The world has changed, but WHAM-O stays the same

You remember WHAM-O, don’t you? Oh, heck—you don’t even have to remember them, because their products are still around. What I mean when I ask if you remember is whether or not you remember the commercials on TV, when we were growing up.

Oh, how I wanted a Slip ‘N Slide. (From WHAM-O!) I never did get one, as a child. Of course as soon as my own children were old enough, I went right out and bought them one, then busted it out on a hot Summer afternoon as if I’d just personally transported Heaven here to our backyard. They played on it for about five minutes before complaining that the grass was sticking to them. I tried not to cry.

Anyway, WHAM-O holds the trademark to many of the toys we grew up loving. Hacky sacks! Frisbees! Hula Hoops! The infamous Slip ‘N Slide! And each and every one allowed you to intone “… from WHAM-O!” back when we were kids. Nowadays children will just look at you funny if you do that. Trust me.

And now—finally—it seems that WHAM-O has run out of ideas. Oh, just kidding. I’m sure they have plenty of ideas, but they also want some more. So they’re having a Kid Inventor Contest wherein your child can attempt to come up with the next big thing for WHAM-O. Details, including rules and submission forms, can be found on the site. Entries are due by March 31st, and WHAM-O recommends allowing two weeks for mailing, so apparently the term “snail mail” is more than a charming exaggeration, to them.

The winning kid gets $2,000! Nice, huh? But then I started thinking about how many hula hoops and frisbees and stuff WHAM-O has sold over the years, and then I went and read the fine print on the site. It appears to say that you only get the prize money if you sign a licensing contract which gives you 3% of sales in a particular territory (huh?) and then my head started to hurt and, also, I remembered that someone already invented the yo-yo.

Nevertheless, if you have a budding young inventor on your hands, you might want to check out the contest.

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