By Brian Thompson
I. The Setup
See, the thing about the Snuggie is that it really does address a common issue. Most “as seen on TV” products spend the better part of their advertising convincing you an activity that never bothered you before is now somehow a plague on your life. Sick and tired of straining to reach a light switch? Why not try the Clapper? Fed up with the hassle of deciding in advance that you’d like to go fishing, then subsequently bringing your fishing pole to a body of water? Have a Pocket Fisherman!
But I’ll be damned if I haven’t struggled with where to put my arms and hands when I’m trying to read under a blanket. On a cold winter weekend, you’ll often find me on the couch, blanket on top and remote sticking out the side. Blankets are great if you want to keep warm, but they suck if you’d like to do anything else at the same time. There’s got to be a better way!
II. The Findings
Enter the Snuggie.
Actually, enter the Slanket. See, just because everyone on the Today show thinks it’s kitschy good fun to dress up in Snuggies and pose like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, that doesn’t mean that the Snuggie was first on the sleeved blanket scene. No, it was the sweet mother of Maine college student Gary Clegg, who, in the late ‘90s, made her precious boy a blanket with a single sleeve so he could get some work done while keeping warm in his freezing dorm room. It’s a well known fact that cinder blocks, frat sweat, and beer bong vomit don’t insulate for crap, so Mrs. Clegg’s solution came in very handy. So handy, in fact, that Gary decided to market the sleeved blankets to every other cold person who’d like to do stuff. Thus, the Slanket.
Why the Snuggie has become so much more popular than the Slanket is anyone’s guess. With nearly a decade of lead time and an online outlet that’s still going strong, you’d think the Slanket would have generated an insurmountable market share by now. Ah, but you probably don’t understand the blanket market, hippie. You see, large pieces of fabric designed to keep people warm can be very expensive. Hand-made quilts can run you in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars (although this is mostly to cover the funeral costs of all the old ladies who died to make them). Fabric isn’t cheap, especially the kind of snuggly soft fabric that makes for a good blanket, sleeved or otherwise. The Slanket, you see, is made from the good stuff. 310gsm fleece, to be precise. But it is also 55 dollars.
On the other hand, you can order two Snuggies for 20 dollars plus shipping. And if you order in the next seven years, they’ll throw in another couple of Snuggies and two useless clippy light things for free! Do you know what a value that is? Think of everything you could do with that useless clippy light!
But before you start ordering Snuggies in bulk, you should take the time to look into the company that sells them, Fosdick Corporation. Yes, it sounds like one of Willy Wonka’s rivals, but I don’t know whether their headquarters are located in a sooty brick building with churning black smokestacks on top. I’m pretty sure, however, that they’re a terrible company. Most of their business comes from selling low-quality crap on TV. Chances are, if you see some plastic doodad advertised on a commercial that looks eerily similar to the Snuggie’s, it’s sold by Fosdick Corporation. It’s difficult to list everything they sell, because they don’t mention any of their merchandise on their website. But what we do know about this mysterious entity is that it has an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau, which it earned due to the huge number of complaints filed against it, its failure to respond to said complaints, the number of complaints that were never resolved, and the length of time it takes to get in touch with anyone from the company.
III. The Conclusion
Look, there’s no scientific reason you shouldn’t get a Snuggie. It’s probably not going to give you cancer or anything, and it might even keep you warm while letting your arms roam free. Plus, they’re unquestionably fashionable. But even when purchasing novelty items from television, it helps to keep your scientific, critical mind working. All I’m saying is that you should think twice before ordering anything from the Fosdick Corporation. Does that mean you should buy a Slanket instead? Of course not. Just turn up the damn heat, you cheapskate.
I mean, really.
About The Amateur Scientist: Brian Thompson is a professor of amateur science at a major imaginary university and a regular blogger at CHUD. He has been able to read and write for over seventeen years.
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