“Bucks? Bucks? What is he talking about?”

by Yule Heibel on April 16, 2003

Thus spoke Mrs. Bullock in My Man Godfrey. Godfrey, a “forgotten man,” had been brought to a fancy dress scavenger hunt as a trophy find by Mrs. Bullock’s daughter Irene, even as her sister Cornelia brought a rival “forgotten man” who was demanding to be paid, in bucks. Godfrey becomes the Bullocks’ butler, then leaves their employ to help the other forgotten men attain prosperity by turning the city dump they lived on into “The Dump,” an exclusive night club for the rich and famous. Mrs. Bullock, a flighty Park Avenue matron, probably never understood “bucks,” and neither do I, after reading this choice bit of news. Starbucks is suing a tiny little cafe on the Haida Gwaii Islands (also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) because it won’t cease and desist in calling itself HaidaBucks. Graciously, Starbucks’s lawyers are allowing that the restaurant can use the word Haida — it’s only the tribal name of the people on the island — but they claim that “bucks” is practically trademarked. Too funny, right? Not. They’re serious. Never mind that the First Nations call their young guys “bucks,” or that the cafe owners, in their early 30s, all played on a baseball team called the Bucks. Bucks is bucks is bucks is Starbucks, I guess. Oooh, we’re so scared in Canada of US commercial and patent might. Lucky thing we call our dollars “loonies” and “two-nies,” not “bucks,” or those big powerful lawyers with such important things to do (such as represent ridiculous corporate claims) might come up here and really kick our bucks, er, butts, eh? That loonie, by the way, was at 65 cents US when we moved back to BC last June, but it’s gone up to over $0.69 US now. Watch your domestic economy, America.

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