Brrr! Even South Florida gets cold in the winter. And in a holiday season when so many of us are out of work and have time to kill, the stars have aligned for one very peculiar product -- or are there two?
Surely you've seen the infomercial for "The Snuggie -- the Blanket with Sleeves!" which has been invading television sets around the nation this past month. Turn on the tube, and soon enough, you'll hear the infectious jingle: "Blankets are OK/ but they can slip and slide/ something something your hands/ are trapped inside!"
For every viewer who derisively said, "Oh, yeah, because blankets are soooo cumbersome" or "Um, people -- that's just a robe worn backwards" there were thousands of us who felt beckoned by the comfy call of snuggly goodness. We logged onto the internet... only to find that... the Snuggie is an impostor! Not only have there been abundant reports of Snuggies being a giant scam ($46.70 for shipping?), the product itself was preceded by... The Slanket!
New Times just had to track down the inventor of the Slanket -- a totally adorable 20-something kid from Maine named Gary Clegg. How did he feel? Was legal action pending? Would there be a war of the fuzzy fleece things?
Unlike the people behind the Slanket -- who are notoriously hard to reach -- Clegg responded immediately.
"I am the inventor of The Slanket," Clegg wrote in an e-mail, probably while ensconced in his Slanket, "and the one responsible for spreading the warmth of this awesome product around the globe."
Visionary inventors like Clegg have unusual powers of perception, which is how he must have detected me chortling from the receiving end of his email. "You laugh, but we have sold Slankets in 40 Countries!" In fact, he had just sealed a deal to distribute Slankets at a certain national chain of brick-and-mortar home goods stores, and was about to hop on a plane to peddle Slankets in Germany.
"I invented this a long time ago and we have been selling The Slanket for 4 years now," Clegg said. He has a design patent, but unfortunately it isn't enough to stop the makers of the Snuggie. "The term 'the blanket with sleeves' could possibly be grounds for some legal action," he warned.
What he did say -- with some fightin' words -- is that Slankets are much, much more hip than Snuggies. Here's why:
"(1) When it comes to sleeved blankets, size matters. The dimensions of the Slanket are much larger, and the sleeves are roomier. These are key aspects to this product and the success of it, that these people with no sense of creativity or customer awareness, have failed to understand.
(2) The quality of the Slanket is much much better. Our slankets are a 310-gsm weight. This referes to the thickness of the material. Their product is 170-gsm. It has been analyzed
(3) We actually care about our customers and will go above and beyond for each and every one of them if need be. We have a loyal following because of this. This is very different than this marketing company who hangs up on you 3 times in a row when you try and order. (we tried to order) Mainly, we care about our product, we offer quality, and we hold our customers in the highest regard."
What about allegations that Snuggie/ Slanket-wearers look like monks from some strange cult?
"I don't think Snuggie wearers are like a cult," Clegg says, "because there is no sense of community there." On other hand, says Clegg, "Slanket wearers could almost be a cult. Their only ideals are positive attitudes and lazy, cozy lounging around."
And while people who wear Snuggies are dorks, it's totally acceptable -- stylish, even -- for a couple of dudes to wear in Slankets. Caution: the video below is exhausting to watch. Be assured that not all Slanket or Snuggie wearers must be as active as these two: