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What Kind of Values Are Inside Those Goody Bags?

October 29, 2000

OK, that was a joke, right? ("Mom's New Status Symbol: Goody Bag," Oct. 22). Mothers spending hundreds of dollars to create perfect, personalized goody bags so their poor guests don't go home disappointed. That really sums up all that is wrong with our society today--overindulgent parents raising spoiled brats. When I was a kid in the early '70s (and this was in Bel-Air, mind you), my mom would hide peanuts in the backyard and give everyone a paper bag to collect what they found. That was the "goody bag," and we all had fun. (The old Super-8 home movies prove it!) I'm proud to say that my daughter is being raised with better values than those reflected in your article.

RISA J. SLAVIN

Porter Ranch

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A woman who spent $700 on goody bags for 4-year-olds and tries to justify it by not using "commercial-type characters"? Children who "need" goody bags and actually ask for them at parties? What you have taught your children, people, is how to be demanding, petty, mannerless little creatures who think they "deserve" things for no reason whatsoever. This attitude will prevail throughout their lives in all its aspects.

I am saddened that a woman with $700 to spare on goody bags because that's "the way [she] does things" didn't find a donation to a literacy project more in keeping with her party theme. Wake up!

This article illustrates how consumerized Americans really are. Mommies trying to one-up each other in the goody-bag department are only teaching their children that it is better to receive.

KELLY FAULKNER

Burbank

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I find it pathetic that these mothers feel they "don't have a choice" when it comes to this ridiculous competition. As a mother of two, I used this article to teach my own children a lesson. That is, when you go to a party that is a celebration for someone else, you don't go thinking, "What's in it for me?" These mothers who are worried the kids will be disappointed unless they get expensive goody bags are the very same moms who will be complaining in a few years that their children are too materialistic and self-absorbed.

PEGGY JO ABRAHAM

Santa Monica

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You know we've stooped to new materialistic levels when articles are written about how much money moms spend on goody bags. Don't get me wrong, I've been there. I have a 16-, 13- and 6-year-old, but never in my life have I ever spent the kind of dollars this article talks about, and I have the money to do it.

Of course people do it, but do we need to read about it? How trivial and plastic our world has become. Some of us are trying to teach our children that no matter how much money you have doesn't mean you spend it on whatever you want. The article was disgusting and a pathetic use of newspaper space. It's truly no wonder that our children grow up with the morals and values they do. Look at what their parents are doing and look at how our press expands on it. How sad.

JULIE S. LEFF

Tarzana

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I very nearly plucked every single one of the hairs off of my head in despair when I read that story about children's party bags. $20 per 6-year-old child? Because "kids remember what they get and what they like"? I think twice about purchasing shoes for my children that cost that much; what planet are these moms on?

More disturbing were the comments of the mothers in defense of this practice. Has not one of these parents invested the time to teach their child that one does not under any circumstances carp at the presentation of a gift? Do these children actually believe that receiving the embodiment of their hearts' desires at each and every gift presentation is necessary for well-being and happiness? I would be mortified if my child ever spoke one single ungracious word when someone offered them a present, and would wrack my brains to rectify that behavior before I would waste a second trying to make sure some other ill-mannered party guest did not do the same at my child's birthday.

More important than encouraging your children to eschew "commercial-type characters" is teaching them to graciously accept those gifts that are offered, the plain and the costly, those selected at Target and those personally ordered at some boutique. Parents do no child a service spending time and money in this absurd attempt to outdo each other's goody bags.

MICHELLE HOISCH

West Hills

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