The Internet has been hopping, buzzing and otherwise jibber-jabbering in the last few days over a tea kettle that showed up on a JCPenney billboard in Culver City, Calif. But whether or not the thing actually looks like Adolf Hitler (see the wave of hair in the handle, the moustache — there you go) it’s already sold out online. Which means if you want it, you’ll have to go into a JCPenney in person to get it.
When the image of the Michael Graves Design Bells and Whistles Stainless Steel Tea Kettle billboard first hit Reddit over the past weekend, the Internet was awash in “Oooh, it looks just like one of the most evil people in the entire history of humankind” comments.
Not a great comparison for an already struggling JCPenney, which took the incident in stride and tweeted at one follower: “If we had designed it to look like something, we would have gone with a snowman or something fun.”
It’s also directed followers to call the retailer’s 1-800 number to check for in-store availibility, because as of Tuesday afternoon, the tea kettle had sold out on JCPenney’s website.
Now hang on, you might be saying, it could just be a popular model and have nothing to do with this Hitler thing. Perhaps, but as Time.com points out, it was the only one out of 31 total kettles on the site to be out of stock. And now, it appears to have been totally wiped from the site, if not from our minds.
So even though the billboard has reportedly been taken down, and the tea kettle is gone from its site, the question remains: Is JCPenney dealing with a major crisis here or did it just happen to benefit from the unexpected, open to interpretation, viral nature of the Internet? We’re inclined to believe it’s the latter.
And who knows, the unavailability of the tea kettle online could convince a couple people to walk through JCP’s doors, which we’re sure would be a welcome event for the struggling retailer.