How to buy lunar real estate, and other “bargains” on the World Wide Web

Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.

Dispatches, April 1998

One Giant Leap for Suckerkind
How to buy lunar real estate, and other “bargains” on the World Wide Web
By Katie Arnold

As though there weren’t already enough distractions on the Internet, virtual malls are cropping up with alarming frequency — but they’re not all hocking Diamonique earrings and commemorative Hummel figurines. Thankfully, even nature-loving cybershoppers can participate in the low-security thrill of zapping their credit card numbers across
phone lines. Following, four of our favorite home-shopping sites.

Lease a Piece of the Moon
for Eternity
The Stuff: Moon rocks will only earn you so much respect. More impressive by far is this “Certificate of Unauthenticity” proclaiming squatter’s rights to a dusty patch of lunar landscape. Just $6.95 makes it a permanent conversation piece above your mantel.
The Hard Sell: “What could be more romantic than a piece of the silvery moon?… Surprise your loved ones with a lease on ten square feet of land, [to] be claimed on one of your future visits to the Moon.”
The Disclaimer: “This fantasy plot is, of course, for entertainment only and is not a legal document in any form.”

American Forests
Famous & Historic Trees

The Stuff: Skeptics may ask: If a tree was present at the storming of the Alamo, does it matter? Optimists at American Forests are willing to bet yes and are selling two-foot-tall sapling “offsprings,” spawned from the seeds of “parent” trees, such as the Gettysburg Address Honeylocust Tree, for $43.
The Hard Sell: “The Tree that Heard the Gettysburg Address Still Lives.”
The Disclaimer: None, but they’re not taking any chances: “Included in every tree planting kit are a photodegradable shelter which acts as a greenhouse…a stake for added support…[and] a Lifetime Replacement Guarantee.”

Get your own Whitewater
Micro-Acre Nestled in the
legendary Ozark mountains
of Arkansas for only $35!

The Stuff: For less than the cost of dinner for two at the Western Sizzlin, real estate tycoons with a hankerin’ for Clinton country can now purchase a one-square-foot tract of property “literally next door to Bill & Hillary’s Whitewater (well…at least darned close!).”
The Hard Sell: “For the person who has everything but their own piece of Ozark Country. They can say they’re Whitewater investors and not be lying.”
The Disclaimer: “Granted, our Whitewater Micro-Acres are small — that’s why we call them ‘Micro.'”

Rhino Exchange Program rhino/exchange.htm

The Stuff: A yearlong cultural swap sponsored by the “National Rhino- philic Association,” in which American host families open their homes to a pachyderm from East Africa while sending their own children off to live with a family of rhinos in Botswana.
The Hard Sell: “Little Kamarty is an underprivileged rhino-pup…. Kamarty has never seen a school. Just seven cents a day will provide him with suitable reading materials, such as Babar the Elephant, and plays by Ionesco.”
The Disclaimer: “Sorry, due to poaching problems, we can’t guarantee the timely return of your children.”

promo logo