The 9/11 attacks were among the most horrific and traumatic events to date, and nothing commemorates that day better than an expensive rock.
The 9/11 Museum gift shop’s latest hot-seller is an engraved $39 “rock” shaped like a heart.
Etched with phrases like “honor,” “remember,” “united in hope,” and “reflect,” the gift shop is making a killing on the rocks, produced by Georgia artist Red Sandlin.
They’re selling so well, according to The Gothamist, the gift shop is having a hard time keeping them in stock. “Last week, the rocks had sold out from the gift shop’s display cases,” The New York Post reports.
“These rocks, which are not actually rocks at all, and lack even a tenuous connection to September 11th or New York, offer a more anodyne, if equally pointless way for the Museum to raise revenue,” quips The Gothamist.
The museum’s gift shop has been mired in controversy ever since its debut, after journalists began questioning the memorial value of various gift shop items.
The New York Post called attention to the “absurd” merchandise, pointing to several items which more appeared to be revenue generators than tokens of remembrance.
For instance, silk scarves embedded with images of the Manhattan skyline sell for $95, while “Darkness Hoodies” emblazoned with the ghostly outline of the Twin Towers fetch $39. Commemorative “Flags of Honor” sell for $24.95 plus tax, and “9/11 Memorial” baseball caps go for just under $20. There’s also a “United We Stand” blanket that will set you back $225.
Upon the museum’s opening, families of 9/11 victims saw the merchandise as a bold, insensitive way to capitalize off the tragedy.
“To me, it’s the crassest, most insensitive thing to have a commercial enterprise at the place where my son died,” one victim’s mother, Diane Horning, told The Post.
“Here is essentially our tomb of the unknown. To sell baubles I find quite shocking and repugnant,” Horning said. “I think it’s a money-making venture to support inflated salaries, and they’re willing to do it over my son’s dead body.”
“As rotten and heartless as it may seem, it’s always about money,” another museum visitor expressed to The Post.
One gift shop item, a commemorative cheese plate, caused such a stir it was quickly removed from the gift shop altogether after journalists at The Gothamist called attention to it.
The extent to which journalists threatened the museum’s revenue was made clear when security guards escorted a Gothamist journalist out of the museum last May simply for asking questions.
The museum claims profits go towards “developing and sustaining the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.” Its operating budget soars near $63 million a year.