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If you’ve ever wondered whether the Snuggie, that famous blanket with arms, was actually a blanket or a garment, you’re not alone.
The federal government was wondering the same thing too—though not for the same reason as most of us. This divisive issue of garment vs. blanket made it all the way to federal court so that the proper tariffs and taxes can be applied. And the court ruled the Snuggie is, in fact, a blanket.
This is important for Allstar Marketing, the producer of the Snuggie, as the court’s ruling is going to save the company a lot of money. According to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS), a blanket requires an 8.5 percent tariff and a garment requires a 14.9 percent tariff. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the product was classified as falling under the HTS category of “other garments, knitted or crocheted” and therefore subject to the higher tariff.
Naturally, Allstar Marketing did not appreciate this classification and appealed the decision to Customs and Border Protection. Their appeal was denied in 2012 and so the company took it a step further – the makers of the Snuggie sued the U.S. government. Yes, you read that right. Snuggie sued the government before the Court of International Trade, arguing that Customs had incorrectly categorized the product, which resulted in higher import charges.
To make a long court case short, it’s important to note that this isn’t the first (or only) sleeved blanket on the market. Allstar said they were inspired by the “Slanket” and the “Freedom Blanket,” and the Snuggie is even marketed as “The Blanket That Has Sleeves!”
Additionally, the Snuggie has never been sold in an apparel department—always in ‘‘bedding, housewares, general merchandise, ‘impulse buy,’ or ‘as-seen-on-TV’ departments of retail stores,” the judge noted.
Basically, the court said that unless the Snuggie was designed to be worn backwards like a bathrobe, the garment label doesn’t apply—so it’s officially a blanket!
But does this mean you shouldn’t wear it outside of the house for fear of being seen wearing a blanket in public? That’s a court case for another time.