Silly Bandz rubber band craze binds Bel Air

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Silly bandemonium has broken out all over Bel Air. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just check out the wrists of just about any kid around town. I’ll bet you $10 you’ll see multicolored rubber bands wrapped around their wrists. Ten dollars will buy you 50 little rubber bands that spring back into fun shapes when you take them off. Kids are trading them like they once did Pokemon cards. They come shaped like lizards, dinosaurs, baseballs, princesses, rock band drum sets, palm trees. That is, if you can find them. We got our first pack quite by accident at Tiddlywinks on Main Street before the craze went viral. Now finding them is like hunting for a wildebeast. Kids share information on Silly Bandz sightings at school. My kids run off the bus telling me we have to go to 7-11 or ShopRite or that someone saw them at Five Below. I’ve been playing along, telling them I’ll go on a rubber band hunt after after they finish their homework and chores. I just didn’t realize how hard they’d be to find. The guy at 7-11 knew exactly what we were looking for even before we asked. “I’ve had kids in here all day looking for them,” he told us. They were out but had ordered more. We got the same story at Shoprite and Five Below. Of course, by then I knew better and was calling ahead. When we finally found them on Tuesday at Tiddlywinks, I went a little bonkers and let them load up with four packs that equaled 96 Silly Bandz. We have so many I’m picking them up off the floor and popping them on my wrists. Tiddlywinks sold out in four days and has another order coming next week. The parents at my bus stop are kicking themselves that they didn’t come up with this idea. In fact, it was a Chinese manufacturer of silicone office products that invented them. Along with Silly Bandz, there are Zanybandz and Crazy Bands. They have their own Facebook page and YouTube videos. According to a New York Times article, the trend started in Birmingham, Ala., late last year and, like the swine flu, has spread up the east coast. A New Jersey school has banned them from its after school program because kids were fighting over them. I figure it’s only a matter of time before teachers around here get tired of the bands causing a distraction in their classrooms. But the good news is, unlike Mighty Beanz and Pokemon, when this trend flames out at least we’ll be left with something useful.