Interested in owning a sparkling red seahorse, neon Justin Bieber, or a lime green cowboy boot? Because now you can.
They are pointless yet brilliant. Slender and simple, but vivaciously vibrant. Cheap, but raising millions.
They are Silly Bandz: the multi-colored fashioned bracelets creeping up the wrists of the masses.
The Silly Bandz craze is comparable to other childhood fads such Beanie Babies, Pokémon cards or Pogs.
Yet this simple-minded creation is not only found on the wrists of the young.
“Silly Bandz are fun a way to express the kinds of thing you like,” said Castleton junior Jackie Lockwood. “You are never too old to wear them,” she said.
The New York Times reported recently that some trendy adults are falling for the hype and adding them to their outfits, including actresses Mary-Kate Olsen and Sarah Jessica Parker. In addition, the Silly Bandz Web site flaunts major athletes Jewel Hampton of the Iowa football team and Jurgen Melzer at the Rogers Cup sporting their silly bands.
The company behind the madness, BCP Imports LLC, a small business in Toledo, Ohio, has increased its workforce from 20 employees to 200 in the past year and just this week added 22 phone lines to keep up with inquiries. The company sells millions of packs a month, at about $4.95 for a pack of 24.
But why all the hype?
“I don’t know why they are so popular,” said Castleton Junior Shannon Ellis. “It’s just one of those things that kids love like Pokémon cards when we were little … They were here all of the sudden and they’ll probably die down real quick too,” she said
Most college students reported that they had not actually spent their own money on the Bandz that they sported though, but had received them as a sign of endearment from younger relatives, siblings, or campers they had counseled over the summer months.
“My favorite Silly Band is the Red Sox one because I love the Red Sox. I got it from the little girls I babysat this summer,” said Ellis.
Other students noted that they had them because they kept them occupied in class, enjoyed the color, or just because they represent something they enjoy.
“I think that they are the stupidest things ever,” said Junior Chris Mulholland. “But I wear this one because penguins are so cool.”
But some students did admittedly spend money on the trivial item.
“I bought some of them,” said Castleton Senior Kelsey White. “The glow in the dark ones are so cool, especially the glow in the dark star.”
Although neither the Castleton Elementary nor the Village School has placed on a ban on the Bandz, schools in several states including New York, Texas, Florida and Massachusetts, have blacklisted them claiming they are too large a distraction among students.
So far Castleton State College hasn’t followed suit, but who knows.
“Well I can’t sit still, so when I am in class I just play with them and they keep me occupied,” said Castleton sophomore Courtney Donovan.