Obama merchandise booms with action toys, fake nails, stickers

January 20th, 2009 - 6:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 20 (DPA) Barack Obama is everywhere: on T-shirts and stickers, fake nails and skateboards, plates and coins, patches and watches.The numerous souvenir shops, street stands and informal vendors in Washington and the thousands of items for sale are the most conspicuous symptom of the severe Obama fever gripping the nation.

The sellers are making a killing, after a lagging tourist season, from the celebrations for Obama whose inauguration as the country’s 44th and first black president Tuesday is drawing record crowds to the nation’s capital.

The Political Americana souvenir shop not far from the White House offers everything one can think of with the face or the name of the incoming US president, from coffee mugs to chocolates, from golf balls to necklaces.

“The Obama bobblehead toy is what sells best,” says manager Jim Warlick.

Every four years since Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in 1981, Warlick opens shops featuring presidential stuff - kitsch and otherwise.

But the extraordinary excitement around Obama is something special even for the experienced salesman.

“Everything with his face on sells itself,” he says. “People simply love him.”

In case the assortment of street vendors and souvenir shops is not varied enough, people can try their luck on the internet. Online shops even offer sports shoes and skateboards with Obama’s picture.

The Potus 1600 perfume is advertised “in Honour of Barack Obama” as a “fragrance you can believe in” - a play on his “change you can believe in” campaign slogan.

“A clean, refreshing blend of citrus, green leaves and marine fragrance,” the website says.

Pets too can show their preference for Obama: dog bowls with the words “Poodles for Obama” or “Rottweilers for Obama,” or more simply “dogs for Obama,” have been devised to pronounce allegiance at floor level or in the garden.

In the studios of the Minxnails chain, one can even get fake nails with Obama’s picture.

And there are Obama dolls of all sizes. Doll designer Jason Feinberg created among other things an action figure dressed in gold “for inauguration balls.”

However, it is abccarpet.com that offers the most expensive fan article: a designer swivel chair with multiple prints of Obama’s portrait that is going for $2,500.

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