Message in the Merchandise


The nation’s retailers will tell you his message of change seems to make good cents. Americans are commemorating Barack Obama’s inauguration the American way, buying up feel-good items with the new leader’s image and slogans to show support.

The supply of Obama buttons, ball caps and Victory Plates peddled online and in city streets is barely meeting the demand, giving a boost to vendors who suffered a dreary holiday retail season.

One Washington lawyer who bought a T-shirt from the Presidential Inaugural Committee store told the New York Times, “America is excited about Obama so this all makes sense because when Americans want to express their excitement, they turn to merchandising.” Spotting $70 tote bags by Diane von Furstenberg and Tory Burch, the lawyer wondered if it could all be part of the stimulus program.



None of it appears to be organic, recycled or whittled from responsibly-planted forests, but from what I can tell, stuff sold at official sites like Store Barak Obama appears to be made in the USA, which I suppose is a start. We greenies can turn to sites like Say It Green to customize our own presidential products.

The upside to collecting the genuine political buttons, stamps and other memorabilia is an investment in the future. They could be worth a great deal some day as vintage memorabilia. And of course, they can be quite meaningful to Americans witnessing a day when we have, indeed, overcome so many biases and obstacles of the past.

If you are looking to buy into the message, you don’t have to travel far. The QVC television shopping network has already sold 100,000 items related to the election according to Dallas News. QVC sees today as a chance to hit a wider consumer audience – and will broadcast live from Washington to push pocket watches and other souvenirs. The host will not just display a flawless French manicure but also dress for success…in a ball gown.

I don’t think I will be whipping out my credit card. I am, however, reading Dreams of my Father, my book group’s current selection, to understand more about the struggles and successes that have shaped the 44th president. I can’t wear it or wave it or drink coffee from it, but in my mind, it’s a $15 well spent.

Luanne Bradley

Luanne Sanders Bradley is the West coast Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in San Francisco, California.