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Silly Bandz aren’t silly. I’m just jealous

Submitted by on Thursday, 30 September 2010 No Comment

Big Guy is a neophyte in the Silly Bandz game – he has a mere five.

Er, make that four. His most precious one, a soccer ball, was dead on the dining room floor this morning, ripped in half. Boots had borrowed it while he was off sick and Big Guy was at school. I don’t think Boots did it on purpose, but, knowing how his brother loves the Silly Bandz, he wasn’t about to confess his crime even if it hadn’t bee premeditated.

And why were Big Guy’s coveted fashion accesories/toys/bargaining chip at home? Because they’ve been banned at school. I can’t say that I blame them.

For the uninitiated, Silly Bandz are colorful silicone strips bent into various shapes – pets, dinosaurs, princesses, sea creatures and more. They started out as an office supply but morphed into a hot trend when an Ohio company decided to market them as a children’s fashion accessory. They’re latter-day Pet Rocks, except that trend lasted only about six months. Silly Bandz are in their second year.

And just as I’ve randomly wished over the years that I had the creativity to rebrand something common and turn it into a must-have item – it was a ROCK, for Pete’s sake – Silly Bandz are frustrating me today. Twist a common office product, add a splash of color, sell it for $4 or so for two dozen and make money hand over fist. Brilliant. Freaking brilliant.

I suspect Silly Bandz 15 minutes could be at 14.3 and counting, but that doesn’t matter. Massive money has been made. Dang it, it could have been mine.

We’re not the only school that’s banned them. It’s happened in Ohio, Connecticut and Virginia, though one Virginia school merely prohibits kids from playing with them, not from wearing them. Best of luck on that one.

For Big Guy, at least, the fashion-accessory angle is only a small part of the appeal. “They’re stylish,” he concedes. “I don’t know why, but the kids say they’re stylish.”

The bigger chunk is the collectibility – one soccer teammate has 80, a number that causes Big Guy’s eyes to bulge and his competitive little heart to hammer. “Oooh! I want to have 80!” I mentally roll me eyes, because his 80 would cost roughly $12 – it’s a RUBBER BAND, for Pete’s sake.

And while $12 is no where near the cost of a video game, it’s still a chunk of change for something that’s going to break in a few weeks, requiring additional purchases because we have to keep up with the Silly  Bandz Jones.

Big Guy’s hopelessly behind the Joneses at this point. The five … er, make that four … he has are strictly because he was able to convince a classmate to give them to him. Our Post Exchange has been out of them for two weeks, though I doubt it’s solely because the bands are so popular. The PX is just flat bad at inventorying. It once took me three weeks to buy a broom, and I’ve never known those to be especially trendy items.

Maybe if I’m lucky the trend will be over before they show up again here. Already the drum beat is sounding that they’re dangerous. Come to think of it, though, that could only make them more popular with kids. Especially Big Guy.

Dang. Why didn’t I think of this?

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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