Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Spinners are Stupid and so am I

Oh God!  What have I done?  I am such a huge hypocrite.  I cannot believe after lambasting the stupidity of the custom tactical knife scene, I have gone out and spent a combined total of $215 on spinners.  Spinners are so stupid.  They are so goddam stupid.  Let me be clear--they are a tremendous mark up, a waste of space in your pocket, and an unjustifiable expenditure of money.  In a world where people still die of malaria, there is no rational way to justify buying a spinner, let alone one that costs $180.  These are stupidly simple devices that, even in their most exotic form, probably cost less than $10 to make and yet, given the hype waves that wash through the gear community, they are appreciating in value on the secondary market, if you get the right one.  No one said us gear geeks were brilliant with money.  I am so stupid.  

I resisted the Torqbar's siren's song for a long, long time, then for no real reason at all I bought a cheap 3D printed spinner.

IMG_5701

It cost $25 and ran on bearings that worked like bad breaks.  It didn't spin so much as shuffle.  But it gave me enough a feel for the spinner thing that I was intrigued.  I have two sons, one is six and the other is 21 months old, and both were transfixed.  But the three wings on the spinner were too big and unwieldy for little hands.  In all, I would strongly suggest avoiding all spinners, but if you can't then get a small one.  These big ones, especially non-metallic ones, are pretty bad.  They do not have the features that allow collectors to fetishize them and they lack that addictive feel  that made spinners so intriguing in the first place.  The best I could do with this spinner, with my air compressor was about 28 seconds.  Again, it shuffled more than spun.

But then I hopped on the Mass Drop for the Vorso Spin Flat Top v.2 for about $180.  The wait was, of course, longer than Mass Drop advertised, but that is to be expected.  The end product, however, was a gleaming beautiful gem of machining.  Its not Steelcraft levels of machining prowess--its a simple shape and there are marks that should have been cleaned up--but it is still quite nice.

P1070496

The design, aside from being a superior way to siphon money out of your wallet, is decent.  The spinning column in the middle of the unit, which slides out for replacement, stands proud of the two wings, allowing it to act as both a spinner and a top.  I guess that is what qualifies as versatility in the spinner world.  The Flat Top v.2 that I got ran ceramic bearings and stainless steel.  The heft is nice and the ceramic bearings run very smoothly.  I have hit spins 3 minutes and 1 second using the same air compressor set up.  Finally there is a small divot on one side of the spinning column allowing you to balance the spinner on a ball point pen or something else of the sort.  I have yet to get that trick down.

Overall, I would advise against buying any spinners.  They are really stupid and the nice ones are stupidly expensive.  I had thought that the custom OPMTs were the height of gear excess.  They look like expenses made by a financially prudent Shaker by comparison.  My wife, the tolerant soul that she is, doesn't balk at most of my gear purchases.  As she reasoned a knife, even an expensive one, can still cut, and a light, even a pricey one, can still illuminate things.  But a spinner, it does nothing. And she is right.  These things don't do anything.  AT ALL.

That said, I find the Flat Top v.2 a very fun trinket to play with.  I do carry it regularly (it is sometimes half the weight of my carry--the Dragonfly II and the MBI-HF-R don't weigh much at all). It is a good thing to play with when in stop and go traffic or talking on the phone.  But it is the height of first world excess.  When archeologists unearth these in a million years they will either think they were some how related to a game of chance or that we were a bunch of morons.  And just so we are clear, one of those two conclusions is clearly correct.  

If the Vorso Spin was $35, which it easily could be--there is nothing expensive here--it would still be a bad way to spend money, but its purchase would not be a moral failing.  For me, spinners are just too expensive and too wasteful.  I am done buying these things and, having bought two now, I wish I wouldn't have bought either. 

And before you run to defend the spinner or notions of absolute freedom and spending money as one chooses, do two thought experiments with me.  First, go find someone that lived through the Depression and explain to them your desire to own a $180 spinner.  That will work well.  Second, imagine owning a $180 yo-yo.  Because that is what the spinner is--a yo-yo for people that lack hand-eye coordination.  

I hope the spinner craze dies a horrible death.  Until then I will have to survive on knowledge that I too am a sucker.  

21 comments:

  1. I haven't ever bought a spinner and I don't ever plan to buy one, but I see no difference between the guy with the Mnandi used to cut tape and the $180 spinner. Our $400 knives and $200 flashlights are toys, too, they're just less honest about it. If it's a moral failing to buy a spinner because you enjoy it, then we're all loooong overdue for confession.

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    1. I think there's a legitimate difference between the two. Moral failings aside, what should a spinner cost, if a major manufacturer wanted to produce one? I think there's plenty of scrap materials at Spyderco HQ to churn out a boatload of spinners the equal of a torqbar, vorso, etc at 1/4 the price.

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    2. Agreed. The spinner is the logical conclusion of EDC object evolution.

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    3. I don't know, how much do they cost to make? And positing that Spyderco could make them cheaper is as obvious as it is unhelpful. ZT makes RJ Martin designs for a whole lot less than the custom costs, same deal, economy of scale goes a long way.

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    4. I see the similarities in all three and for me personally they would all be considered a toy purchase. I have been asked many times "Do you have a flashlight" or "Does anyone have a knife" of which I can produce either and usually get a smile on my face when said requestor comments wow that's sharp or wow that is bright. I have not heard anyone yet ask if there's a spinner in the house.

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    5. How is it unhelpful to ask how much a spinner from a larger company would cost? I'm not playing the role of Captain Obvious, I'm saying I wouldn't buy one because the profit margins appear (from the surface, I welcome contrary data) to be obscene.

      A good comparison is the Vox Snailor. Would I buy one if they were cheaper? Yes, because I don't have an issue with the object, I have an issue with the price. In most cases, I try not to jump into bubbles, and this looks like one.

      I don't disagree with you on the "toy" bit, mind.

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    6. No, that's fair, I took your point to be that they were overpriced because a company like Spyderco could make them cheaper. I definitely balk at the price tag, but it's hard for me to accept arguments on the price either way when we simply don't know what the profit margin is.

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  2. Tony, are you parked in the same place with spinning tops? I got sucked in to those big time for well north of $180 but never paid that much for a single one, still probably stupid

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  3. Idiotic

    http://yoyo.wikia.com/wiki/Duncan_Freehand_Mg

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  4. Moronic

    http://yoyo.wikia.com/wiki/YoYoFactory_Catch_22

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  5. Retarded

    http://yoyo.wikia.com/wiki/YoYoRecreation_Dazzler

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  6. I owned a bunch of $150-200 yo-yos at some point in my life. Is everything okay with me? Don't like an idea of the spinner for the reason you mention — there isn't a lot of a learning curve to it. These days I occupy my hands with knives or flashlights, less often — with my rubik's cube that I solve in fully automatic mode relying on muscle memory without any thinking as well sadly.

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  7. Yeah,...I don't get this craze, but I don't get the tactical bling like beads and stuff, either. I'm also fully willing to acknowledge any knife over a Swiss Army Knife is probably more than any of us needs, but I'm cool with that. Maybe if people have this much nervous energy to burn off, perhaps they should take up a hobby that doesn't involve checking out gear sites for a while? If it's just about getting the next thing to post in a pocket dump, that's cool too, but not my thing, that's for sure.

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  8. Spinners are really therapeutic. My psychologist wife carries a few of the cheap 3D printed ones in her work bag when she sees either young patients or people on the spectrum - the repetitive action keeps patients at just the right level of attention/distraction. She used to carry crummy little "fidget" toys that were easily broken by the more hyperactive kids and were also impossible to keep clean.

    I also bought a nice $50 one off Etsy for my elderly father. He's had ADHD all his life and always has to be drawing or making paper airplanes or building little things. The spinner let's him sit and relax for a while when he watches TV. As a geek he loves playing with the gyroscopic effect.

    I have one for a similar reason. I work in a cubicle doing tasks way, waaaaaay below my skill and education level. Now when I get distracted or need a break I just pull out the spinner and sit for a minute to regain my focus.

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    1. Good point, will keep that in mind, a bit more niche than the attention they've been getting though, yes?

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  9. Cheap fun

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yZC1inesPY

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  10. I spin my wedding band someitmes when I'm bored or want to delight a kid. Spins longer than most tops.

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  11. Any chance you could sell them? Bonus: can document process into a blog post, selling EDC gear is a bit decentralized at the moment, interested in what your research would dig up.

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  12. I've been out of the edc game for quite awhile, so much that the term edc was new to me since about a year ago. Back in the days I edc'd without knowing it was a "thing".
    Anyway, it seems I get pulled into this bit, by bit. and I don't know where it will end. I didn't think I needed a pocket knife, but being both a hunter and a SAR dog handler, I often visited sites that was bordering on the edc and survival themes. And slowly I was pulled in. Suddenly I found myself searching for knife reviews.. why would I do that? Before long I had bought a good few of them. The strange thing about pocket knives is that most of them rests in a drawer, I have a dragonfly II that just about lives in my jeans and truly see a lot of use. Also got a PM2 that permanently hangs on my hard use outdoor pants, but I have like 10-15 more knives that hardly see any use. I sometimes try to do that "rotation" thingie, but the DF2 and PM2 just works so well. Why would I want to change that other than on a situation/need basis? At least I have a more relaxed attitude to knives now, since there aren't really any situation I'm not prepared for, but I find myself still watching reviews and still wanting some of them. At this stage I'm mostly looking for improvements/replacements, but there's hardly any rationale need for that either.

    Naturally this evolved into flashlights. I bought 3 Olights in the last year, and got a fourth (an i3E) as a giveaway from my dealer. That concludes my flashlight investments. I have what I need, and doesn't seem to suffer from any collector syndrome here. It's mostly reasonable too, the ones I had were mostly Petzl head lamps that dates back to the early 2000s and even though still functional, they are inferior to the Olights of today. I use the i3E the most :-)

    Watches soon followed. I'm still researching here, but it seems also here I'll have a hard time doing the rationale thing.

    My point, I think, would be that I don't see myself wandering off into spinner territory, but based on my experiences above, nothing is certain. I mean, it's not that knives, flashlights and watches aren't useful, it's just that I'm repeatedly able to rationalize the need for several of each, and end up mostly using the cheapest one.. Spinners aren't so far fetched in that regard.

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  13. Yeah, a product for white privilege children. Yet despair not. How about treating these toy as an opportunity for mindfulness? Why not use these things as a tool for focusing in the present moment? Catholics have their pray beads, Buddhists have their spinning drums. White Trash have their bug zappers. You have your spinner.

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  14. Yeah, a toy for white privilege children, yet despair not. Why not use these toys as tools for mindful living? An opportunity for living in the present moment? The Catholics have their pray beads. The Buddhists have their spinning drums. The White Trash have their bug zappers. You have your spinner.

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