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Fidget Spinners Are Over (fivethirtyeight.com) 175

Walt Hickey, writing for Five Thirty Eight: The toy craze that has swept the nation -- cheaply manufactured fidget spinners of dubious metallic constitution -- is probably on the way out, with the high-water mark of fidget obsession appearing to be about a month behind us and the interest in the glorified ball bearings plateauing or declining. [...] Even if there's a long tail on this trend, it's very likely that peak fidget spinner is behind us. The kind of content now doing well on YouTube is either fidget-adjacent stunt videos or videos that have taken a particularly weird turn. This doesn't mean the ball-bearing business is doomed, just maybe don't go long on the spinner industrial complex or quit your job to live off a fidget-related Kickstarter idea at this point.
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Fidget Spinners Are Over

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  • Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MAXOMENOS ( 9802 ) <maxomai@ g m a i l.com> on Monday June 19, 2017 @04:22PM (#54650385) Homepage
    Fidget Spinners will see a massive, nostalgia-fueled comeback in the late 2030s.
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by Jhon ( 241832 )

      Along with POGs.

      • by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @05:01PM (#54650703) Journal

        They said I was crazy to dump my life savings into POGs in the late 90's, but that fad will come steamrolling back any day now and I'll be king of the playground again!

        BWAHAHAHAHAHA!
        =Smidge=

        • ... and I'll be king of the playground again!

          BWAHAHAHAHAHA! =Smidge=

          A cautionary tale:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ad5BTc41HH0

          "'Cause when you're in the jungle, watch it - it's a playground out there."

      • I saw my daughter with a little gizmo an hour ago, so I asked her what it was and she said "A fidget spinner". I had never heard of them before. Then I open Slashdot, and learn that it was a huge craze that swept the nation and now it is fading away. I totally missed it. God do I feel old.

  • by thermopile ( 571680 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @04:23PM (#54650391) Homepage
    So ... what's the next ridiculous craze that I should work to prevent my daughter from getting into? Thanks for letting me breathe a small sigh of relief from having dodged this bullet...
    • by Bodhammer ( 559311 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @04:28PM (#54650429)
      Sex, drugs, and Rock n' Roll are much better!
    • by RyoShin ( 610051 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [orakut]> on Monday June 19, 2017 @04:30PM (#54650455) Homepage Journal

      Just adopt every possible trend yourself. She will never get into them if she knows her parent(s) are into it.

    • by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @04:42PM (#54650557) Homepage Journal

      So ... what's the next ridiculous craze that I should work to prevent my daughter from getting into?.

      Java

    • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @04:44PM (#54650569) Homepage Journal

      Or you could just accept that your daughter will want to experience novelty in her life. And have faith that she'll outgrow obsessive behavior once it's run its course or that there are lots of options for professional help if she never outgrows it.

      • Or you could just accept that your daughter will want to experience novelty in her life. And have faith that she'll outgrow obsessive behavior once it's run its course or that there are lots of options for professional help if she never outgrows it.

        faith... outgrow obsessive behavior...quite an oxymoron.

    • I'm waiting for Clackers to come back . . .
    • You know if spinners are your greatest worry about your daughter I would have thought you'd consider yourself lucky.

    • So ... what's the next ridiculous craze that I should work to prevent my daughter from getting into? Thanks for letting me breathe a small sigh of relief from having dodged this bullet...

      Boys!

      You knew. Every father knows. Bring out your shotgun!

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      We will have to wait until August to see if it is over. Note that the spinner became really popular after spring break in the US. Students went out, had a week to play with theirs, and then bring it back to school. I think it became a big hit because 1) schools did not know what to make of it and 2) it was presented not as a toy but as a way to keep kids calm. To kids, it was simply a toy that they could use to waste time, most importantly a toy that schools did not seem inclined to take away.

      Now that

  • .. on the 3D printer I borrowed from Elon Musk.

  • Ah, crazy short term fads. I don't own a fidget spinner but I've seen them so I guess I missed the whole craze. I do have to admit some of the solid metal ones that were hand machined were impressive but at the end of the day it isn't much different then having a rock to play with or coin or something else to fidget with at your desk. Someone needs to try to sell a fidget rock with no bearings (it's just a rock) for laughs.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      I think the problem is that "peak fidget spinner" coincided with the shortage - now that everyone is able to bring in a 1000 a day, everyone can go out and buy one immediately without looking very hard (and fueling the craze).

      A store I regularly visit used to get about 1000 inquiries a day about them, but now he brings them in, they move, but slower. Mostly because everyone else has them, too.

      • Every 7-11 around here has boxes of them. Some up to $20.

        Thankfully, I waste my money on more permanent collections: Magic the Gathering cards

        • I bought a first edition Charizard card at near the price peak. It wasn't even mint. A week or two later, I got a mint one in an expansion pack.

    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      it isn't much different then having a rock to play with or coin or something else to fidget with at your desk

      Hmm. Yeah, if you're on the autism spectrum then something to fidget with is pretty much going to happen whether it's planned or not. At least a fidget spinner is a recognised device rather than "why are you so weird?"

      So it is different. It's more interactive than a rock, it's harder to drop than a coin, it's more socially acceptable than clicking a pen and it's a fuck of a lot cheaper than taking off your watch and spinning it around until you accidentally lose control and see it flying off to land on a co

  • How can this be over? I just found out last week...
  • Fidget spinners are the "pet rocks" of the 2000 era. Never understood these fads, never wasted my money on this garbage. But at least the ball bearing manufacturers made a few bucks.
    • It's a good way to support ball bearing industry, since kids don't go outside rollerskating and skateboarding anymore.

    • Fidget spinners are the "pet rocks" of the 2000 era.

      Pet rocks don't do anything, unless you put them in a sock and hit someone with them (My pet rock named Schleprock who slept in a tube sock?) but spinners are kinetic toys. They don't do anything by themselves either, but they're a hell of a lot more interesting than a pet rock. I'd say they're almost all the way up to gyroscope. :)

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      My folks got a pet rock as a gag gift back in the '70s. Forget which one of their friends did it.

      It came with a handy little cage to keep it from roaming around at night.

      • My folks got a pet rock as a gag gift back in the '70s. Forget which one of their friends did it.

        It came with a handy little cage to keep it from roaming around at night.

        Someone gave you a dead Horta? That's horrible.

        Give them a dead Ogri. That'll teach 'em.

    • You can still buy Pet Rocks.

      The Pet Rock was a pointlessly pointless idea, which was the point of the fad.

      Fidget spinners let you feel precession forces with your fingertips, which most people, being uneducated in physics, find endlessly fascinating.

      Gotta admit, despite my PhD+ in physics, I find great joy in rolling Buckyballs across the floor (try it), and in watching airplanes taking off. It never gets old.

  • When their parents start participating. When uncool morning TV show hosts start talking about the latest trend kids are into these days, you can consider that the beginning of the end.

  • Queeg was the original ball bearing fidgeter and it's mutiny if you think otherwise.

    • It's all ball bearings, nowadays.

    • Are you the one who stole the strawberries??

    • Queeg was the original ball bearing fidgeter and it's mutiny if you think otherwise.

      Nope. A wheel from my Rollerblades, with ball-bearing inserted, and played with in the exact same way, is much closer to the original fidget spinner.

      That was 1990.

  • I figured they were on their way out when I saw them on display at the car wash cash register.

    • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

      I had some old woman in New York City try to sell me one on the street about a month ago. Didn't know what it was at the time, but figured it out soon after. I figured I didn't want her merchandise of suspicious provenance, in any case.

  • I didn't even around to buying one. Well I guess I'll just have to keep annoying my co-workers with click-pens then...
    • I didn't even around to buying one. Well I guess I'll just have to keep annoying my co-workers with click-pens then...

      You like click-pens? There is a cube-shaped 6x clicky toy out there... I probably shouldn't have told you that.

      I've had an office-mate with the "click-pen" habit before, so am a bit sensitive. If you are one day seated near me in an open-office environment, and have one of those 6x clicky-cubes, I swear that I will stab you as many times as I can with a gallium knife (probably 5x until it melts but I will go for 6x).

  • I don't get it.

    • by MacTO ( 1161105 )

      The kids that have them don't get it either, but they were sure proud of them when they got them. Actually, I know of one kid who probably does get it. He is now trying to set his own trend.

  • What the fuck is a fidget spinner?

  • There are LED fidget spinners that display text like spinning bike wheels, Bluetooth enabled spinners, animated spinners,etc.

    7-11 started selling the, and they are already basically giving them away at price.

  • Or enough people have them that current sales figures can no longer be sustained. Fidget spinners are a stim toy, and stim toys serve a fairly practical purpose (although they may be supplanted by something else, such as fidget cubes). But you don't continually need more, and presumably, the vast majority of fidget spinners are not yet broken. So, logically, once a large enough portion of the population buys them, sales will level out.

    Every time a new class of product arrives or is popularized, you see

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      They're just the modern day equivalent of worry stones.

    • If you need a fidget spinner, you're doing it wrong. A fidget spinner is likely to be taken away from you by your teacher, because it distracts from learning. Instead, learn to fidget with a pen or pencil. No teacher would dare take one of those from you, and it doesn't cost $12 and chew through batteries.
      • I don't have a teacher, so I don't have to worry about that, although I find a fidget cube more convenient. IMO, pens and pencils aren't particularly good fidgets, as they lack the mass to have really good balance, although pen clicking can be satisfying, but tends to be annoying to others. Drumsticks, on the other hand, work great for the same kinds of motions. I did once see a bullet pen, with bolt action to extend the tip, and it's a great fidget toy, but they are in the same price range as other fidge
    • Or enough people have them that current sales figures can no longer be sustained. Fidget spinners are a stim toy, and stim toys serve a fairly practical purpose (although they may be supplanted by something else, such as fidget cubes). But you don't continually need more, and presumably, the vast majority of fidget spinners are not yet broken. So, logically, once a large enough portion of the population buys them, sales will level out.

      Every time a new class of product arrives or is popularized, you see the same articles written by people who have apparently never seen adoption trends before.

      They will not wear out. Rollerblades use the same type of bearing, and those suckers last a really long time, depending on how aggro you get with your stunts. If you just go to-and-fro, they will never wear out, despite bearing your body's weight. Thus, those in fidget-spinners have an effectively infinite lifetime.

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        Except that they do get grit in them.

        On a rollerblade the momentum is massive (because you're quite heavy) but in a fidget spinner there's barely any momentum because although it's very high rotational velocity there's very little mass.

        So that grit does stop them from spinning as freely and that's a massive issue that does lead people to replace the bearings (as it's cheaper/easier than trying to clean them).

  • I have a nice heavy solid copper one. It will be a nice memory, at least.
  • by Trogre ( 513942 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @08:04PM (#54651481) Homepage

    Going by social media trends: Probably.
    Going by actual usage in classrooms: Not even close.

    • Going by social media trends: Probably.
      Going by actual usage in classrooms: Not even close.

      Yay! A physics-based response!

      Freshman Physics. Bicycle Wheel. Extended Axle. Professor spins it up, and then hangs it from a string by one axle-end. Oohs and Aahs. Bonus if a strobe light was involved.

      Precession.

  • Or everyone who wanted one has one, or two, or whatever. It's not like they wear out easily or get lost easily. Unlike memory sticks, which I don't bother buying anymore because I just end up losing them.
  • Don't you get them on prescription?
    Fidget spinners are serious business!

  • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

    When were they actually a thing? I've yet to see one (other than online), and I don't exactly live a sheltered life...I left momma's basement 40 years ago.

    • Same here. The only place I've seen them is online, where people are promoting them as a fad. Is it really a fad if I live in a moderate sized city and I've yet to see one in person, or has the media decided it's a fad, because that gives them something to write about. (Because our current politics need some foil.)

  • I cannot wait for flipping water bottles to be over. Sure a bottles lands standing up and the kids raise their hands and voices in excitement as if they just crossed the finish line of the Iron Man. No, it's the constant sound of water bottles hitting the floor.
  • A major toy manufacturer might market then and make a horrible cartoon based on them.
    Fidget Battle Xtreme! "Sanada, a Japanese zombie samurai, who is in possession of a fidget spinner that he stole from Sun Tzu, plans to take over the world with it's spinning power
    The only ones that stand in his way are the students of Fidget Spinner Academy. Only they can begin to master the ancient magical fidget spinners of destiny."
    There's a lot of exploitation left here.

It was pity stayed his hand. "Pity I don't have any more bullets," thought Frito. -- _Bored_of_the_Rings_, a Harvard Lampoon parody of Tolkein

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