Marketing of 'Bag Lady' Dolls and the Homeless

As one who has worked with the hungry and homeless both abroad and in Pasadena with World Vision, I have seldom read of a more disheartening example of free enterprise gone awry than that of the "Bag Lady" doll (Metro, April 14).

Laissez-faire can be a marvelous system. With it have come miraculous breakthroughs that help those who follow the Golden Rule to stay relevant in the modern global village. A few examples: a new drought-resistant bean that could help solve the world hunger problem; new heat-stable vaccines that can be stored longer in areas of the world where thousands of children still die every day from common childhood diseases; low-cost construction techniques that could be a solution for our own homeless dilemma in the United States.

But here is a case of the carnival side of free enterprise--profit taking at the expense of another person's misery. The Bag Lady doll's maker claims she is a "cute" depiction of "a slice of American life." He also believes the doll can evoke even more sympathy for the plight of the homeless.

Considering all this positive awareness raising, I'm surprised that we haven't seen an "Ethiopian Famine Victim" doll on the market. With a price tag of $350 each, it would make a lot of cents.

FRED MESSICK

Monrovia

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