Break all you want, they’ll make more

I haven’t read the new Bob Woodward book, Plan of Attack, yet, but I gather that the one person who comes out clean–or at least only partially soiled–is Colin Powell. In one passage I’ve read online, Woodward says that Powell cautioned the President about invading Iraq: “You are going to be the proud owner of 25 million people. You will own all their hopes, aspirations and problems. You’ll own it all.” Woodward goes on to add, “Privately, Powell and [Deputy Secretary of State Richard] Armitage called this the Pottery Barn rule: You break it, you own it.”

Um nah, says Pottery Barn. In one of the best PR responses I’ve seen in a while, the company (or rather, its parent, Williams-Sonoma) officially objected to the characterizaiton of a you-break-it-you-own-it rule. “This is certainly not our policy in any of our 174 Pottery Barn retail outlets in North America. In fact, there is no policy regarding this whatsoever.” The PR manager, Leigh Oshirak, added “A good percentage of Pottery Barn’s inventory is beds and other furniture, and we do sell ceramics, glassware, kitchenware and other things that are breakable. But if something breaks, that’s the cost of doing business. We always put our customers first – that’s part of our corporate values. If someone breaks a wine glass, for instance, our managers just mark it down as ‘out of stock.’ The customer isn’t asked to pay for it.”

So, with that in mind, I’m off to test drive some metrosexual-chic furniture. Forgive me if I get a little rough.