Sunday, November 19, 2006

For the Jihadist in Your Life


A reader brings to my attention this candidate for Bad Taste Product of the Year -- a footstool emblazoned with the American flag, carried by our favorite red-ink-gushing online retailer, Overstock.com.

What better and more convenient way to wipe your feet on Old Glory! In fact, it's called just that: the Old Glory Footstool. I'm serious.

This is a perfect gift for the jihadist in your life, whether he be pursuing the crazy "stock market conspiracy jihad" that obsesses Overstock's CEO Patrick Byrne, or perhaps some less imaginative jihad.

On Sept. 8, an Overstock customer pointed out in the footstool's "user reviews" section the dreadful taste at work here, noting "Why would you place an image of our flag on a piece of furniture that will be meeting the undersides of shoes?" The item remained on sale.

One might argue that this is an example of the troubles facing Overstock, whose shares have plummeted as Byrne pursues his "jihad" against the nonexistant "stock counterfeiting."

One might argue that Overstock really needs some better merchandise than junk like this if it is going to reverse its declining sales and plummeting share prices.

Or one might argue that Byrne has hit on a brilliant idea here.

After all, the U.S. isn't very popular in quite a few countries, and I'll bet that what we have here is an effort to tap into that potentially massive market of people who would just love to wipe their footsies on Old Glory.

Note the potential customer below, photographed in Baghdad a few months ago:



Sounds like a winning plan to me.

© 2006 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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Wall Street Versus America was published by Penguin USA on April 6.
Click here for its Amazon.com listing and here for more information on the book, from my web site.

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