“When you watch the commercials you can tell they’re made of cheap stuff,” says my astute oldest daughter about the fleece blanket sensation known as the Snuggieâ„¢. “The people wearing them are just so cheesy, like the man in the leopard one who says he’s so glad he found a fun designer print that suits his personality.”
Snuggie consumers proudly wear the Made-in-China label on their sleeves, not considering the synthetic polyester fabric they’re breathing in all the while they’re adjusting their thermostats in the thin, robe-like throws. I find they leave me as cold as those stinky, plastic sealed airline blankets gifted to us on flights.
I’m not the only one with a chilly view of the blankets. There’s the YouTube ad that parodies by Snuggieâ„¢ haters, such as one done in the mockumentary format of The Office in which an employer forces her people to wear the wraps at work, despite their protests. A piece in Time shares one young man’s review: “It’s a bathrobe. That is really long. That you wear backwards.”
So far, five million and counting have bought into the ads depicting gray-haired ladies knitting on the sofa, moms reading on the sofa, great aunts chatting away on the phone on the sofa. One thing is clear: Folks just don’t get off that sofa when they’re folded into a Snuggie. Call it a straight jacket for polluted planet!
Allstar Products Group, Inc., the maker of the blanket, set up a Facebook Fan page and attracted 5,000 users in addition to an official online fan club site. That’s a lot of fleece.
Among the enthusiastic takers is my 10-year-old daughter, who went behind her green-leaning parents to ask a relative to buy her one for her birthday in the original royal blue.
She’s a big infomercial hound, my youngest, often repeating lines from the ads when we are out buying necessities for the house. “Mom, you should get the Ped Egg because it’s like having a professional spa treatment right in your own home,” she advises.
She had a fever over the weekend and taking away that Snuggie was harder than wrestling a cheese stick away from my pug. Pugs have little teeth, but they’ll take you down over cheese, and so will Lauren over a cheesy blanket.
“My friend Simon had one and I thought it would be warm for camp because I sleep right near the window,” says my daughter. “I also like it when I’m sick cause it makes me feel all snuggie.”
We don’t buy polyester bedding and we don’t want our kid dragging around a toxic security blanket. Yet burning it could create a micro Valdez. Which begs the question, how do you safely dispose of Mr. Snuggieâ„¢?
Because of the questionable chemicals in the fiber, I find it ironic how American Allstar Group’s publicity machine has tied in “the country’s favorite blanket with sleeves” with one of the country’s most pernicious diseases – breast cancer.
In May, they introduced the limited edition pink blanket for breast cancer. The company says it will donate $50,000 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation on behalf of the product.
I suppose the irony is that many of the questions posed to researchers at Cancer.Org relate to the link between toxins in textiles and breast cancer. One reader was wondering about her mother who had he worked at a chain of stores in which she cut cloth materials containing the kind of junk that is used to produce my daughter’s favorite throw.
If the Snuggie is such a mega hit and has made tons of dough for Allstar, why hasn’t an organic textile company made their own version of a healthy fleece blanket with sleeves?
“The Snuggie is a safe product, as it is approved and certified by all relevant industry standards,” I’m told by Anne Flynn, Director of Marketing at Allstar. “Snuggie is currently in the process of evaluating other materials, including natural, eco-friendly options, to meet consumer needs.”
Until we meet the eco Snuggie, the only newly unveiled additions introduced for the coming winter are styles for kids, dogs, a more plush version of the current design, and black and purple tie-dye fashions for the holidays.
I did find a few greener options, such as a Bear Adventure Warm Me Up made of recycled synthetics from Blankets and More (being introduced November 1st), and a cozy kimono for the preemie baby. There’s also the 85% recycled materials Peekaru, shown above (top left), for mom and baby.
Otherwise, the market is wide open for a healthier blanket with sleeves. My friends at Chia better get right on it!
This is the latest installment in Luanne’s column, Life in the Green Lane.