My favorite scams of 2015
Am I the only person who’s noticed just a whole lot of scams recently? I blame it on our global supply chain that’s entirely opaque and impenetrable to the outsider. We have no idea how things are made, what they’re made with, or how the end results get shipped around the world.
Seriously, anything goes. And that’s probably not going to change. The question is, will scams proliferate, or will we figure out an authentication system?
Who knows. For now, let’s just remind ourselves of a few recent examples (and please provide more in the comments if you think of any!).
- VW’s cheating emissions scandal, obviously. That’s the biggest scam that came out this year, and it happened to one of the biggest car companies in the world. We’re still learning how it went down, but clearly lots of people were in on it. What’s amazing to me is that no whistleblower did anything; we learned about it from road tests by an external group. Good for them.
- Fake artisanal chocolate from Brooklyn. The Amish-looking hipsters just melted chocolate they bought. I mean, the actual story is a bit more complicated and you should read it, but it just goes to show you how much marketing plays a part in this stuff. But expert chocolate lovers could tell the difference, which is kind of nice to know.
- Fake bamboo products at Bed, Bugs, & Beyond. I call it that because whenever one of my friends gets bedbugs (it happens periodically in NYC) I go with them to B, B & B for new sheets and pillows. It’s fun. Anyhoo, they were pretending to sell bamboo products but it was actually made from rayon. And before you tell me that rayon is made from plant cellulose, which it is, let me explain that the chemical process that turns plants into cellulose (called extruding) is way more involved and harmful to the environment than simply grabbing bamboo fibers. That’s why people pay more for bamboo products, because they think they’re having less environmental impact.
- We eat horsemeat all the fucking time, including in 2015. This is a recurring story (I’m looking at you, Ikea) but yes, it also happened in 2015.
- And last but not least, my favorite scam of 2015, a yarn distributor called Trendsetter Yarns was discovered to be selling Mimi, a yarn from Lotus Yarns in China, which was labeled as “100% mink” when it was in fact an angora mix with – and this is the most outrageous part – 17% nylon fibers mixed in!!! As you can imagine, the fiber community was thrown into a tizzy when this came out; we yarn snobs turn up our noses at nylon. The story is that a woman who is allergic to angora, and who had bought the “100% mink” yarn specifically so that she’d have no reaction, did, and got suspicious, and sent it to a lab. Bingo, baby.