April 14, 2010

Bear With Me On This One

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The Vermont Teddy Bear Company: Does the name ring any bells? Really, none at all? I’m not surprised. Though you might be surprised to know that this cuddly-sounding company — originally selling and sending “Teddy Grams” — now markets some of the laziest (and craziest) products known to Americans.Before launching into this bullskeet, I should first state that the Vermont Teddy Bear Company owns four companies: Three that sell (arguably) major crap, and one that sells decent-looking flowers. The one company that seems just OK is called Calyx & Corolla, a flower company based in Vero Beach, Florida. Wikipedia states, though, “Ironically, one of Vermont Teddy Bear’s marketing slogans claimed that sending a teddy bear is ‘a creative alternative to sending flowers.’” So you should obviously recognize that Vermont Teddy Bear Company is quite discerning when it comes to acquiring new companies and growing the Teddy Bear name.Enter Calyx & Corolla’s strugglin’ stepsisters: Vermont Teddy Bear, PajamaGram and PajamaJeans. First, let’s tackle Vermont Teddy Bear. Cute, cuddly, non-confrontational bears for any occasion, right? One would suppose. But in 2005, VTB caused “crazy” controversy with their Valentine’s Day-themed “Crazy for You” Bear. Wearing a white strait jacket, carrying “commitment papers” and sporting a tag that read, “Can’t eat, can’t sleep, my heart’s racing. Diagnosis — crazy for you,” this bear was undoubtedly a hot mess for VTB’s PR department. Not going to snark any deeper into that one.Second, we come to PajamaGram. The website’s masthead reads: “Unique gift ideas — Mother’s Day pajamas, Mother’s Day gifts, Birthday gifts for Women, Get Well Gifts.” All this should be a pretty good indication of the level of absurdity we’re dealing with here. What self-respecting woman actually asks for pajamas as a gift? That’s like hoping for tube socks for Christmas (or any other equivalent holiday).But then, maybe the packaging will win her over. With every purchase, your lucky female recipient receives a lovely periwinkle organza hatbox, lavender bath confetti and a “do not disturb” sign when Queen Pajama is getting some beauty rest. (I could really go for some lavender bath confetti myself).Though I wonder, why are pajamas figured as a gendered gift in the first place? While PajamaGram stocks men’s and children’s pajamas — even carry matching his-and-hers sets — their demographic is clear: convalescing, sad and pregnant (i.e. hysteric, duh) women. Oof. It takes all kinds, folks! After that load of crappery, we have finally come to VTB’s crème de la crème (or their lowest of the low): PajamaJeans. Lately, I’ve been on the hunt for a nice pair of slacks. PajamaJeans, I’m pretty sure you ain’t them. The idea: The comfort of yoga pants mixed with the fashion of jeans, created under the watchful eye of “some European designer” (verbatim from the commercial). A nice proposition, in theory: You can be lazy as shit and still look good! It’s what one might call a “win-win” situation.I’ll bet it’s that “dormisoft fabric” (a proprietary blend of cotton and spandex) that’s really winning people over.Sherrie Graddic, who was interviewed for a NY Daily News article on the product, said this of her pair of PajamaJeans: “Sometimes when you’re sitting around with friends, you want to be relaxed. You don’t want to just go straight to bed, so you want something that you can still put on with a T-shirt … and laugh and talk, drink some wine or watch a movie.’” Sure, any lady loves to “laugh and talk, drink some wine or watch a movie” with her gal pals (but only if the movie is Waiting to Exhale!). To my mind, though, the only people who should be sleeping in their clothes are hobos and drunks. Ah, PajamaJeans, what laze enablers you be! … You might be wondering why I am dissing so hard on PajamaJeans. It’s ultimately because I’m jealous; I want to get drunk and fall asleep in style. Until I can get my own pair, I’ll pine for the day that I can wear my PajamaJeans to drive my indolent ass to the nearest KFC in order to buy its lazy-excuse-for-a-sandwich “sandwich,” the Double Down. And then after my “sandwich,” I’ll take any excuse to watch a “Say Yes to the Dress” marathon and then maybe take a catnap. So let us all thank the little-known Vermont Teddy Bear Company for making our dreams of sloth and needless materialism reality!

Original Author: Lauren Herget