Ch-Ch-Ch- Chia!

30 Nov

November 30, 2010

The Chia Pet.

Everyone knows them , but does anyone actually own them? Have you ever seen anyone with a Chia Pet in their home? I haven’t.

And what actually is “chia”? It is a species of sprout in the mint family that is still used in Central and South America for some recipes. In North America, we know better than to eat anything that grows out of Mr. T’s head.

The Chia Pet was invented in Mexico, which on the one hand seems to explain everything, but on the other doesn’t quite explain enough. Meanwhile, the government has been so busy debating immigration from Mexico that it has totally ignored importation from Mexico. I think we can all agree, this has to be stopped. Enough already. I am sure that there are plenty of cheaply made crappy American products that can clog up store shelves rather than these things.

But really, who doesn’t love Chia Pets?

OK, I meant that rhetorically. NO ONE loves Chia Pets. No one wants Chia Pets and no one gives Chia Pets. OK, somebody is buying them. But who?

  • The slacker shopping for presents at Rite Aid the hour before Christmas.
  • The guy at the car wash on his way to see his kids for his court ordered visitation and who thinks he shouldn’t show up empty-handed.
  • The woman on her yearly visit to her aunt in the nursing home.
  • I don’t know.

I don’t get it.

Looked at as a statue, they are pretty silly looking. The original Chia Pet was a sort of four legged barrel that looked vaguely like a farm animal but they called it ram. That may pass for art in Mexico but here it looks like something your six year old niece made in art class and gave you for your birthday.  Looked at as a houseplant, they sort of look like weeds. Looked at as food, there must be something wrong with you, though I suppose a housecat might not mind munching on one. If you showed up for a blind date and saw that her house was decorated with Chia Pets, you’d run.

If the Chia Pet had remained stuck in the 80’s there might be a kitsch factor, but they’ve continued to update those things, right up to today, so they’ve taken away any nostalgia factor there may have been.

Here, courtesy of Wikipedia which is good for stuff like this but lousy for important stuff, like facts, is the list of Chia things:

1982 Wave 1 — Original Chia Pet (later called Chia Ram) introduced.
198x Wave 2 — Chia Bull, Chia Puppy, Chia Kitten, and Chia Tree introduced.
1993 Wave 3 — Chia Bunny, Chia Turtle, and Chia Herb Garden introduced.
1995 Wave 4 — Chia Pig, Chia Frog, Chia Hippo, and original Chia Head (later called Chia Guy) introduced. Chia Ram and Chia Bull discontinued.
1996 Wave 5 — Chia Elephant, Chia Kid, Chia Professor, Chia Clown and Chia Terra Cotta Herb Garden introduced. Chia Herb Garden discontinued.
1998 Wave 6 — Chia Cow and Chia Lion Cub introduced.
2000 Wave 7 — Chia Dinosaur, Chia Elmer Fudd, Chia Taz, and Chia Tweety introduced. “Watch-Me-Grow Chia Cards” included. Chia Mr. T issued briefly for TV Land promotion.
2002 Wave 8 — Chia Scooby-Doo, Chia Shaggy, and Chia Homer introduced. “Watch-Me-Grow Chia Cards” discontinued.
2003 Wave 9 — Chia Bugs Bunny, Chia Daffy Duck, and Chia Bart introduced.
2004 Wave 10 — Chia Shrek, Chia Donkey, Chia Garfield, Chia Cat Grass Planter featuring Sylvester and Tweety, and Gourmet Chia Herb Garden introduced. Chia Terra Cotta Herb Garden discontinued.
2006 Wave 11 — Chia Bear, Chia Alex and Chia Marty introduced, Chia Ram and Chia Bull reintroduced, Chia Kid, Chia Clown and Chia Lion Cub retired, Chia Alarm Clock included with all Chia Pets, Chia Heads and Chia Tree, Cuddly Chia Puppy and Cuddly Chia Cub introduced.
2007 — Pack-ins expanded to include Mini Chia Cuddly and Chia Watch.
2008 Wave 12 — Chia Po, Chia Tree with Star Light, and Chia Cat Grass Planter featuring “snoozing kitty” introduced. Chia Ram, Chia Bull, Chia Turtle, Chia Bear, Chia Elmer Fudd, Chia Bugs Bunny, Chia Daffy Duck, Chia Tree, Cuddly Chia Puppy, and Cuddly Chia Cub discontinued. Pack-ins include Mini Chia Cuddly and Chia Playing Cards. Chia Obama “Determined” and Chia Obama “Happy” released in April 2009, after normal selling season.
2009 Wave 13 — Chia SpongeBob, Chia Washington, Chia Lincoln, and Chia Liberty with Torch Light introduced. Chia Obama “Determined” added to normal production and selling season. Chia Turtle discontinued. Pack-in items in normal Chia Pets discontinued.

Here is their latest ad:

“The Special Edition Proud to be American (made in Mexico) Chia Series.”

What better way to honor the founding of our nation with a Chia George Washington? (He was, of course, famous for his wooden teeth and houseplant hair.) Or the freeing of the slaves with a Chia Lincoln featuring nappy Chia hair? (And why not a chia beard while they were at it?) And a Chia Statue of Liberty? This is what our immigrant forefathers dreamed of seeing when they came to America?

(There are also a pair of Chia Obamas which I modestly decline to comment upon, out of fear of insulting the Chia.)

Somehow, these things are big sellers. Are they all just given as gag gifts? Lousy Secret Santa presents? Stocking stuffers for people you don’t like? I don’t see the appeal of a small bust of an orange dinosaur with green grass growing out of his head sitting on my shelf.

It is also worth noting that the same company makes The Clapper.

Here is the original Clapper ad in which the old woman seems to clap off her pacemaker:

In 2011, watch for the Chia Mr. Blog, which points and laughs at you as it grows.

10 Responses to “Ch-Ch-Ch- Chia!”

  1. Supermonge November 30, 2010 at 8:57 am #

    I can’t wait for Chia Scrappers…where you use the Chia to plug holes in the Rusty Disgusting Van!


    • bmj2k November 30, 2010 at 10:52 am #

      I passed that van just this morning.


  2. skinner November 30, 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    I agree about Chia Pets, but I must admit, I love the idea of an afro wearing Lincoln.


  3. Allen Keyes November 30, 2010 at 11:06 pm #

    Maybe my memory is faulty, but back in the early 80’s wasn’t there a limited edition Chia Liberace where the chia grew out of his crotch???


    • bmj2k November 30, 2010 at 11:57 pm #

      I wish his brother George was here to respond to that.


  4. Zack Dietz April 11, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    Do you have a chia art design. If you do why don’t you go and join the chia art contest. Its a contest on making the newest chia pet.


    • bmj2k April 11, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

      I don’t post blatant plugs like that, but got a kick out of seeing the words “chia” and “art” together like that. So if your five year-old niece drew a puppy or a cow with her crayons why not send it in?


  5. Kimm Baune December 17, 2022 at 5:57 pm #

    What years were the cow chia pets manufactured and retired?


  6. Kimm baune December 17, 2022 at 6:02 pm #

    Add to my previous message is there’s way to identify my particular chia cow original in unopened box?


    • bmj2k December 17, 2022 at 10:14 pm #

      There may be but I am afraid I do not know.


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