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 listed for sale on Wayfair. There were several cabinets, and each were named the last names of various missing children. Wayfair was accused of using these as a means to conduct payments for sex trafficking. They have subsequently been taken down off the site.
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 entirely glossed over original naming pattern:
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. Snopes concluded “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 is being reported by the masses but humor me and come with me down the rabbit hole for five minutes.
Wayfair Sex Trafficking Scandal Based on Multiple Products
While it all started on Reddit about a series of cabinets…in the last day, numerous products surfaced that follow the same pattern of missing child naming and 5 figure 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 images with pillows. Pillows that are, like the cabinets, identical but named various names of missing kids and listed separately. You can go deeeeeep down the rabbit hole on more “weird” findings in images from Wayfair, but for now lets just stick to the product naming pattern of duplicate products, priced excessively. Now it is just weird, right?
Wayfair Sets Product Pricing
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.
…we pay our partners the wholesale cost of their items, and we set the retail price.Wayfair, How to Sell on Wayfair
Wayfair has yet to comment on their naming or their pricing. I don’t know about sex trafficking, but something is going on here.
Update to this Post: Wayfair Owns WFX, Utility Trademark
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 true. However it doesn’t negate the utter bizarreness of products across multiple categories being named kidnapped kids, missing or found, and priced 10x – 100x their standard retail value.
It was also pointed out that hundreds of thousands of kids go missing each year and that means a LOT of names. The pillows I personally looked up were all very unique names. It was not a case of the common first name coincidence, and does not explain the naming pattern.
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The Dark Web
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 exactly related, but it’s all over Twitter so I took a few minutes and explored it.
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Yandex and The Wayfair Sex Trafficking Theory
Twitter references Yandex, a russian search engine, 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. I get all the politics around Russia, and how some may find it related – but to be honest I need to read more about the possible connection myself. At a minimum, I’ll note it’s weird and a little unsettling, especially as a blogger.
Will a Kid Ship with Wayfair’s $10,000 Cabinets?
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 that is done), and then “purchase” a legit item via a high traffic retailer as a clean and tidy way transferring money? Heck, yeah. It’s normal [for some people] to pay a furniture company tens of thousands of dollars, even hundreds of thousands…furniture can legit be expensive so clearing fund transfers through open and clean retail 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 and collect payment, so the elephant in the room is – were there transactions in any of these listings? How long were they actually up?
I don’t know what to think here…it’s one thing when we can blame some random seller/front for doing this, but in this case it appears it is Wayfair corporate that is setting up product listings, prices and clearing the funds. Now if I’m wrong, please let me know…because I think this is a key fact in their level of responsibility.
So is there a Wayfair sex trafficking conspiracy? I honestly have no idea. But were there product listing patterns using missing kids’ names with very oddly high values created by Wayfair? Yes. Is that weird? Obviously. Were there transactions in those items? We don’t know. Was Wayfair hacked? We don’t know. Has Wayfar addressed it explained it sufficiently? Not even close. But I’m standing by.
My bottom line takeaway: The names of the excessively priced pillows and cabinets remains a weird, unexplained, unaddressed issue and is worth continuing to monitor. We need to know if there were actual transactions in those products. Minimally, 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, though I don’t think we can yet say exactly what. I require more information to draw formal 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 searches and 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! Please vote in the poll!
Update to this Post: Wayfair Owns WFX, Utility Trademark
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