. However, though they were once used as meat animals, these days, they are mostly bred for being pets. Meaning if you intend to eat the goat, do not order it online from a breeder, since they will be horrified.

For The Sugar Non-Snob & The Ridiculous Sugar Snob…

…Twinkies (New And Old)

We will not make any jokes about Twinkies, except to note that with their shelf-life estimates, they might represent a cheaper option for those still looking for gifts for doomsday preppers.

We will note that there are two ways to buy Twinkies for Christmas online. The cheap way is in bulk on Amazon, for those who care only to be ensconced in the sweet, spongy, possibly made of radioactive materials goodness that is a Twinkie. For $48.22, 100 Twinkies (10 boxes of 10) can be theirs. That, by the way, is 9.7 pounds of Twinkie, or 27,000 calories (enough to feed 13 people for one day).

For those with a more discerning snack food palate, those who do not accept any Twinkie made before Nov. 2012 as a real Twinkie — since Hostess went bankrupt, was bought out and Twinkies were re-released — there is another option.

For a mere $1,500, one can also purchase two boxes of the original Twinkies.

We have no further comment, as any joke we would make would cheapen what eBay created perfectly for us.

For The Alien Fan…

…Dirt From Roswell

How many lightsabers can one fan of extra-terrestrials receive in one year? While 2015 will no doubt work hard to answer that question conclusively for the alien/sci-fi/conspiracy fans of the world, those who have to purchase them gifts might want to do something a little more inventive than another piece of merchandise from a galaxy far, far away.

And, as always, there is Amazon, where one can buy a soil sample from Roswell, New Mexico’s Area 51 crash site.

From the product description:

“This is a ONE-OF-A-KIND gift for the UFO buff in your life. A very small sample of dirt taken from the infamous 1947 crash site. Double-sided tag includes picture of actual sign at site, as well as a reprint of the original 1947 newspaper article on the crash.”

Probably worth noting, this is not the only site on Amazon selling dirt from the site, which leads one to wonder exactly how much soil is there out there for them to take.

But surely no one selling to UFO buffs would ever try to pass off dirt from their yard in Detroit as crash site dirt?

The good news, whether a person wants a blessing, proof that the truth is out there, international candy, stupidly expensive Twinkies or a goat that faints, the Internet has your back this Christmas.

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The Which Apps Do They Want Study analyzes survey data collected from 1,045 American consumers to learn how they use merchant apps to enhance in-store shopping experiences, and their interest in downloading more in the future. Our research covered consumers’ usage of in-app features like loyalty and rewards offerings and in-store navigation, helping to assess how merchants can design apps to distinguish themselves from competitors.

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