Whatever happened to …

… pet rocks?

Just to set the record straight, I never had one.

I do remember going into shopping malls and there were all kinds of them for sale in the 1970s though. Why this topic? We were out with friends the other night and the topic of discussion turned to dumb things. Naturally, this came up.

Pet Rocks were really a good example of merchandising though. There wasn’t just one kind; check out Google’s collection.

I recall studying it in a business class at university. The concept was created by Gary Dahl and it made him a millionaire. Our inspiration from the professor was to go forth and create the next “pet rock” as a project. Of course, it had to come with a business plan that includes financial predictions and a plan for marketing it to the masses.

Sadly, I don’t recall anything truly innovative coming from that. If I remember correctly, most of the ideas were really permutations on the pet rock concept. I remember our group created the concept of a self-renewing newspaper. The idea was that you didn’t have to subscribe or go to the corner store. You’d just pick up your newspaper and somehow the latest stories were there. It probably was a money maker but then that internet thing came along…

So, for a Sunday, your thoughts.

  • Between you, me, and the lamppost, did you ever own a pet rock?
  • Did you ever secretly want to?
  • Do you think the people that actually purchased one realized what the idea they were supporting and that Mr. Dahl was getting rich? 🤑
  • Have you ever had the next big money making idea but it never got off the ground? Care to share in case there’s an investor who is reading this post?
  • Where do pet rocks go when they’ve had their time?
  • An offspring of the concept has been tried here in Amherstburg. https://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/painted-rocks-turning-up-all-over-amherstburg

How about taking a moment and sharing your thoughts on this life changing concept in the comments below?






8 responses to “Whatever happened to …”

  1. adunsiger Avatar

    Doug, I think that pet rocks should come to our kindergarten class. Earlier this year, we had a group of girls make their own “rock babies.” They drew faces on them and even wrapped them in fabric for clothes. We tried to move the rocks out of dramatic play, but they still came back to be babies again. With a forest on your school property, I guess that you can make your own “pet rocks” — no purchasing required. 🙂 I had to share that little story of mine!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jenny Ashby Avatar
    Jenny Ashby

    We had to bring a rock to Unplugd 2012 and read the book, “Everybody needs a rock” by Byrd Baylor. So many things you can do with a rock.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. dougpete Avatar

    Using free materials to do good things in the classroom. Love it. I have to ask though, why only the girls?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. adunsiger Avatar

    I’m not sure why the girls were only drawn to making these rock babies. When we added some rocks in with some paint into a creative area, both the boys and girls got into painting them. A different interest perhaps. Now the rocks have become part of the many Rube Goldberg Machines and marble runs created: https://www.instagram.com/avivaloca/p/BxJKR2NBtZN/. There are all kinds of uses for this free resource. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amanda Potts Avatar

    My kids and some of their friends recently got into a hide a rock game. It’s sort of quietly popular in all sorts of places. I bet @adunsiger’s students would love it: https://www.parentmap.com/article/painted-rocks-treasure-hunt-kid-craze

    Liked by 2 people

  6. SStewart Avatar

    I didn’t want or get one. Once a cynic… 🙂
    I do like rocks though.
    Fads are interesting to analyze though!
    Hmm.. what could catch on in the next decade…?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lisa Cranston Avatar

    When my eldest was in kindergarten she was fascinated with dinosaurs (like lots of four year olds). She wanted to be a palaeontologist. Then, when she was a few years older, she decided that when she was older she wanted to open a store called DinoStore and sell all dinosaur related merchandise. We were so surprised when we went to Universal Studios and they had a DinoStore by the Jurassic Park ride!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. OTR Links 05/20/2019 – doug — off the record Avatar

    […] Whatever happened to … – doug — off the record […]


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