With a minimum of spin

The Oklahoman’s Tricia Pemberton’s daughters discover the Hula Hoop at Wal-Mart:

“Mom, look they’re only $2.50. Can we get one pleeeease?”

Two dollars and 50 cents is cheap entertainment these days, so I said sure before they could beg for a movie or the latest CD.

On the way out of the store, Emmitt, a greeter, stopped us.

“I was working Phoenix, Arizona, in 1956 when the hula hoop first came in,” he told us. “We sold about a thousand of those a day for four straight months.”

Emmitt was a little off on his chronology — Wham-O (still the greatest corporate name in history) began selling the round plastic doomaflatchie in 1958 — but I suspect he understood its world-changing nature.

Unlike, for instance, the doofus board of Hudsucker Industries:

Board Member 1: What if you tire before it’s done?
Board Member 2: Does it have rules?
Board Member 3: Can more than one play?
Board Member 4: What makes you think it’s a game?
Board Member 3: Is it a game?
Board Member 5: Will it break?
Board Member 6: It better break eventually!
Board Member 2: Is there an object?
Board Member 1: What if you tire before it’s done?
Board Member 5: Does it come with batteries?
Board Member 4: We could charge extra for them.
Board Member 7: Is it safe for toddlers?
Board Member 3: How can you tell when you’re finished?
Board Member 2: How do you make it stop?
Board Member 6: Is that a boy’s model?
Board Member 3: Can a parent assemble it?
Board Member 5: Is there a larger model for the obese?
Board Member 1: What if you tire before it’s done?
Board Member 8: What the hell is it?

Geez. Even Alvin wanted one of them, and he was a farging chipmunk.

One other thing: Wham-O’s original hoop, forty-nine years ago, sold for a buck ninety-eight. Adjusted for inflation, this should be $13.92 today. And they say Wal-Mart is bad for us.





2 comments

  1. McGehee »

    1 March 2007 · 11:44 am

    Wal-Mart keeps the price down by having them made in sweatshops by impoverished bonobos chained to their workbenches by an oppressive government that eats their young.

  2. Dan »

    1 March 2007 · 9:48 pm

    Poor bonobos.

    During “speech contest” one year when I lived in Japan, one of the girls included a story about a “fula foop.”

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