Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Chia Pet ram

This came in the mail today.

Look at that stupid face. It's so crude, it's incredible. Definitely folk art. The eye is just a pen casing jabbed into the wet clay. The ridges scratched across with a comb.

You know how old toys are becoming collectables? That's happening to these Chia Pet rams. And they are the stupidest things, but there you go, now they're collectable. 

These were advertised around Christmas when I was a little boy and I wanted one. A very dumb thing to want, but it's what I wanted. My family would ask, "What do you want for Christmas?" I'd say very clearly, "I want a Chia Pet." 

They were all, "Come on. What do you want?"

"I want a Chia Pet." 

Then the year would swing around to my birthday. "What do you want for your birthday?"

"I want a Chia Pet." 

Year after year, Christmas and birthday, Christmas, birthday, Christmas, birthday, the only thing I wanted was what I saw on t.v., a Chia Pet. I thought the idea was brilliant. See, it's ram. And you get the seeds wet and they ooze goo that sticks the seeds into grooves in the clay. And the clay stays wet by being filled with water and the seeds grow to look like wool on a sheep. How brilliant is that? Who wouldn't want to see that? 

They were advertised as gifts but my family considered them too stupid to be a real gift. My family were protecting me (and themselves) from me receiving a gag gift. It's too stupid to be a gift. So I was denied the entire time I grew up past my teens. 

Then I realized, Dude, just buy one for yourself. Duh. 

So I did. Problem was, by then the rams had been discontinued and replaced with a kitten. Or a puppy. Or a turtle (!) Or a hippopotamus (!) A frog (!), animals that don't even have fur. Then people's heads. I wanted what I wanted and I wanted a ram and now my chance for a Chia Pet ram is gone. What am I going to do, look for them at garage sales? Estate sales? What? 

What a bummer!

Right then eBay was invented. Finally. At last I had my first Chia pet.

And you know, that's how obsessions are started. When children are denied things then their mind locks onto it. It's just an idea. Play with the thing a couple of times and that takes care of that. 

The first one I bought cost $5.00 plus shipping. The first few I bought cost around that much. The price has been steadily increasing so now I see them start at $30.00 each plus shipping. So when one shows up for $20.00 that's a good bargain. 

Sometimes the boxes are new and unopened, the seeds inside some forty years old and nonviable. And that tells me that somebody received a Chia Pet ram as a gift some forty years ago and did not appreciate the joke one single bit. Put up the box in a closet and at length died. Their belongings rummaged and auctioned on eBay. And that makes me so sad, knowing that some person did not have it in them to appreciate such an awesome idea. They didn't even try it. Not even once. No curiosity at all. 

The unopened boxes are the saddest Chia Pets of all. And now the most valuable of all due to the value placed on unopened original toys by collectors and the conceits of those collectors as a group.  Man, I just don't understand that. A toy that was never played with. Doesn't that make you sad? 

This seller today wanted to make sure that I have the original box. The original registration card. The original seeds. They wan't to make sure I can play with it so they included a very large package of seeds. 

I can tell they're not authentic chia seeds. They look like grass seeds to me. Unless chia seeds are hybridized too in the last forty years. Chia seeds produce a sticky goo within minutes of contact with water. That's what makes the whole thing work.

This is the second Chia Pet ram this year. And both included fresh seeds. 

I find that touching that the two sellers this year want me to enjoy playing with my used Chia pet. They want me to experience the excitement a child feels. That is so cool. And so far, this far out from the original, the idea of including fresh seeds has only just now appeared. How thoughtful. It coincides with chia seeds becoming recognized as health food. And that coincides with the new popularity of micro greens.

This seller wanted the buyer to have the original rectangular tray that comes with the kit plus the tray they used to try out the toy. I just find all that remarkable.

Still, other sellers cannot tell the difference between a Chia Pet ram and a Chia Pet bull. The bodies are the same, the newer style faces are the same, the only difference is the shape of the horns. 

And nobody wants a Chip Pet cow! GAWL. That's not even original. Maybe a rancher. I don't know. 


MamaM said...

Of all the amazing things posted by Chip Ahoy, here or elsewhere, animated or otherwise, my most favorite remains the picture posted here at Levity of St Francis with a flock of Chia sheep/rams? gathered around.

Thinking about it still brings a smile.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

Some like the Chia pet cow...

Chip Ahoy said...

I was thinking of you Bloggerlady when I mentioned the cow. You would like those. And your kind of Highland cow really does have fur. It actually works.

Cows are a lot cheaper too. You should start a herd. They're ace.

St. Francis with Chia pet rams wearing llama fur coats. For Christmas.

St. francis leading flock on dresser

Now his flock is a little bit larger. There are some rams stuck forever in their boxes :-(

I HATE getting unopened boxes. It makes me sad because they cannot even join the flock. They're stuck being unloved collector's items never played with, never seeing the light of day.

You know, there's like thirty right there, so when I die and relatives rummage my things and sell them for let's say $50.00 each by then, that''ll be like a million dollars. Or maybe $1,500.00 depending on how maths are done in the future.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

You should make a photograph story with your Chia like the Lonely Doll series.

Adamsunderground said...

Does Miracle Gro pitchman James Whitmores dream of radioactive Chia Sheep?

AllenS said...

Whoever came up with the idea of a Chia Pet was brilliant.

ndspinelli said...

Allen, I wonder if it was Ron Popeil? Chia seeds are a new health food craze.

AllenS said...

Here you go, Nick --

Marketed by Joe Pedott and produced by San Francisco, California-based company Joseph Enterprises Inc., the first Chia Pet, Chia Guy was created on September 8, 1977. A trademark registration was filed on Monday, October 17, 1977.

From Wiki

bagoh20 said...

The fact that there is no Chia Trump is a lost marketing opportunity of historic proportions.

AllenS said...

Green hair won't work, bags.

bagoh20 said...

Imagine the possibilities.

ndspinelli said...

Allen, Thanks for the info.

ricpic said...

Your parents should have honored your chia request no matter what they thought of it.

If a kid asks for a dry turd when the parents ask him what he wants as a gift they should give it to him.

The psychology is so obvious that I'm not going to insult Lemites with an explanation.

Okay, I'll explain: when the kid starts crying about how he hates the dry turd the parents stand firm and teach him the you made your bed lesson.

Methadras said...


Chip Ahoy said...

The Joseph Enterprise ones are actually latecomers to the game.

Aztecs had such planters. It had to be another of those things discovered by accident. Like my own tomatoes that sit on the counter so long the seeds inside start to grow. People discovered very early the property of chia seeds and what they look like when neglected. Look, I'm making up history as I go here, alright?

This guy does a very good job of showing the strange clay heads marketed before Chia Pets. They're very weird and I don't like them because they're not sheep. They're weird heads. Elmer the Doughboy, Paddy O'Hair, Soldier Boy seed head, Some with clown faces painted on them, Barnacle Bill.

But even those cannot be the first. Somebody noticed something odd like this in Mexico and thought, you know, we can do something with that.

Joseph Enterprise was just another iteration of earlier ideas with much more aggressive marketing. And even there, the marketing was restricted to around Christmas.

When my parents saw my collection they went, Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, Kid, you really ARE a nutter. They still considered them junk toys and with no redeeming value whatsoever. Some people just don't get it, can never appreciate them, and never will.

Amartel said...

Meth - That jingle was instantaneous when I saw the Chia, even after all these years.
I've been prograaaammmmed.
Never had one growing up. Got the sea monkeys, though.

ampersand said...

I thought the Chia Obama was going to be a rarity, as the usual suspects were screaming RACISTS when it came out, but it's still being sold. Of course it seems better suited for growing choom.

Amartel said...

You would need bigger holes in the head for a choom chia.
So, yeah, perfect.

Chip Ahoy said...

They're capitalists! . There already is Barak Obama Chia pet.

Methadras said...

Amartel said...

Meth - That jingle was instantaneous when I saw the Chia, even after all these years.
I've been prograaaammmmed.
Never had one growing up. Got the sea monkeys, though.

Me too. I've only seen two chia pets my entire life.

Sixty Grit said...

With apologies to Hemingway, if in fact he wrote the original novel in six words, here is my sad story:

For sale:
Chia pet.
Never opened.

However, unlike the work I am ripping off, this story has a very happy ending.

MamaM said...

That was pretty good, Sixty, I had to look it up. And decided afterwards that I can't trump that sad story or happy ending.

The picture Chip Ahoy posted of St Francis leading the flock, with that huge uphill rock as background is the one I remembered and like. Thanks for posting the link.

The photo of them in their Christmas cloaks was new and made me laugh.

I've carved 4 St Francis from wood, three holding a rabbit and one holding a dove, and find this statue particularly lovely. He's one of my favorites.

I've quoted this before here and will post it again.

He who works with his hands is a laborer
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman
He who works with his hands, his head and his heart is an artist. St. Francis