Apparently, Pottery Barn didn't take kindly to Bob Woodward coining a rule after the housewares retail giant in his new book, "Plan of Attack."

Woodward quotes Secretary of State Colin Powell warning the Bush administration against rushing into war with Iraq: "You are going to be the proud owner of 25 million people. You will own all their hopes, aspirations and problems. You'll own it all." In his book, Woodward continues, "Privately, Powell and [Deputy Secretary of State Richard] Armitage called this the Pottery Barn rule: You break it, you own it."

The retailer's spokesperson "complained bitterly" to the New York Daily News's Lloyd Grove:

"This is certainly not our policy in any of our 174 Pottery Barn retail outlets in North America. In fact, there is no policy regarding this whatsoever. ... If someone breaks a wine glass, for instance, our managers just mark it down as 'out of stock.' The customer isn't asked to pay for it."

The spokesperson probably never heard of the idea that there's no such thing as bad publicity. It might've been just as easy to give Powell a complimentary shopping spree, or publicize a gift of wine glass for him to break at will and free of charge.


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