I love a good conspiracy theory. They are fun and require you to think about things in a different way. But there is a real danger in taking them too seriously. The problem with most conspiracy theories is they are easy to debunk and when considered logically don’t make much sense. For starters, for a conspiracy to work, a lot of things have to fall into place. Basically, everyone involved must be good at keeping a secret, the stars must align, and lots of other things. With that in mind, let’s talk about the conspiracy theory that Wayfair is participating in human trafficking. Because realistically, it’s absurd. I’m writing this because one of the groups I’m in has decided to boycott a store in this economy over a conspiracy theory that I’ve already called absurd.
What is Wayfair.com? Wayfair is a mix between a furniture store and a home decor store. Imagine if Ashley Furniture joined forces with Pier One Imports and opened stores all over the country. You’d get something like Wayfair as long as Ashley was willing to branch out into office and industrial furniture as well as home. That would give you the selection in a physical store that Wayfair gives. I know plenty of people who have ordered furniture as well as home decor from Wayfair. I don’t shop there often, because I’m a cheapskate (I didn’t shop Pier One for the same reason) when it comes to home decor, but I do like some of their furniture. And even ordered a loveseat for my office from there last week.
Now for the conspiracy theory (CT): Wayfair has some really high priced items; 1$10,000-$40,000 industrial cabinets, $2,000 curtains, $9,000 end table sets, etc. And some of their manufacturers have done the same thing IKEA has – given their stuff “Names”. For Instance, you could buy an industrial cabinet called the Alyvia for $12,000-$16,000. I say could because it’s been removed from the site due to the CT. The theory goes you aren’t paying for an overpriced cabinet, you are instead buying a trafficked child. Did warning bells clang for anyone? If you think about it for a minute they might two things instantly jumped out at me.
Moving on to the Problems with the CT: The first is that this is not your standard home use cabinet that you might fill with canned goods. The description says it has a reinforced steel frame. Each shelf will hold up to three tons (6,0000 pounds!). It’s not even the metal cabinets you find at Home Depot. This thing is designed to be hit by a truck and survive. Or in my life perhaps a tractor (given that J is a tractor mechanic by training). I can’t think of a single thing I would use this cabinet for, but J, I could see J having a use for it or J’s work. Those specialized ag tractor tools get big and heavy as do tractor and mower engines. And guess what? That price is not all that shocking at that point; I looked for other industrial shelving and locking cabinets. Wayfair’s price is well within the average given the specifications of the 5 industrial cabinets they had for sale. Problem two; Wayfair is going to take a cut of that $12,000-$16,000 (for the sake of math we are going to say the price is $14,000) plus there’s an industrial cabinet, so let’s pretend the cabinet is really only a $1,000 cabinet and Wayfair as the go between takes 30% that leaves just $8,800 for the base price of the child being trafficked. I hate to say this, but that is a rock bottom price for an American to pay for a trafficked child, especially a girl and the younger a child is when trafficked the more expensive they become. So, this is obviously an older teen girl you’re getting. Those are the first two that jump out at me. A third ran closely on its heels though.
The logistical nightmare of getting this trafficked child to the paying customer is the third problem: My loveseat delivery happened in 7 days. Meaning it obviously came from a US warehouse because it was coming FedEx ground. There is no way US warehouse workers making $12-$20 an hour for Wayfair are allowing someone to drug and bind a child and shove them in a cabinet for transport. Also, if you buy $2,000 curtains and expect to get a child with them, how do you ship a child with curtains? I mean I would expect those to go out in a small flat box.
The extraordinary prices seem to form the basis for this conspiracy theory: I mean I’m not shelling out $2,000 bucks for curtains. But then I got to thinking about it and well, just because the average person isn’t shelling out $2,000 for curtains doesn’t mean no one would. Quite the opposite, I’m sure they sell lots of them. What’s with that price? You have the base price of the curtain, the manufacturers suggested price and then the markup by Wayfair. And then I remembered once looking at a statue at Pier One Imports. It was a bear statute; 20 inches high, the eyes different heights (the handpainting left something to be desired), by 34 inches long. It was $3,000. I remember it because I remember thinking “who the fuck pays that much for a badly painted statue?” Definitely, not me. But I’ve already admitted to being cheap when it comes to decor, so…
And that is really the key: I am not Pier One’s target market (ever; I can make an afghan for less than a $1,000 bucks that I like better than any I can buy at Pier One). Just like most of us are not Wayfair’s target market with cabinets that can survive being hit by a truck. Therefore, there is zero reason for any groups to organize a boycott of Wayfair for their human trafficking activities. There is no way they could get away with it. Wayfair employs thousands in the US and Canada. And even more shop their website every day. If they were participating in human trafficking an “Oh shit, oops wrong order” would have happened by now.