It seems the ever faddy trend of faddy rubber band fashion accessories will not die. As Dick Feagler would say, back in the day kids didn't wear rubber bands. Back in the day kids just used rubber bands for things that needed rubber bands: bundling pens together, launching spitballs, building a homemade splint because there were no doctors in your town, etc.
Now, it's a whole 'nother ballgame. First there was the Livestrong bracelets, then a whole mess of cause-oriented rubber bands to wear. Today?
Time has the updates on the latest trend: Silly Bandz, which are essentially colorful, scrunchy rubberbands. And they have gotten out of control. Schools are now banning them, there are fights (seriously), and enough Silly Bandz are being sold that the BCP Imports, the company that makes them, has added 180 workers in under a year.
Witness the rubber madness:
The small business behind Silly Bandz — BCP Imports in Toledo, Ohio — has responded to the frenzy by upping its employees from 20 to 200 in the past year and in late May added 22 phone lines to keep up with inquiries. Each month it sells millions of the bands, which retail for about $5 per pack of 24. The company's president, Robert Croak, took my call after hanging up with Macy's, which is interested in creating a Silly Bandz float for its Thanksgiving Day parade.
Croak says he got inspired about three years ago at a product show in China, where a Japanese artist had devised a rubber band cute enough to escape the trash bin. Croak thinks part of the reason Silly Bandz began catching on last year in the U.S. — they became popular early on in Alabama, New Jersey and Tennessee and have now gained traction nationwide — is that they're so cost-conscious.