Warning: The title is a little misleading. I called this article "The Five Worst Fads of All Time" in the sense that I am going through the five worst fads ever in history. It's going to be more like the five worst fads of my life time, because I don't think that fads that mattered in 279 BC really apply to anyone reading this, considering that most of the people that lived through 279 BC are all dead by now. After all, I think it goes without saying that the fads back then (iron smelting, slave owning, etc) were pretty lame ideas to begin with.
Smelting iron was pretty popular back in the day
Anyways, I was born in 1986 AD , and really was not able to grasp the concept of material demand until I was about nine. Besides, most of the toys that were given to me were hand-me-downs from my older cousin so that my dad could afford nice toys for my sister, therefor I really did not partake in many fads since I really did not have a choice of what I was getting for Christmas anyways. So as opposed to buying into every fad growing up, I stood back and observed the ridiculousness that my peers took part in.
Although they were retarded, I had my fair share of pogs
This is actually the only fad that I really took part in. I know that I sound like a hypocrite saying this, but give me a break, I was eight years old. When I was eight, I thought that Larissa Oleynik was the hottest babe on the planet and that the Bible had some truth to it. In other words, I didn't know anything. All I knew was that cardboard circles with pictures on them were pretty cool for some reason. And it was fun taking them from other kids on the playground.
Alex Mack was a pretty fine babe when I was eight
I know what you're thinking: If kids have bad judgement, wouldn't all toys technically be considered stupid?
Look at toys like action figures, dolls, easy bake ovens*, Legos, Etch It Sketch, the list goes on. All those toys mentioned are still popular to this day, and are really brilliant ideas if you ask me. Sure, I would never bother with such things as an adult, but they kept children entertained for years and will never go away.
*Speaking of Easy Bake Ovens, hasn't that toy genre gotten a little out of control? When I was a kid, I had two of the Dr. Dreadful dessert makers and two of the McDonald's food makers. I'll never forget how disappointed I was when I found out that the french fry maker was nothing more than a piece of plastic that would grind up a slice of bread into sticks. It was bullshit, and the food tasted like crap. And there are so many other knockoffs, piggybacks, and variations of those same toys today. And people wonder why America has such an obesity epidemic.
4) Tech Decks
If you played with Tech Decks, you had to be either poor or delusional
Tech Decks were the micro skateboards that kids love to play with at the lunch table. Basically, if you had Tech Decks, you were announcing to the world two things:
1) I am too lazy/too much of a sissy to go to the skate park
2) My parents are too poor to afford Playstation 2 withTony Hawk: Pro Skater 3
I never understood it. After all, regular skateboarding is lame in itself, so what fun is there in mini, action skateboards? Tech Decks were so stupid that even if you liked skateboards, they were too small to use with your action figures. I had a friend who had Tech Decks that always tried to impress me by doing a bunch of tricks on a mini skatepark. This pissed me off because the only reason why I bothered with him was because he had a swimming pool, and one day he suddenly preferred to play with Tech Decks as opposed to going swimming. What an asshole.
3) Digital Pets (aka Gigapets aka tamagotchi)
The only thing dumber than digital pets were the kids that played with them
Having a real life animal is stupid enough, now you can carry around a calculator that tells you whether or not you'd be good at nourishing one without the assistance of your parents. Worse yet, it was always the little shit dogs that were easy to take care of. Why not make it more realistic and involve dogs like pitbuls and dobermans? I think they should have had versions with vicious animals that would attack out of revenge if they were not fed enough. And the dog would decide how much food was "enough".
On top of that, no kid could ever seem to keep their pets alive for more than a week, which is not surprising because kids do not know how to raise anything. Before digital pets, my dad brought home a cat as our first family pet. Then he realized that there was no way that his four and five year-old children were ready to take on the responsibility of raising an animal. Furthermore, we did not have a VCR, and he knew that cleaning out the litter box would cut into "Walker: Texas Ranger". One day we came home and the cat was gone, and he informed us that he drove it to a playground four cities away, dropped it off, and left.
Nowadays, pagers are primarily used by drug dealers
There was a time period where everybody in America was ready for the digital/technological/immediate access generation, and at the same time nobody could afford cell phones. This time period was 1996. And because cell phones (or cellular phones as they were called back then) were so expensive, people opted for the next best thing, which was pagers.
If you're under the age of 21, allow me to explain what a pager was. It was basically a portable caller ID device that people could call to get ahold of you. When the number was displayed, then you would find the nearest phone and call the person back immediately. Fucking seriously, how egotistical did you have to be to own such a piece of shit? I could understand if you were someone important like a doctor or the CEO of a corporation. However, THOSE PEOPLE COULD AFFORD CELLULAR PHONES.
When I turned 13, my mom forced me to have a pager so that she could "get ahold of me in case of an emergency". What? How often do emergencies happen? I'm 24, and in my entire lifetime I can only recall two real emergency situations. And guess what, the entire time I owned the pager, which was two years before I traded it for a Mountain Dew and a hot pocket at lunchtime, no emergencies occurred. That's a lower track record than plane crashes. With that logic, we shouldn't allow carry-on luggage so that room can be made for parachutes. After call, carry-on luggage is generally the same size as a backpack, which parachutes happen to be stored in.
1) Beanie Babies
Really America? How was this cool?
What a brilliant idea - making stuffed animals out of bean bags for children, and "retiring" certain characters so that stupid teenagers and adults would rush to the stores and collect them.
The Beanie Baby fad was anarchy. They were worse than Tech Decks because you could not really play with them, however people would still rub it in your face. "Hey check it out, my mom got me Harold the Homosexual Hedgehog. This one is rare because Ty got pressure from gay activists so they discontinued this one. It's worth more because the heart tag is in good shape".
Why in the hell would bean bag stuffed animals need fucking backstories? They weren't cool, they were high priced, and nobody ever wanted to destroy them. Remember when destroying toys were fun, despite how valuable they were? That's why Legos were so fun: You could make a giant spaceship, battleship, or submarine and completely destroy it, and build something new. Kids have forever blown up cool action figures, and put baseball cards in the spokes of a bike to get the flicking sound. Yet for some reason, this all came to a screeching halt with Beanie Babies because, because they apparently had "value".
Guess what? There are hundreds of Star Wars/GI Joe/Comicbook action figures and Lego sets that go for hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars on Ebay, Craigslist, and at comibook conventions. Meanwhile, you couldn't get $10 for the entire collection of Beanie Babies if you sold them to a pedophile. When Tom Leykis was on the air, he would constantly rant about how over half of the households in America are headed by a single mother, and how young adults these days are the first generation where the majority of kids grew up with separate parents. I don't even need statistical evidence to prove his point, because I know that if most kids were unwilling to rip apart and destroy Beanie Babies as kids, it was because their moms would not let them. Which is total bullshit.
I will admit: there was a silver lining to Beanie Babies. Every Thursday night growing up was fast food night at the Wilcox house. My dad always went to McDonald's because it was the closest, and I happen to hate McDonald's with a passion. When McDonald's started to put those little shits in happy meals, my dad started going to Burger King more often. So thank you Ty (or in AIM terms: ty Ty!) for saving my fast food nights.