Saturday, May 24, 2008

Better not to be a bagman

Picking a name for a company brand is never easy. But really, folks need to do a bit more research into the words and phrases they use in their company and brand names.

For instance, I came across a store called Bagman in the newish Jaya33 shopping centre in PJ. This is the one near the old Jaya supermarket (R.I.P.)

For me, the word "bagman" has negative connotations. Or maybe I've just watched too many crime movies and TV programmes.

Princeton U's Wordnet defines bagman as:

(n) travelling salesman, commercial traveler, commercial traveller, roadman, bagman (a salesman who travels to call on customers)

(n) bagman (a racketeer assigned to collect or distribute payoff money)

Wikipedia has a longer definition, and it is pretty much what my idea of a bagman is:

A bag man (or bagman), also known as a delivery boy or running man, is a person designated to collect money in a protection racket. Originally the term applied only to Mafia members collecting for mob bosses, but the term later spread to use in corrupt police precincts where a foot patrolman was the designated "bagman" to pick up and deliver bribes from the local mob(s) to the precinct captain. In many cases, the bagman receives a fraction of the money collected and acts as "insulation" to protect higher-ups from exposure or direct prosecution. The term can also be used for a person who performs small tasks for the Mafia, such as chaffeuring, transportation of goods, or even shakedowns.

The term is also used pejoratively to describe fundraisers for political parties and employees of the IRS.

Now, I'm sure the company produces quality bags. Still, I would rather not go through customs /immigration with a bag labeled "Bagman". Even if you could ignore its association with the underworld, the word still has a "delivery boy" connotation; which high-level executive would want to be seen carrying a "Bagman" product? The company's tagline is also quite amusing, as you can see below (pic links to their website).

Here's another profound quote from their site, under "Message from CEO":


1 comment:

katztales said...

I love this! Bagmen would probably be comforted to know that when tehy go to the other place, they an take their stash with them :-) disproving the old adage...