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Pet Rocks were a 1970s fad conceived in Los Gatos, California by advertising executive Gary Dahl. It is said that some time in April 1975, Dahl was having a conversation with his friends about why he didn't like to go through the average inconveniences that come with owning most pets. He said that he had a great solution to it. His idea was to sell a pet that would not need to be fed, walked, bathed, groomed (etc...) and would not die, become sick, or be disobedient. He said these (pet rocks) were to be the perfect pets, and joked about it with his friends. However, he took the idea very seriously. The first Pet Rocks were ordinary gray stones bought at a builder's supply store and marketed as if they were live pets. This was one of the many similarities between pet rocks and live pets that were intended by Dahl. The fad lasted about six months, ending after a short increase in sales during the Christmas season of December 1975. During its short run, the Pet Rock made Dahl a millionaire. In 1975, Dahl established Rock Bottom Productions, a company that sold the rocks for US$3.95 each. The stones, imported from Rosarito Beach in Baja California, Mexico, were swaddled in packing material (usually hay or straw for the rock's "comfort") and nestled in a small cardboard box (with air holes to "breathe"), similar to a pet carrier. A thirty-two paged official training manual called The care and training of your Pet Rock was included, with instructions on how to properly raise and care for one's new found pet rock (notably lacking instructions for feeding). This was said to be the secret to Dahl's Pet Rock success. The instruction manual 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 owner). The owners/trainers also found that potty-training their pet rocks was fairly simple, given that they were, in fact, rocks. Today, pet rocks are rather difficult to find because new ones are no longer manufactured or sold. However, they can occasionally be found on eBay and people also make their own pet rocks. The economic key to Dahl's success with the pet rock was the booklet. He had a printing job for a client of a 32-page booklet, and "tacked" the pet rock booklet onto the main job, requiring only a cut and trim, and producing the initial batch of manuals at almost no cost. His biggest initial expense was the die-cutting and manufacture of the boxes. Following his success with the pet rock, Dahl invested in a bar in Los Gatos, Carrie Nation's.
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