This colorful toys with three branches that is twirling between his fingers invades the playground and also empties the pockets of adults. We had to enter five stores, from which we came out empty handed. And make a few phone calls in other shops, so as not to travel unnecessary miles. Especially since during this walk, the last copies of the neighborhood could fly away. We know the song: with each new fashion in the playground, rebelote. Except that this time, the new object in vogue does not interest that the schoolchildren. “Even the teacher has one, she showed us in class! “Rejoices Émile, six years old. Adults are affected. Everyone wants a hand spinner, also known as a “fidget spinner”.
This three-branch spinning top with ball bearings is a huge hit in schools and colleges. Toy stores and other paper mills display the status of their live stock on their doors: “We do not have Spinner anymore. Delivery expected Saturday morning. For us, the last test was the good one. But it was necessary to choose the finish (plastic, metallic, luminous) and the color (dozens of models are – in theory – available) quickly: behind us, in an instant, had formed a queue composed of children and adults. “It seems that it is an antistress,” says Fabienne, a mother almost in her forties who pushes a baby in a stroller. “At my job, many of my colleagues have one. And to put two in front of the box, a classic 5 euros, and a bright 7 euros for her.
Some department stores have sold a hundred in a few hours and are quickly out of stock: “It is impossible to meet all the demand”, note to AFP Frederic Clerbout, head of shopping games at Play Toys ” R ” Us. “For my supply next week, I even had to multiply the quantities by two or even three”, evoking an order of several tens of thousands of pieces, which is “very, very rare” .
The phenomenon has invaded United States family that the object began to meet with great success, but years after its creation. Originally, it was an American mother who dreamed up the spinner in the ’90s to play with her daughter, who had autism and a disease causing muscle weakness. Catherine Hettinger told the Guardian that she could not play much with her, and “so I started tinkering with newspapers and tape and other stuff. It was not even a prototype, it was a semblance of something, she started playing with it in different ways, and I adapted it. Other parents of autistic or hyperactive have gradually adopted: the spinning top with three branches allowed their children to calm down and channel their concentration, especially in the classroom.
The most satisfying object in the world
Gradually, all children take ownership, first in the United States, then in Europe, especially in Belgium and Switzerland. In France, he landed less than a month ago and has invaded the playgrounds exponentially. “It’s the Internet that has blown up the phenomenon,” says Frédéric Clerbout, comparing the phenomenon to the trend of plastic bracelets Loom, three years ago. Some praise the benefits of the “spinner”, arguing that the handling helps them to be distressed and that watching the spinning spinning would appease them. “By spinning the top, we are focused on it, for two minutes, it reminds Tibetan rituals of mandalas and it has a soothing effect. One can imagine that the fact that it turns and that the attention is thus fixed on this rotary movement. It is a replacement for the rotation of the pen,” says Angélique Cimelière, psychologist for children and adolescents in Paris.
All train to do tricks and throw themselves on the “tutorials” broadcast online on YouTube. The French Dr Nozman published in mid-March a four-minute video titled “the most satisfying object in the world”, which has already been seen more than 3 million times! On the program: rotate the object by wearing it from the center, make it pass from one hand to another without it stops twirling, put it on his head or on his nose, make it pass under his leg. Hypnotizing to watch, and even more in its light version, with the stroboscopic effect.
So good for concentration, really? Nothing is less sure. In the United States, 32% of the largest schools in the country have banned the famous top. The only certainty: Catherine Hettinger, who invented this spinning tops, passed by the chicken with the golden eggs. Unable to continue paying patent fees (a little less than 400 euros), she lost her patent in the early 2000s and will not have taken a single penny out of the global craze for her invention. But she is not bitter about it and even says “happy to have designed an object that pleases people and that really suits them”. A wisdom can be won by using his “fidget spinner”, but that gives the tournis.