Pet Rocks were a 1970s collectible conceived in Los Gatos, California by advertising executive Gary Dahl. Contents [hide]
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In April 1975, Dahl was in a bar (which is now Beauregard Vineyards Tasting room in Bonny Doon) listening to his friends complain about their pets. This gave him the idea for the perfect "pet": a rock. A rock would not need to be fed, walked, bathed, groomed and would not die, become sick, or be disobedient. He said they were to be the perfect pets, and joked about it with his friends. However, he eventually took the idea seriously, and drafted an "instruction manual" for a pet rock. It was full of puns, gags and plays on words that referred to the rock as an actual pet. The original had no eyes. Marketing
The first Pet Rocks were ordinary gray stones bought at a builder's supply store. They were marketed like live pets, in custom cardboard boxes, com;plete with straw and breathing holes for the "animal." The fad lasted about six months, ending after a short increase in sales during the Christmas season of December 1975. Although by February 1976 they were discounted due to lower sales, Dahl sold 1.5 million Pet Rocks and became a millionaire. A thirty-two page official training manual titled The Care and Training of Your Pet Rock was included, with instructions on how to properly raise and care for one's new Pet Rock (notably lacking instructions for feeding, bathing, etc.). The instruction manual was the real product: it was full of gags, puns and jokes. It contained several commands that could be taught to the new pet. While "sit" and "stay" were effortless to accomplish, "roll over" usually required a little extra help from the trainer/owner. "come," "stand" and "shake hands" were found to be near-impossible to teach, but "attack" was fairly simple (also with some additional help from the...