Last week the Federal Trade Commission approved orders settling charges against two companies selling caffeine-infused underwear. Norm Thompson Outfitters, Inc. and Wacoal America, Inc. don’t have to recall the underwear made from fabric with microencapsulated caffeine, retinol and other ingredients, but they have to stop pretending the items will do anything but keep your junk in place. Also, they have to pay a combined about $1.5 million towards refunds for those souls that dared to believe.
Do you have questions? Naturally.
TIC: Have you heard about this caffeine underwear?
TAC: No I haven’t. By all means, tell me about the caffeine underwear. For starters, huh?
TIC: The underwear is infused with caffeine. It’s shapewear and boxer briefs—
TAC: —that you wear? Like, on your body?
TIC: Yes yes of course. That’s the point.
TAC: How bizarre. So, the caffeine in the underwear is meant to leave the fabric and go into your body?
TIC: Well sure. But these two companies that sell them just got fined by the FTC.
TAC: Yea that sounds kind of shady. But, I dunno, I guess the nicotine patch is pretty standard. And don’t they sell transdermal patches with birth control hormones in them? Say, my initial opinion on the topic of caffeine underwear is beginning to change!
TIC: Oh, no no no. That’s not—I see that I’ve confused you.
TAC: And honestly, coffee has sort of become a tedious way to get my fix in the morning. Hey hey! Is it time release? Does it come in flavors the way nicotine gum does? What am I saying I sound insane. Hah! That would be insane. Hah! But seriously, they’re getting fined? Those slow-poke federal agencies! This is why we can’t have nice things.
TIC: First of all, you can still buy them.
TIC: BUT WAIT. LISTEN. They aren’t meant to get you high.
TAC: Then I guess let’s go back to, huh?
TIC: Let’s. These two companies, Wacoal America, Inc. and Norm Thompson Outfitters, Inc. sell underwear made with Lytess, a fabric that has somehow been infused with some amount of caffeine and retinol and some woo-woo whatever chemicals.
TAC: Oh ok. And they made people sick.
TIC: No, they didn’t make people anything. Shush, just listen. They told people the underwear would cure their cellulite and make them lose inches from whatever area the underwear covers.
TAC: Oh like, tummy and thigh shapers that cure your cellulite on your butt and loose inches from your waist. I guess I can kind of see that logic… caffeine…movement…fat burning…metabolism…
TIC: Sure, but no.
TAC: Yea no no, of course not. But I can sort of… I don’t know. I’m still confused but I can like, picture it. I can kind of see how people would think this underwear would do something like cure your cellulite.
TIC: Totally. But what does it even mean to cure cellulite?
TAC: Oh I surely have no idea.
TAC: …and it doesn’t get you high?
TAC: But it does have caffeine and retinol and whatever other stuff in it? I mean, in them, I mean, in the underwear?
TIC: Yes yes, and Ginko Biloba or something. Lytess, the fabric they made the underwear from, truly does have those chemicals in it. Otherwise they would also be getting in trouble for saying caffeine was present where it wasn’t. I think.
TAC: I would assume.
TIC: I would hope.
TAC: So now, how does fabric get infused with caffeine or whatever?
TIC: Oh, I don’t know. They call it microencapsulated. It’s supposed to get through your skin and—
TAC: —not in your bloodstream!
TIC: Right, somehow through your skin, but not in your bloodstream, and get into your fat cells and…metabolize them.
TAC: Can that even happen? Do I understand biology correctly? Are they pretending caffeine is its own being that can metabolize stuff?
TIC: I don’t know. I don’t really get it. Their descriptions use “micro” a lot: micro-metabolizing, Micro-circulation…
TAC: I have heard of fabric being infused with chemicals before.
TIC: Sure, to make them stain repellant or something like that, but not to bring about some cosmetic improvement in your body.
TAC: That’s why they’re in trouble, right? The descriptions promised a whole lot of hooey that wouldn’t happen.
TIC: Right. The garments even had drop tags with instructions for best results.
TAC: Oh, how does one most effectively use caffeine underwear?
TIC: Eight hours a day, 28 days in a row.
TAC: Yipes. And are you expected to wash your caffeine underwear?
TIC: I would really hope so.
TAC: And what would happen to all that caffeine-that-really-is-there when you wash them?
TIC: I couldn’t say.
TAC: Maybe you should buy two.
TIC: Maybe three.
TAC: Well that makes sense. I understand why they got in trouble now.
TIC: Also, they made up a study to prove the underwear works.
TAC: Well sure, why not?
TIC: And also they claimed Dr. Oz endorsed them but it turns out he didn’t.
TAC: Isn’t Dr. Oz the guy on morning TV who just got in trouble for endorsing a fake diet pill study?
TAC: And that was supposed to be a selling point?
TIC: Yea. I…I dunno.