Wednesday, December 19, 2007


It's that time of year again. The Christmas trees are out, kids are lining up for Santa Claus, those Salvation Army people are ringing their bells, and the Chia Pet commercials have popped up on TV and radio (again). A little history...

In 1977, Joe Pedott attended an annual housewares show in Chicago where he first heard of the Chia Pet. A man named Walter Houston was importing the little figures from Mexico, and they were the show's best sellers. Pedott bought the rights from Houston believing he could do a better job of marketing them. Chia Pets are now produced in China (like every other kitschy thing we own), and about 500,000 Chias are sold each year. For 26 years now, the clay figures have been holiday-season hits.

Smithsonian magazine says:
  • The ch-ch-ch-Chia Pet is so much a part of the American consumer lore that it was ch-ch-ch-chosen to be included in the New York Times capsule, to be opened in the year 3000, along with a Purple Heart medal, a can of Spam and a Betty Crocker cookbook.
A Chia Pet is a gag-gift, is it not? Wisegeek says, "The faces of past and present Presidents are often found on gag gifts." Now wouldn't that be funny? Bush + Chia... "And laughter - the best gift of all - is priceless."

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