If you haven’t heard of the fidget spinner, it’s time. Akin to Cabbage Patch kids in the ’80s, Tickle Me Elmo in the ’90s, Tamagotchis in the 2000s and most recently the Rainbow Loom, spinners are the newest IT craze. My son asked to get one in early March as a couple kids at school had them. He’s a fidgety kid anyway, so I thought it would help him. I had no idea that we were riding a wave that was growing stronger by the day … and has yet to crest. Spinners are THE toy in toy stores. Apparently Toys R Us is chartering planes to try and get them to their stores, as the fad seemingly came out of nowhere. One local toy store, Brilliant Sky Toys, realized the spinner craze before most did, so if you are looking for a fidget spinner, head to Brilliant Sky, as they are stocked. “Before Easter was when we started next day airing them to stay stocked,” says Robert Heywood, owner of the Green Hills’ toy store. “That was when it really started to take off.”
I stopped by Brilliant Sky and during the 20 minutes I was there, a man came in and purchased six spinners, with cash. At $19.99 each, that was not pocket change, but he happily did it saying these were the best spinners. Apparently cheaper versions exists online, but the ball bearings will mess up fairly quickly, and their weight is not ideal for the long spins. Like everything in life, you get what you pay for, even in the world of fidget spinners. And, as an aside, I’m not sure I’ve said “ball bearings” without referencing the movie Fletch ever before. Such is the new world into which fidget spinners are bringing me …
According to a recent story on NPR, the fidget spinner was first created a few years ago by Scott McCoskery, an IT guy from Seattle who was fidgety in long meetings — clicking pens, playing with his pocket knife — so he created the spinner. He posted a photo online and people started inquiring about them, wanting one. He started selling them for $300-$500 each, naming it the Torqbar. When he started selling them online, the copycats followed. McCoskery’s provisional patent, which he filed last year, may give him some rights when it comes to these others, but it’s too early to know.
Back to my son. He was one of the first kids to have one, but across the seventh grade at his school, he says most now have one and are starting to collect several. He likes to tinker, and he has a 3D printer, so he has started making spinners with his school logo on them. He took the ball bearings off his skateboard to make them — which I found out after-the-fact. The point being that these spinners are consuming our lives each night as new ones are created, but at least it’s not a video game.
When I asked Robert about the demographics of who is buying them at his store, he said, “Kids, both boys and girls, are mostly driving the sales, but we have sold many to parents as well. And we’ve found that customers are looking at them as collectibles — they want to own different types, styles and patterns. Our job is to provide as many options as we can find.” And, fidget toys themselves are nothing new. Think of fidget clay from back in the day. “Fidgets have been popular with our customers for quite a while now,” Robert says. “We’re always keeping an eye out for the ‘next’ design. The fidget cube was first and is still very popular, but right behind it our customers started asking about the ‘spinner,’ and we knew we had to get them in stock.”
As further proof, my friend walked into Brilliant Sky while I was there. Why? Her 65-year-old dad had seen something about spinners on TV and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. There you have it. The fidget spinner, intriguing everyone from ages 3 to 65+.
One more thing, if your kids are going to school with these, you may want to ask their homeroom teacher what is permissible and what is not as teachers seem to have wide ranges of tolerance for the spinners. None would go on the record with me, so I’ll just leave it at that, but “TODAY” recently had a segment about why some schools are banning them … Let’s just say I’m sure many Nashville educators (and beyond) are glad that summer vacation is less than a month away.
In the meantime, try a spinner. They are pretty addicting and strangely soothing. Happy spinning!
Speaking of fun without screens, check out why we are intrigued with Collective Retreats and are ready to book our vacation HERE.