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Fads seemingly come and go without so much as a single notice. In the eighties, leg warmers ruled the hallways of schools and bars of ballet classes. They were meant for dancers but every woman had to have a pair of ankle and calf covering, synthetic fiber or cotton laden leg warmers. The same decade also introduced moonwalking, Rubik’s cubes, and cocaine – the most addictive fad of them all. 
The nineties brought about Furby, the creepy Gremlin-like dolls that haunted the nightmares of children even all the way from the back of the closet behind a bunch of clothes you got at Christmas last year that you told your aunt you’d definitely wear. Dances like the Macarena, heroes like Power Rangers and music like ska, grunge and britpop. The 2000’s were no different with the introduction of Heelys, the shoes that some adult men would totally wear if they were appropriate for adult men to wear. Along with that came Beyblades, sleeved blankets and metrosexuality (only to be outdone in the next decade with ~70 different versions of genders and a million ways to offend each one).
2017 has been a weird year in terms of fads. Personal virtual assistants, triplet flow rapping, and non-cable based, cable-focused streaming services seem to be the hot new ticket items. But one fad has captured most of this great nation’s attention: fidget gadgets. Less gadgets and more toys, really. Tiny little things that fit in your pocket or briefcase so you can later put your grubby mitts all over them. 
Recently, they’ve caused a ruckus even though they’re supposed to be discrete. Schools are banning them – a controversy that needn’t be addressed in the first place. Prices are going up on what used to be cheaper than dinner at [Insert Fast Food Place Here]. They might or might not actually help with attention deficit disorder (chances are they probably don’t but who knows). Yet these things are selling like hotcakes.
What is a fidget spinner?
Simply put, they’re toys with weighted bearings that, once flicked, can spin for up to five minutes. Times vary based on the type of building material and if they’re manipulated in any manner. They can be made from plastic, metal or wood. Some can be made from gold with diamond encrusted middle pieces, costing as much as $1,000. The best part for those that make them? They cost almost nothing yet the mark up is insane.​​​​​​​
When did they become popular?
Prior to Christmas of 2016, you’d be hard pressed to find any online identity of what a fidget spinner was let alone a fidget gadget. They were popularized in late 2016 after a Kickstarter for the original Fidget Cube raised way too much money. Creators of the project asked for $15,000. In return, they received $6,465,690 from 154,926 backers. While Fidget Cubes retail for $25 (!) for the tiny bugger, copy cats have already reared their samey heads. One search on Amazon yields dozens of results, all ranging in price and quality. At the time of writing this piece, a cube copy can be bought for less than $3 with free shipping.
Within the same time, spinners gained their own version of popularity. There are several versions of spinners with “dual-bar,” “tri-bar,” and “quad-bar.” Each one comes with the appropriate amount of bearings for the protruding sides. Or, if you’re a rich jerk who owns a 3D printer and are averse to spending frivolous amounts of money on these things, you can make your own!
Who is it for?
Writing down the words “gullible drones” here would be a cop out but just as right as any other answer. The real reason for these toys is to help kids and adults who suffer from ADD. Given how quickly people can be prescribed Ritalin or Adderall, there’s a chance this is all complete BS.
Arguments for other ailments have been made. Smokers, nail biters, those who need to cope with anxiety or stress. They’re all excuses to buy fidget toys. As writes: “Playing with these toys gives you a gateway to let out of all the pent up stress and anxiety in your body, in a quiet and healthy manner. Fidget spinners are a great way of kicking the daydreaming bug too, and ensuring that you stay productive.”
Science proves naysayers wrong as actual health journals state that use of sensory toys such as spinners and cubes may in fact lead to benefits. Via Live Science, a 2015 study from the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology had researchers examine children between ages eight and twelve who suffer from ADD. Said kids were given told to move their bodies (defined as “gross motor activity”) as they did tasks involving memory while others were told to sit still. Those that got up and moved around outperformed the ones that didn’t move. 
Why is this a thing?
For those with real attention problems or issues that stem deeper into annoying habit territory, these could be viable alternatives. Although not as discrete as people would like, it’s entirely possible for one to try out a fidget gadget. The barrier of entry is so low that you probably wouldn’t miss that $5 if little Jimmy and Jan stopped using spinners or cubes within a month. For adults, stick to clicking pens or compulsively organizing your desk for the umpteenth time. 
Do you need a spinner?
No. Stop looking for one. You are an adult. 
But, seriously.
Yes. Seriously. Do not buy a fidget spinner.
Okay. But what if –
Stop trying to justify a fidget spinner.

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