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Steve Chiotakis: I think you probably remember President Bush’s duck and cover press conference from Iraq a week or two back. An angry Iraqi journalist threw his pair of shoes at Mr. Bush. That’s a major insult in Arabic culture and the double pitch made the reporter a hero in the Arab world. It also gave a nice kick to one Turkish shoe cobbler’s business. Here’s Daniel Estrin.
Daniel Estrin: Ramazan Baydan knows a model 271 when he sees it.
Ramazan Baydan (voice of interpreter): I have a special relationship with that shoe.
Shoemakers from Lebanon to China have also insisted to be the maker of those shoes. It’s pretty much impossible to know for sure, because American officials destroyed the evidence in security tests.
But Baydan’s early claims to the media successfully made him a shoe-in for fame and fortune. He’s hired 100 extra staff to keep up with the 400,000 plus orders that are coming in from around the world. Around 120,000 pairs were ordered from Iraq, and one U.S. company requested 18,000 of them.
All in all, it’s four times more than the average yearly sale of Model 271. The Baydan Shoe Company has now rebranded the shoe “Bye Bye Bush.”
I’m Daniel Estrin for Marketplace.
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