In April, smartphone repair shop owner Michael Oberdick sold roughly 20,000 fidget spinners. He just ordered more from a supplier in China, but he'll have to wait.
"They're easy to get but it often takes a lot of time because they're so backed up," he told me. "I placed an order for 10,000 spinners eight days ago and I couldn't get them right away because someone else had just placed an order for 2 million, so they jumped to the front of the line."
Over the last month or so, the spinning toys have gone from an elementary-school fad to a nationwide obsession. Unlike many other toy crazes, fidget spinners offer a wild-wild west for global capitalists looking to cash in on the craze. For one, there are no patents or trademarks to worry about infringing, so any factory can spew them out by the thousands. They're cheap to make and buy, so there's little risk in investing in, say, 500 or 1,000 of them. And unlike hoverboards, the craze that Chinese factories were cranking out last year, they aren't going to explode or catch fire.
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There's enough business to go around," Oberdick said. "Everybody should be doing it. We've sold so many and I can't bring them in as fast as I can sell them so it doesn't really matter who knows at this point."