But the product got more publicity than it bargained for with an ad posted this week that played on the image of the famous Rosie the Riveter "We Can Do It" poster from World War II. The Rosie image is particularly popular in Richmond, where the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park commemorates the entry of women and minorities into the workforce.
The ad, since pulled, for the Swiffer-Bissell steam mop featured a woman with a polka dot bandanna holding the new product in her folded arms in the "We Can Do It" fashion of the poster.
That brought quick criticism, most notably from a Washington Post blog that questioned the idea of using Rosie to promote cleaning the kitchen instead of breaking barriers in the workforce: "Who thought this was a good idea? What ideas did they reject? Feminine Mystique: The Perfume from Calvin Klein? Using Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony as Before and After images on a weight-loss poster? Using Lady Macbeth to sell hand sanitizer? Using The Lorax to sell cars? (Oh wait.) Using Cookie Monster to promote vegetables -- dang it, reality! Rushing miles ahead of all the most extreme examples."
The company has since been posting apologetic messages on Twitter that note it is trying to remove the offending image: "Our core value is to make cleaning easier, no matter who's behind the handle. We apologize and are working hard to remove the image."
On the spot, the judge ordered the woman to take a drug test. A female sheriff's deputy was finally freed to administer the test, only to return from the restroom with an empty cup, saying the woman could not urinate.
The bailiffs informed the judge, who sent back the message that she had 10 minutes to produce a specimen or she would be remanded.
The woman left with the deputy to try again, and they returned about a half-hour later.
The test returned positive for both marijuana and methamphetamine, and the woman was handcuffed and taken into custody.
On Memorial Day, the trees along 24 were slightly swaying in the breeze. The sky was clear; the valley vista pristine. Traffic was light and, heading east, this slice of East Bay nature was tranquil.
Tranquil, until a doe-eyed piece of nature somehow made it across four westbound lanes, hopped a concrete median, and scampered into eastbound traffic in front of The Eye's swerving SUV before the impact at 65 mph sent the deer splattering across the bumper, grill and windshield in a mess of blood, guts, hair and other unsightly and smelly substances, to the screams of the vehicle's occupants.
After a safe exit off the freeway, The Eye and his passengers began counting their blessings. Though no harm should ever be wished upon an animal and the damage to the SUV cost upward of $3,500, the incident did provide a somewhat fitting exclamation point to the Las Vegas bachelorette party weekend The Eye's fiancee and the vehicle's two other passengers had just lived through before being picked up at the airport ahead of a tranquil trip down Highway 24 on their way home.
The would-be volunteer later emailed her ability to find the department. Turns out she lives in Pleasant Hill, Iowa.
"I guess our education initiative is so popular that even people from out-of-state are willing to volunteer," an official with the initiative emailed The Eye.
Staff writers Chris Treadway, Matthias Gafni, Tim O'Rourke and Craig Lazzeretti contributed to this column.