The beach ball industry was flying sky-high, but now sales are crashing down to earth.
The beach ball industry was flying sky-high, but now sales are crashing down to earth. - 
Listen To The Story

Kai Ryssdal: We're adding jobs, as we learned last Friday. The housing industry's picking up. So there's a case to be made that the economy's stronger than it might at first glance appear.

But one industry is starting to see some downward-trending sales: The once-lucrative beach ball business. We sent the news team from the online comedy site Funny Or Die to find out what's going on.

Lauren Palmigiano: Bouncing beach balls. You’ve probably seen the classic striped variety being bandied about in the park, at the ball game, and of course, at the beach. It’s America’s pastime, but lately the beach ball industry is in trouble. Big trouble.

Local merchant: Yeah, around Memorial Day, we were selling 20, 25 beach balls a day. But in the last two weeks, it’s really slowed down.

This local merchant describes what’s happening around the country, prompting some to ask: “Has the beach ball bubble burst?”

Local merchant: Yeah, we’re selling so few beach balls, I think we’re gonna have to give that shelf space to pens and paper and backpacks. Because those thigns are selling a lot more right now.

It appears the beach ball boom has gone bust while  backpacks are suddenly selling like backpacks filled with hotcakes. It’s just a sign that our economy is unstable and unpredictable. But for now, one of the world’s favorite sandy fun-time beach tradition is in jeopardy of being washed away, like a beach ball sometimes gets washed away... in the surf…at the beach.

Ryssdal: That was the work of Lauren Palmigiano, Danny Jelinek and Ryan Perez from Funny Or Die. There's more at

As a nonprofit news organization, Marketplace is on a mission that drives what we do every day: to increase economic intelligence across the country. But we can’t do it alone. Become a Marketplace Investor today, in whatever amount you choose, and your donation will go twice as far, thanks to a dollar-for-dollar match from The Kendeda Fund.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow KFOD News Team at @funnyordie