Readers respond to Michelle Kennedy's "Mothers Who Sell" and Janelle Brown's "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime for My Gucci Bills?"

By Salon Staff

Published October 4, 2002 9:31PM (EDT)

[Read "Mothers Who Sell," by Michelle Kennedy.]

Hey, I liked this story! As a one-time telemarketer myself, I can vouch for the fact that it is not an easy job by any means. Sometimes you do what you gotta do, until you realize the pointlessness of what you are doing (in some cases) and finally seek another job, thus salvaging whatever amount of integrity you have left.

I don't hang up on telemarketers. I commiserate with them.

-- Pamela Marsh

Stupid ending ... she should have stuck with the job ... what about her kids! The telemarketing had health care and child care ... she could do that, and learn real estate or some other selling thing that she'd be happier with in the evenings, so she could make the transition.

When you become a mommy, you have to give up certain smug self-satisfied thingies, like that rant.

-- Name Withheld

[Read "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime for My Gucci Bills?" by Janelle Brown.]

Maybe Karyn could have gotten out of her self-absorbed world and done what thousands of other financially challenged people do in this country. Get another job, sell ALL of her expensive wardrobe, get into debt counseling, and start cutting coupons.

I was in debt like Karyn and I got out the old-fashioned way: I went to live with my parents because I had a chronic illness that prevented me from keeping a job. I got well, got a job, commuted one hour each way, bought at K-Mart, splurged at Macy's, got cheap haircuts, etc. etc. etc.

I know lots of people like Karyn, but asking for help in order to "banish credit card debt" by soliciting donations over the Internet turns my stomach. She still has fancy clothes, perfect hair and makeup, and eats at nice restaurants. Too bad she can't be jailed for impersonating a poor person -- then she'd see what poor is really all about.

-- Leslie Norman

The article about SaveKaryn.com was the most revolting thing I'd read since Bush's comments about the Senate last week. I too, lived a bit beyond my means in my early 20s -- though not quite as Karyn did. My first jobs paid so little I used credit cards to buy groceries and say, the occasional clothing from TJ Maxx when I needed clothes for work. I am not "sitting on my butt filing bankruptcy" -- I am taking responsibility for my choices: working harder than I want to, living more frugally than I want to (I live in an apartment and a neighborhood which I'm sure isn't hip enough for Karyn), and working toward getting myself out of debt.

I too have worked in television, and I too was laid off last December. When I needed money, I temped, I took a job that wasn't glamorous, I bought the store brand mac and cheese instead of Kraft.

The thing that pains me most is that I am now working for a legitimate charity, one that funds soup kitchens, orphanages, keeps destitute seniors from having to choose between food and medicine. I see people on fixed incomes giving as much as they can to help people who are truly starving and in need. We watch overhead expenses with scrutiny, striving to be good stewards of our donors' money.

The fact that Karyn would judge a panhandler for what he might spend her dollar on, and yet feels no shame at spending her donors' money on a manicure only reveals her lack of intellect. I pity her -- not because of her debt, but because of her shallow, narrow outlook on life.

-- Maggie Rubin

Un-f*cking believable. That's all I can say. Karyn -- I really hope life does bitch-slap you at some point when you're no longer so perky and possessed of such unmitigated gall.

Is it jealousy as Karyn suggests? No. It's the fact that being cute, perky, remarkably self-absorbed, and shameless seems to matter to her donors more than real need.

Jesus. Single moms working two and three jobs, and this little manipulator gets strangers to pay down her Gucci bill. What a waste of oxygen you are, Karyn.

And what an impoverished culture that subsequently offers book and movie deals to some bimbo who simply thinks she's too cute, funny and entertaining to resist.

There really is no God.

-- John Clark

I'm absolutely disgusted, and hoping that this story is a clever hoax. That a spoiled, privileged brat like Karyn would toss money down a Gucci-lined rat hole, and then beg for alms when the good times end, is beyond the pale. And she won't spare a dollar to some guy on the street because he's "crusty"?

Perhaps even worse are the people quoted in your story as thinking that this worthless excuse for a human being is more worthy of their largesse than, say, the Red Cross or the United Way.

Karyn, you got yourself into your predicament through stupidity and greed. Instead of being a pathetic leach, did you ever consider working two or more jobs -- or working at all? (Clapping your hands for a TV show audience isn't work.) Many of us have to do just that, not to pay for useless, overpriced gewgaws, but for frivolous things like food and shelter.

Thanks Karyn, you've actually bumped George W. and Dick Cheney from the top of my list of most disgusting Americans for this week.

-- Bryan Hurst

Salon Staff

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