A mysterious label that somehow made its way into bags made by a Port Angeles company seems to have contributed to their popularity. The label reads: "Nous sommes desolÈs que notre prÈsident soit un idiot. Nous n'avons pas votÈ pour lui." ('We are sorry that our president is an idiot. We did not vote for him.') Company owner Tom Bihn says, "I'm going with the idea that it refers to me, the president of the company. I do have to say it seems to have struck a chord. A lot of people seem to think that it refers to another president."...

LAUNDRY LABEL CALLING PRESIDENT AN 'IDIOT' A HIT

Reuters
April 29, 2004

Source: Reuters

SEATTLE -- Insulting a president can be profitable, a Washington state bag maker has discovered, but it is best if the insult is written in French and tucked away on a tiny laundry label.

Labels on most of the backpacks, messenger and laptop bags made and sold by Tom Bihn have his company's contact information along with washing instructions in English and French along with a message reading: "Nous sommes desolÈs que notre prÈsident soit un idiot. Nous n'avons pas votÈ pour lui."

The translation reads: "We are sorry that our president is an idiot. We did not vote for him."

Tom Bihn, who designs and makes bags for his eponymous company of 10 employees in Port Angeles, a seaside city 60 miles northwest of Seattle, claims he has no idea how the phrase got onto the label, but credits it with doubling bag sales.

"We don't know how it got there," Bihn said in a dead-pan manner.

Asked if the message refers to President Bush or French President Jacques Chirac, Bihn said he had no clue whom the insult referred to.

"I'm going with the idea that it refers to me, the president of the company," Bihn said, "I do have to say it seems to have struck a chord. A lot of people seem to think that it refers to another president."

The popularity of the bags and interest in the label has also spawned a new product from the company, T-shirts featuring an enlarged version of the label on the front. Profits from these T-shirts are being donated to the Seattle Veterans Center, Bihn said.

The company's products are available at its Web site, www.tombihn.com, its outlet in Port Angeles and its retail store in Seattle.