Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor Day Freakonomics Schwag

A day to rest from our labor, to appreciate the fruits of some union organizer's labor on our behalf.

Wikipedia says:

Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September. The holiday originated in 1882 as the Central Labor Union (of New York City) sought to create "a day off for the working citizens". A big thank you to those folks, wherever they may be.

It's a good day in Austin. I am having a cup of tea, sitting by my window with morning sun streaming in. It looks like Hurricane Gustav is downgrading, so that's good news.

I found a Freakanomics blog on the NYT site. In looking around, I found their schwag page. I've wondered about the term schwag.

A marketing site defines it as:

The original spelling is "swag" (for Stuff We All Get). A little web research has revealed that there is definitely a widespread use of the term, but no real consensus on the "correct" spelling. One site explained "schwag is what the coolest of the cool people say" and another site indicated it's "called schwag if the item is particularly good."

The Urban Dictionary has the right idea, though:


1. Any free or extra goods, usually given to employees or workers.

2. Low grade marijuana

3. A rock & roll band based in St. Louis, Missouri

1. The whole crew got shirts and other schwag after loading the band's gear.

2. This schwag won't get me high, but I keep trying.

Here's an interesting site Schwag Addict.

And there's even a blog that warns of the negative impact of schwag on the environment. Bag the Schwag - O'Reilly Radar

I'd always assumed that the term schwag was pot slang co-opted by the companies, but this morning's research suggests that it's the other way around. Further investigation of the matter is needed.

Here's a photo of my schwag from Netroots Nation .
Netroots Nation schwag - Part 1
Netroots Nation schwag - Part 2


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