In a world of high-cost technology, kids and adults are finding fun with packs of multiple rubber bands shaped like animals, letters and inanimate objects that look like squiggly lines when wrapped around a wrist.
Wearing rubber bands may seem like a fatuous fad; but after all, their brand names are various adjectives that describe them: Silly, Zany, Goofy and Crazy -and "bandz" is the proper spelling. Whether someone is young or just young at heart, people are brightening up their wrists with these colorful bandz that bounce back into shapes as soon as they're no longer stretched.
"Silly Bandz are not just a really fun hobby, they have become a necessary fashion accessory," said Sherry Hammer, owner of Hopscotch in downtown Elkins.
(CU and The Inter-Mountain/Carra Higgins)
SUPER SILLY — Hopscotch employee Crystal Curtis, left, rings out the Silly Bandz purchase of Garrett Isner, center, and Peyton Isner, right. The boys like the colorful rubber bands because many of their friends have them. They plan to trade shapes with others during the summer months.
Hammer explained that before summer break, children would stop at her shop nearly everyday after school to buy packs featuring the newest shapes. The various packs of bands cater to different personalities and interests by offering shapes that are categorized as princess, fantasy, alphabet, sea creatures, dinosaurs, pets, sports, the wild west and many more.
Now that school's out for summer, kids have all day to look through the hundreds of shapely rubber band packs at Hopscotch.
Earlier this week at Hopscotch, Alyssa Fletcher, who said she owns 114, had both wrists covered with the bandz as she searched Hopscotch's racks for a packet of shapes she didn't already own.
"They look really cool," Fletcher said. "I like how they can go into shapes."
Fletcher added that she also likes to wear the bandz in her hair and looked at the rubber necklaces, which could hold the bandz and allow them to keep their shape.
Devan Fletcher found his new favorite pack while he was looking on Thursday. He said that after he made his purchase of a 24-pack of Armed Forces shapes, he would have 136 of the bandz in his collection.
"All my friends have them," he said.
While adding to their collection, Garrett and Peyton Isner explained they also are fans of the bandz because so many of their friends have them and they like the different shapes. Garrett Isner's favorite pack is the Rainforest, while Peyton Isner prefers the Western shapes.
The Isner boys will spend their summer wearing the bandz and trading with friends and relatives.
The Silly Bandz company says the bandz are popular for ages 3 to 22; but throughout Elkins, adults can be spotted wearing the bandz, too.
"Everyone wants in on the fun," Hammer says.
West Virginia Wesleyan student Brooke Lanham began sporting Silly Bandz a few weeks ago when she found out what they were. Now she wears a blue dolphin band around her wrist.
"I like them because there are colorful and I'll admit they are pretty cool," Lanham said. "Just about all of my friends wear them. I think Silly Bandz are more popular with adults than children to be honest."
New shapes are "constantly" coming out and packs of 24 cost $4.95 each at Hopscotch. Hammer calls the price "affordable for everyone."
Teachers, doctors and others who work with children are buying them to wear or hand out as rewards, according to Hammer.
"Parents especially love this as a reward for good behavior," she added.