LAST CALL: Name-dropping epidemic leaves Enron powerless

We suppose some names have been more sullied. Hitler for example. Bin Laden. Judas. But the way people have been running from the tilted E lately, one would think it had sprouted a number six from each prong.

We suppose some names have been more sullied. Hitler for example. Bin Laden. Judas. But the way people have been running from the tilted E lately, one would think it had sprouted a number six from each prong.

From the mighty to the humble, organizations are scraping the Enron logo off lifeboats as the mother ship sinks.

The Houston Astros seemed stuck with the name, now synonymous with shady dealings, at least through August, since Enron was current on naming rights payments until then. The team ultimately paid $2.1 million to buy out the contract.

A Boys & Girls Club in a low-income Houston neighborhood was more concerned with keeping the doors open when Enron couldn't make good on a $2.4 million pledge. Businessman Michael Holthouse saved the day with a $1 million donation, and the club wasted no time in replacing the "Enron Boys & Girls Club

sign with one bearing his name.

The Enron Federal Credit Union not only is changing its name, but it will also have to adjust membership rules to stay in business. "There have been a few (merchants) who've refused to take checks or credit cards because they have the Enron name on them,

said marketing director Stephanie Olszewski.

Professors at several universities, whose jobs are endowed by Enron or Kenneth Lay, aren't as lucky. They're stuck with their titles and the associated ribbing.

Even Enron itself says it eventually will abandon its name. "It's unfortunately come to mean a lot of things. None of them good," spokesman Mark Palmer told The Washington Post.

Luckily, Enron isn't a real name anyway. It's one of those made-up words branding companies think up and test to make sure they don't mean "money pit

in Cantonese. So sooner more likely than later, it will go the way of emu ranching, New Coke and Whitewater Savings & Loan.

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