With Valentine’s Day looming, some may be wondering what gift is not too cliché for the holiday. The Bronx Zoo offers an answer: for just $15 you can name a Madagascar hissing cockroach after that special someone and receive a certificate of authenticity.
The original Name-A-Roach was launched by the Bronx Zoo in 2011, providing the opportunity for anyone to express their feelings not through boring flowers or candy but through bugs. The idea has become popular enough to be embraced by other zoos, some of which suggest adding on the experience of seeing the selected cockroach being fed to a meerkat.
The Bronx Zoo keeps it classy, though with no overt suggestions of schadenfreude. OK, it admits that some may get a kick out of naming the roach for the person they hate, but it also seems to think many may mean it as a sincere homage to the person they love.
The message the zoo sends out via emails allows you to have it both ways, a creatively romantic gesture or a purchase that just delivers personal satisfaction:
Just in case a certificate won’t cut it as a gift for your Valentine, the zoo also extends the possibility of purchasing some roach themed gift items to be given solo or in conjunction with the certificate for the name. In previous years, the items were mugs or hats, and this year they are candles and socks.
At least the recipient will have something interesting to share when asked “What did you get for Valentine’s Day?” That – and the desire to support the zoo’s mission – are what drive people to buy these things for the holiday.