Bailey83221 (bailey83221) wrote,
Spur-of-the-moment thought clicks with critics of Iraq war;
A Maine man sells 250,000 anti-war bumper stickers over the Internet.

Portland Press Herald (Maine)

January 22, 2003 Wednesday

Pg. 10A

JOSHUA L. WEINSTEIN Staff Writer

Back in August, Craig Brown was sitting in his office in Portland's Old Port, worrying about the prospect of a war with Iraq, when he decided to print anti-war bumper stickers.

He sat down at his computer and, in not too much time, came up with a blue-and-white design with the message: Attack Iraq? NO!

Since Aug. 21, he has sold more than a quarter-million of the stickers through his Web site, www.commondreams.org, and he has orders for another 30,000.

Brown, who was chief of staff for former U.S. Rep. Tom Andrews when he represented Maine's 1st Congressional District from 1990 to 1994, is not getting rich off the things. In fact, he's selling them at cost - $2 for one sticker, $10 for 10, $30 for 100 and $200 for 1,000.

"We're breaking even," he said Tuesday, before adding, hopefully, "We do have our Web site address at the bottom."

Most of the money, in fact, has gone to the printer, the post office and the bank.

Brown said he "first put a little notice up on our Web site - I think it was the last week of August - and we had 5,000 printed up and they were gone in about two days."

Since then, demand has barely stopped, with orders coming in from every state and from around the world.

"It's been pretty steady, which was good in that we would have been swamped if it had all come at once," he said.

Requests slowed during the holiday season, but they have roared back.

"It tells me that the American people are against this war, and also that the Internet has become a powerful new tool for organizing," he said.

The average order is for 15 stickers. And Brown said customers are enthusiastic.

"People are e-mailing us and saying, I put one on my car and every day I get stopped asking where I can get one, so send me a hundred so I can start giving them out to all the strangers asking for them."

A column in Sunday's Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that a retired pediatrician from Cleveland, Ingrid Lantner, saw one of the stickers while cross-country skiing. She was so moved, the column says, that she found a piece of paper and wrote "Bravo!" and placed it on the windshield. After that, she decided to fly to Washington, D.C., to participate in the anti-war rally there.

Before seeing the sticker, she had never protested.

Brown is gratified by that, gratified that so many people have ordered stickers from his Web site.

But he worries a bit.

"At this point," he said, "everybody wants them before they're obsolete."

Staff Writer Joshua L. Weinstein can be contacted at 791-6368 or at:

jweinstein@pressherald.com

GRAPHIC:
Staff photo by John Ewing
Craig Brown in his Old Port office on Tuesday. He says the popularity of his bumper stickers tells him "the American people are against this war."
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