The inside label carries instructions on washing and caring for the bags. Because the bags are sold in Canada, the instructions are also printed in French. The French version, however, contains an additional phrase: "NOUS SOMMES DESOLES QUE NOTRE PRESIDENT SOIT UN IDIOT. NOUS N'AVONS PAS VOTE POUR LUI."
Translated to English, the phrase reads, "'We are sorry that our President is an idiot. We didn't vote for him.'"
This week, reports have aired on Seattle, Chicago and California NBC affiliates, on Seattle's KOMO radio and the nationally syndicated Paul Harvey radio show, on MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann", and on the Port Angeles cable station PNN. Bihn has fielded inquiries from German, Irish and other international media outlets.
The company has recorded record sales this week -- with sales more than double all previous weeks in the company's history. Customers have flocked to the Seattle and Port Angeles stores to scoop up the bags with the now infamous label. E-mails and calls have poured into the store, with many customers ordering directly from the company's Web site at www.tombihn.com.
The "secret" message began as an inside joke among seamstresses and staff at the Tom Bihn factory, and was apparently intended to poke fun at company's founder and president, Tom Bihn.
Bihn has created a t-shirt featuring the label, and will donate all proceeds of the sale of the shirts to charities that lend much-needed aid to the families of U.S. military personnel, especially the families of injured and wounded soldiers. The t-shirt will be available for purchase online and at both retail stores.