Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Fake LiveSTRONG bracelets

Go to any supermarket, hair salon or rotary phone repair shop and you will see tons of yellow bracelets.

The bracelets, which look like large rubber bands, are part of a campaign to promote cancer awareness. LiveSTRONG is the mantra of everybody's second favorite bike rider, Lance Armstrong.

Of course, Evel Knievel is everyone's FAVORITE BIKE RIDER. (Try jumping OVER the Tour de France next time, Lance.)

The bracelets are made by Nike and used for two purposes. First, at $1 a piece, they generate a decent amount of charity. Second, they promote interest in cancer research, which could lead to more charitable donations.

But, as always, where there is charity there are hucksters.

Not long after the bracelets were introduced, they became the latest fashion statement. Much like the red cancer ribbons of the early 1990s, people wore the bracelets to say 'I care.' Others wore two bracelets to say 'I care even more.' A certain nightclubs people wore bracelets to say 'I can go out and smoke and then re-enter without paying a second cover charge.' Those were, however, a different kind of bracelet.

Soon, stores started marking up the bracelets and selling them for 2 dollars or making the bracelets part of in store promotions, violating the LiveSTRONG rules.

Also, other people were making pink bracelets to show support for breast cancer.

Then, shady individuals realized THEY WERE JUST RUBBER BANDS. Suddenly, bootleg bracelets were popping up at flea markets, dollar stores and yes, rotary phone repair shops (if I keep writing it, it may start to sound funny.)

I went to my local dollar store where the bracelets were available. Unlike some stores they sold ones that said 'LiveStrong.' Some other bootlegs say things like 'support a cure', 'you can do it!' and the very bold 'LiveStronger.'

The packaging looks similar to the Nike bracelets at first glance, yet it doesn't carry the Nike logo. The other thing I noticed was that the dollar store sold this bracelet in EVERY color you could imagine. I chose the standard yellow and, just because it will match my Barbie dream house, pink.

As I went to grab the bracelets from the cardboard box on the dollar store floor, I noticed something else. EVERY BRACELET WAS A DIFFERENT SIZE. Not just a 'youth' and an 'adult' size, these imperfect bracelets were incredibly inconsistent. Some weren’t even round.

I think it is amusing that the dollar store couldn't even make a rubber bracelet with the same quality as the original. Perhaps the fumes from the melted rubber made the dollar store sweat shop workers loopy. Still, it is no excuse for THIS poor quality. Remember, the sell the bracelets for the SAME price as Nike and they give NOTHING to charity.

So, I grabbed two that look close to the size of the real one I have.

After I tore them from the package and tried them on I noticed the bracelet was still very tight. Also, the cheap rubber is uncomfortable and tends to cling to anything it touches. It's like a wacky wall crawler that you wear on your wrist (minus the wackiness.)

To top it off, the fake bracelets don't stretch like the Nike version, making it hard to put the bracelet on and off, and after putting it on ONCE, it already has some small tears in it.

I can't recommend the fake bracelet, true it would seemingly fulfill the requirement of bringing awareness to the disease, but it doesn't directly give any money to charity.

Also, it gives money to people who can't make a decent rubber band, and that isn't good.

Good bye for now, I'll see y'all at the rotary phone repair shop.