Yesterday I went down a rabbit hole. You know, the same one half of social media is down…Wayfair and sex trafficking and overpriced cabinets. I recently read that Scott Erskine had died of Covid 19 and reading what he did really rocked me, reminding me of the crazy that is out there. I have boys not much younger than those boys were when they were kidnapped, bound, gagged, assaulted, tortured and murdered…I’ve been on edge about it this week. So when I heard child trafficking and kidnapped children – it got my attention easily, I’ll admit it. I’ve been reading the news articles about Wayfair hoping some new information will come out, but alas they mostly say the same thing. Which is to say, that they completely gloss over some pretty weird stuff.
So by now you know about the $10,000 Cabinets. There were several, and they were named the names of several missing children. It is true that large industrial cabinets actually could cost that much. But what about the names, that’s just creepy and weird isn’t it? According to Fox News, Wayfair’s response was as follows…which addresses the pricing and acknowledges the need to re-name but did not address the original odd naming:
“Recognizing that the photos and descriptions provided by the supplier did not adequately explain the high price point, we have temporarily removed the products from site to rename them and to provide a more in-depth description and photos that accurately depict the product to clarify the price point,”Frechette, Wayfair Spokesperson (quote according to Fox News aritcle linked above)
The basic conclusion is that it’s just conspiracy theory. I normally find Snopes somewhat reliable on this stuff, but they literally conclude “False” based on:
The claim that Wayfair is trafficking children is based almost entirely on one person’s confusion over an expensive cabinet.Dan Evon, Snopes Reporter
Ok so at this point, that’s what being reported but humor me and come with me down the rabbit hole for five minutes.
While it all started on Reddit about a cabinet…in the last day numerous products surfaced that follow the same pattern of odd naming and pricing. I came across this on Twitter. This is important because most news sources only reported the cabinets, which theoretically could cost that much…but below you’ll see pillows. Pillows that are the same brand as the industrial cabinets. Pillows that are, like the cabinets, identical but named various names of missing kids. You can go deeeeeep down the rabbit hole on “weird” findings in images from Wayfair, but I’m not going to. Lets just stick to the product naming pattern of duplicate products, priced excessively. Now it is just weird, right?
When I started writing this post, I assumed that Wayfair worked similarly to eBay and Amazon, where sellers manage their listings and set prices. But based on their “Sell On Wayfair” page – I found otherwise. It appears that Wayfair sets the pricing of the products on their site.
I will note, it was pointed out that a number of the kids names that were on some of the products were children who had gone missing and but had already been found. It’s a valid point, but in and of itself, doesn’t negate the utter bizarreness of products across multiple categories being named kidnapped kids and priced 10x – 100x their standard retail value.
The dark web is real – most of us main stream folks don’t run across it at all, hear about it much or even have a realistic idea of what it really entails. Frankly, I don’t. I suspect it is far more vast and scarier than I can even imagine. Queue Yandex. Just a whole rabbit hole, and I really don’t even know how it related, but it’s all over Twitter so I took a few minutes and explored it.
Twitter references Yandex above – I’d never even heard of it before (I may live under a rock, I check my ego at the door). I too found that Wayfair codes brought up pics of children.
Now, this type of weird overpricing of odd products isn’t limited to just Wayfair. I have also seen it on Amazon and eBay. Let’s look at eBay. Take this $30,000 pillow, for example.
Then enter the product code as the Tweets above indicate. And in the image search you’ll get this:
I wondered what the images link to, you know. So I clicked through – one took me to a crypto currency transfer site (which supports some theories here), and the other one I clicked through linked to someone’s blog. As a blogger, red flags are going off everywhere for me. Many of us blogging parents have long known our social media and blog images end up all over…we accept it…but staring this in the face gave me some major cause for pause.
So I found a random shelf on wayfair that didn’t have wonky pricing, and was only a couple hundred bucks. Ran it in Yandex and got this:
I wondered if all the “codes” entered after SRC USA just lead to these types of images? I made up a number and got this:
I really don’t have a conclusion on the Yandex thing. To be honest I’ve been down the rabbit hole too long and I need to read more about the connection. At a minimum it’s weird and a little unsettling, especially as a blogger.
Do I think a kidnapped kid will ship to my home in an armoire I purchase on Wayfair? Don’t be insane. No. Do I think that someone can negotiate a deal with a sex trafficker on the dark web (or wherever), and then “purchase” an item via a high traffic retailer as a clean and tidy way transferring money? It’s normal to pay a furniture company tens of thousands of dollars, even hundreds of thousands…furniture can legit be expensive- clearing through open and clean channels would enable money to move around without triggering much interest from the IRS or AML (anti-money laundering) or whoever else is supposed to be on top of this.
In theory, this could work on eBay or Amazon. Now, the Wayfair site says they set pricing, so I don’t know to read into that…
So is there a Wayfair conspiracy? I honestly have no idea…but were there product listings with very odd values created by Wayfair? Yes. Were they aware transactions of those items? I have to think yes.
My bottom line takeaway: The names of the excessively priced pillows and cabinets remains weird, unexplained, unaddressed and worth continuing to monitor. I think Wayfair owes the families of the kidnapped children a public apology and explanation of how this happened. At this point, I don’t think we can entirely shut down the theory that these product names and prices mean something more. I require more information to draw conclusions.
I will say this, if there’s one thing I know 100% for sure – it’s that I’m going to be seeing some WEIRD ads for the next few months based on my recent browsing, LOL!
Thoughts? Do you think the whole thing is insane and made-up? Do you think the naming was random or planted or what other ideas would explain it?? There are lots of possible outcomes here, would love to know what you’re thinking!