Is it a garment, or is it a blanket? That was the debate over the Snuggie, the popular blanket with sleeves that had ubiquitous commercials several years ago. Why does it matter? Well, apparently blankets and clothing are subject to different tariffs, and Allstar Marketing, who is behind the Snuggie, didn’t like how it was classified.
For some reason, it took the U.S. Court of International Trade to determine that a blanket with sleeves is still a blanket, and it took Judge Mark Barnett 32 pages to explain his decision. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection classified it as a garment, and Allstar argued that Snuggies should be classified under the section for blankets, or at the very least, the section for “other” items. Garments in the class that Snuggies had been listed under are tariffed at 14.9%, while blankets are only hit with 8.5%. “Other made up article[s]” only face a 7.5% tariff.
Judge Barnett went into a detailed description of how the Snuggie is made, as well as television commercials for the item, followed by a 22-page legal analysis of why and how it does or doesn’t fall under various tariff classifications. The judge also referenced similar items like the Freedom Blanket and the Slanket, who were on the market before the Snuggie, and had been classified as blankets. Why that alone wasn’t enough to support the decision is unclear.
The entire decision is posted below, but if you plan on reading it, you might want to put on a Snuggie and get comfortable, because it’ll take a while.
[Image via screengrab]