Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 18th 2017 Contents B10 life
guardian.co.tt Thursday, May 18, 2017
Stores can't keep them in
stock. Parents are scrambling
to find them. And some schools
have banned them.
The mania for fidget spinners---
the three-inch twirling gadgets
taking over classrooms and cu-
bicles---is unlike many other toy
They're not made by a major
company, timed for the holiday
season, or promoted in TV com-
mercials. They're more easily
found at gas stations or 7-Eleven
than at big toy chains.
"It just took off," says Richard
Gottlieb, a consultant at Global
Toy Experts in New York.
Fidget spinners have been
around for years, mostly used by
kids with autism or attention dis-
orders to help them concentrate.
But they exploded in popularity
Shannan Rowell, a sixth-grade
special education teacher, says
that after a week-long break in
late April more than half of her 25
students suddenly had one.
"They seem to be taking over
classrooms," says Rowell, who lives
in North Grafton, Massachusetts.
Gottlieb thinks it's likely a kid
brought one to a playground and
the craze spread from there.
Recent YouTube videos of peo-
ple spinning them on their noses,
foreheads and shoes also helped.
Helen Holden heard about fidget
spinners last month when her sev-
en-year-old twins demanded she
stop at a 7-Eleven to buy them.
"I thought it was a drink," says
the bank vice president and blogger
from Los Angeles.
That store was sold out, and so
were several other 7-Eleven loca-
tions that she called. The chain
says spinners have "been flying
off the shelves" since they went
on sale in March. Holden's kids said
they needed them before school on
Monday so they could practice
spinning them. So she signed up
for Amazon Prime, paid US$5.99
for one-day shipping and had two
US$15 fidget spinners delivered on
"I totally got suckered by my
kids," she says.
At Funky Monkey Toys, owner
Tom Jones says he got a phone call
about the fidget spinners in April.
About 30 minutes later, another
"I said, 'Whatever they are, I
need to get them.'"
Now, the phone has been ringing
20 to 30 times a day with people
checking if they're in stock. His
shop in Oxford, Michigan, can sell
"We run out of them frequent-
ly," says Jones, who recently got a
shipment of 2,000.
On Amazon.com, 18 of the top
20 best-selling toys and games
were fidget spinners, ranging from
ones that cost just a few dollars
to US$12 versions touting stainless
Five Below, which sells items for
US$5 or less, says on its website
that customers can only buy two
fidget spinners at time.
Toys R Us flew fidget spinners
in this month from China, rather
than wait for ship transport.
It says Rubik's Cubes, yo-yos
and other toys to occupy restless
hands have been hot sellers since
the beginning of the year.
It also started selling US$12.99
fidget cubes---the items that
made up the rest of the Amazon
best-sellers---which fit in the palm
of a hand and have clickers, wheels
and switches on the sides.
Unlike hot toys at the holiday
season, which are often made by
one company, manufacturers---
mostly in China --- are making
the fidget spinners as fast as they
can. Jim Silver, the CEO and edi-
tor-in-chief of toy review website
TTPM, expects the fad to last into
the summer and then fade as more
of them flood into the market.
"Demand starts to waver," he
Engineer Catherine Hettinger
says she came up with a toy that
was similar but not exactly the
same in the early 1990s, but a
patent expired more than a dec-
ade ago after she stopped paying
the maintenance fees.
Hettinger, who lives in the
Orlando suburb of Winter Park,
Florida, says she is not making
any money from the craze.
Continues on Page B13
Penelope Daversa, plays with a fidget spinner at the Funky Monkey Toys store, in Oxford, Michigan. Stores can't
keep them in stock and parents are going crazy trying to find them. AP PHOTO
Fidget spinners, the hit toy
that spun out of nowhere
items for US$5
or less, says on
its website that
only buy two
at time. Toys R
Us flew fidget
spinners in this
than wait for
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