In Case You Missed “Chia Pet Day”…

Johnny-on-the-Spot … by John Foster

I’ll bet in the hustle and bustle of the Thanksgiving season, when you got back to business on that following Monday, you probably missed “Chia Pet Day”.

I visit various websites that list special events and activities for each day of the year and November 29th was “Chia Pet Day”.

The terracotta figurines that you spread the chia “paste” on came out in 1977 but they really didn’t take off until 1982.

That’s when “The Ram” and “The Bull” became the first widely-distributed Chia Pets.

We should not have been surprised by the success of Chia Pets.

Just prior to Chia Pets, the 70’s produced the Pet Rock and Mood Rings.

Remember those?

The “Pet Rock” came out in 1975, marketed as the perfect pet; it didn’t need to be fed, it didn’t make noise and didn’t need to be potty-trained.

Laugh if you will but the creator sold them for $3.95 each and he kept a dollar from each one sold.

Within a few months, he was a millionaire.

There’s a similar success story for Mood Rings which changed colors as the crystals in the set reacted to your body heat.

Within 3 months of their debut, over a million Mood Rings were sold in America.

But, the success story of the Chia Pet continues.

Chia Pets were a huge success and reached iconic status in the 80’s but unlike the Pet Rock and Mood Ring, they still sell today.

Nearly a half million of them are sold every year with 90% of those sales occurring in the holiday season.

Chia Pets were marketed by Joe Pedott and produced by Joseph Enterprises, Inc. of San Francisco.

This is the same company that makes the “Ove Glove”, “Creosote Sweeping Logs” and “The Claw Broom” to name a few.

Can’t forget “The Clapper” sound-activated electric switch either.

Remember the annoying “Clap on! Clap off!” tv commercials?

By the way, there’s one story that says the iconic “Ch-ch-ch-Chia!” commercial was created during an alcohol-infused brainstorming session.

It’s been rumored I attended a few of those in my day.

Chia Pets were originally made in Mexico, but here’s a shock; they’re now produced in China.

Do you remember “Chia Guy”?.

He came out in the mid-to-late 70’s and was sort of a cross between Homer Simpson and Woody from “Toy Story”.

There’s even a “Chia Poll” predicting Presidential elections based on Chia P{et sales.

In 2016, Donald Trump Chia sales topped those for Hilary Clinton and in 2012, sales and Obama and Romney Chia Pets were very similar, percentage-wise, to the Electoral College results.

Further proof that Chia Pets are in that “special category” is the fact one was included in a New York Times time capsule, assembled in the 1990’s and sealed, not to be opened until 3000.

Joining the Chia Pet in the time capsule is a can of Spam, a box of Sudafed, a gold nose rings, a Beanie Baby and a condom.

The chia seed is a kind of sage.

The small, crunchy seeds, packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, protein and fiber.

Sold in bulk by the same Joseph Enterprises, Inc., the chia seeds considered in some circles to be the new “Super Food”.

But health officials say if you run across an old boxed Chia Pet in the closet, don’t eat those seeds because they aren’t regulated as much as the food version is.

I am particularly fond of my “Tasmanian Devil” Chia Pet that my oldest grandson bought me many years ago.

I remember how excited he was to have me open the gift.

Then, we had to head to the kitchen to soak those chia seeds in water to form that pasty mixture that was spread on “Tas”.

When the green hair sprouted, my grandson was ecstatic.

Several weeks later when the green growth dried up, I carefully cleaned my Tasmanian Devil up and let him completely dry out.

I still have that terracotta figure

At one time he graced my office shelf.

It’s now in a box in the attic but whenever I see it or think of it, I am reminded of the time my grandson learned a valuable lesson about how giving can be more fun than receiving.

It’s often not an easy lesson for adults to learn, much less youngsters.

So, “Happy Chia Pet Day” to you.

It’s observance sparked some fond memories for me.

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