As 2010 gets closer I am seeing more magazines that have the best and worst of—fill in the blank. The best movie, the worst song, the best fashion and the worst fads were some of the headlines in the “end of the year can’t miss” issues of some of these magazines. I had to giggle at some of the worst fads. Why was it that so many worst fads had Paris Hilton’s name on it? Hmmmmm. Looking at some of the worst fads got me thinking….
I call it retronomics. You know the fads that have and have not made it in the past and the money that was generated from some of the silliest stuff. Some of these fads were downright ridiculous, yet people brought into it hook sink and line.
Take the Sea Monkeys which were first marketed in 1957 by Harold von Braunhut. They were nothing more than Brine shrimp that came to life within a few hours of being dumped into water. People loved these so much that they still sell these dehydrated brine shrimp and accessories even today.
A fad that I have to admit I participated once in was the platform shoes. Although they first arrived in the late 1960′s, these high-heeled shoes were more popular in the 1970′s during the disco period. These skyscraper shoes had people buying their pants a few inches longer. I felt this was one of the silliest and dangerous fads we had. Of course we had to have a silly fad because these platform shoes went with Disco music.
Disco music was a fad that could not go away fast enough for me. Disco was the most annoying type of music I could possibly imagine. This “music” was about style over substance. It lacked any sort of talent really and was basically music made for roller rinks & clubs.
The mood ring, which was a hollow glass bubble filled with thermotropic liquid crystal was marketed to alert you to what mood you might be in. We needed that just in case we did not know what kind of mood we were in. The mood ring reminded us if we were stressed, relaxed or happy. It let us know if we felt angry or even sexy. This ugly piece of jewelry was very popular in the 70’s. I guess it went well with the parachute pants and platforms.
The smiley face graphic was popularized in the early 1970s by a pair of brothers, Murray and Bernard Spain who used a smiley face to produce millions of millions of dollars. I am sure these two brothers had a very happy day when their paychecks came around. Speaking of a good paycheck, leave it to advertising executive, Gary Dahl to put a rock in a box and call it a pet rock. He made a lot of money in less than a year when the fad left as quickly as it came
Finally the popper knockers or clackers as some called them were really a fad gone bad and caused injury as well. There were basically 2 balls made of hard acrylic plastic attached to a string and you clacked them together. They not only made noise, they caused injury. I was always bruised by my clackers. My wrist was black and blue often from this obnoxious toy. In fact, Clackers were eventually discontinued after some children were injured while playing with them.
These were some of the bad fads of our time. I’m still not sure if they are as bad as some of the fads we have had for the past few years which include boys who wear their pants so we can see their crack (it puts a new meaning into the word crack!). Another fad that is cruel to animals is carrying little dogs seeds (miniature dogs) in little containers (dog purses) against the poor dogs will. And perhaps the worst fad this year, is Jon and Kate…please I will take dried up shrimp brine any day and call it sea monkeys.