Great Moments in Regulation

Here is what you are paying your government to spend time on:

The age-old question has finally been answered: No, Snuggies are not clothing.

Earlier this month, a federal court ruled that Snuggies, the As Seen on TV 'blanket with sleeves', should be classified as blankets, and live as a separate entity from robes or priestly vestments.

The ruling followed the Justice Department's argument that Snuggies are apparel and not blankets, so they should be 'subjected to higher duties than blankets', reports Bloomberg.

Judge Mark Barnett of the Court of International Trade said during the trial that the Customs and Border Protection was in the wrong to classify Snuggies as apparel. Barnett cited the Snuggies' use of marketing as a blanket, specifically referencing its packaging with the phrase, "The Blanket With Sleeves!".

The judge added that those who purchase Snuggies may likely be "in the types of situations one might use a blanket; for example, while seated or reclining on a couch or bed, or outside cheering a sports team."

In Barnett's opinion, the addition of sleeves 'was not enough' to have the Snuggie be considered a piece of clothing. He added the use of sleeves allowed the Snuggie "to remain in place and keep the user warm while allowing the user to engage in certain activities requiring the use of their hands."

More so, Judge Barnett rejected the idea a Snuggie may also be similar in fashion to priestly vestments or scholastic robes which also use wide sleeves and a loose fit around the body. In his ruling, the judge argued that robes open from the front, and priestly vestments and scholastic robes have no opening on either side, so the role of a Snuggie as a garment is invalid.

  • Peabody

    The import tariff codes and rates in general are a great example of crony capitalism and the resulting complex regulations. For example, you may be importing motors from China and you drill down through many pages based on size, specs, etc. and often each will have slightly different rates. 3 - 5% might be the general range. Then you see one seemingly random sub-sub-sub-sub category with a 0% rate. Hmmm, I wonder which political donor's company imports that exact motor...

    Not to mention that determining the category for a specific good is both an art and a science. And that's without the government telling you conflicting classifications based on who you ask. The obvious solution of just greatly simplifying the tariff code would be a negative to politicians and only a positive to business who don't lobby for preferential treatment so that's not going to happen.

  • Steve

    I guess the jury is still out on Forever Lazy?