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Snuggies: America’s As-Seen-On-TV Response to the Economic Crisis

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You have most certainly heard of them. You have most certainly seen some kind of parody on them. They are Snuggies, the sleeved, fleece blankets that have caused a phenomenon currently sweeping the nation. Over 4 million have been sold in their mere year on the market, leading one to ask, how is this possible? How could sales of a sleeved blanket increase in numbers parallel to those of unemployment rates?

The answer is likely quite simple. One might wonder if it is a coincidence that, in a time when 363,000 people are unemployed and corporate bailouts are being given out as regularly as salaries, Americans are now looking for a bit of comfort— however ridiculous they look in the process. The blanket’s advertisements claim they are perfect for watching TV, keeping your arms cozy while reaching for the phone or the remote. They claim they are great for outdoor sporting events, where, in lieu of a jacket, you may want a pastel-colored, backwards fleece robe to keep you warm. They offer a kind of snug cocoon, protecting one from chilly discomfort.

Is it impossible, then, that American consumers have embraced the Snuggie not for its innovativeness—which it is doubtful that it actually possesses— but for its symbolism of warmth and comfort? Though perhaps ridiculous at first, the idea that the frosty and uncertain state of the economy could cause Americans to flock to a product that boasts its innate “snuggie-ness”, eventually does seem plausible. For years, Americans were completely confident. Employment was high, consumerism was thriving, businesses were growing, money was being accumulated. There was security. Yet in the last eight or nine years, 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the burst of the housing bubble, the halt of the economy, and the decline in employment have shaken that security. And in came the Snuggie.

The blanket’s developers could not have picked a better time to introduce such a frivolous product. It is akin to the Chia Pet, yet somehow completely different in that it has transcended advertising and entered popular culture. It is no sillier than any other As-Seen-On-TV product—the Shamwow! and PedEgg come to mind— yet it has gained seemingly unheard of attention. Americans, of course, have always had a certain penchant for novelty items. Even so, it is difficult not to wonder if it is possible that America speaks through its shopping habits, buying things we crave for survival that perhaps symbolize a greater need. If this is true, then we can likely expect to see the Snuggie around for quite some time.





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lunar252 said...
Aug. 26, 2009 at 3:01 am
this does bring up an interesting prospective on the parallel between snuggies and the economy. i kind of wanted to buy one myself, but i never really knew why. i mean they are thoroughly ridiculous, but hey, what's twenty bucks when you could be buying protection from hardtimes? well written, i'll be on the lookout for more of your reviews.
 
Jennax3 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 20, 2009 at 11:45 pm
This is wonderfully written, and so true! You have a talent for writing reviews. Amazing job :]
 
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