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Letters: On locavore-ism and Avon’s business model

Kai Ryssdal Dec 15, 2011

Kai Ryssdal: David Gura was telling us that given the jobs numbers out today, there may finally be light at the end of the economic tunnel we’re in.

Daniel Jordan wrote to say he wants to hear more about that. He’s the V.P. of sales at a lumber and homebuilding company in the Mississippi delta.

Daniel Jordan: The lumber and building materials business was arguably the hardest-hit area of the economy. We’re doing well. There is work out there, and some people are doing well in this economy, despite what you hear on the national news.

I talked to Stephen Dubner the other day for our regular Tuesday dose of Freakonomics about food and, indirectly, the local food movement. Dubner paraphrased economist Tyler Cowen, who’s got a new book out, as saying we need better technology and business sense to feed all the world’s hungry, not locavore-ism.

We joked that we’d get some nasty letters from local food lovers. But you went easy on us. Deb Williamson of Catlett, Va., sent us this.

Deb Williamson: There are ways to cook great local food inexpensively. But even if what Cowen says is spot-on — good. By all means, yes, let’s tax the rich by selling them expensive local food because purchasing local food directly benefits some of the people at the lowest of all income levels: small farmers.

Finally, on our story yesterday that Avon’s struggling with its famous ‘Avon calling’ business model. Kelly Zatkowski of Woodstock, Ga., says Avon don’t need to fix the way it works. They need to scrap it.

Kelly Zatkowski: I used to sell for Mary Kay. My mom used to sell for Avon. And the only way we really could make any money with this approach was to recruit more and more consultants. It wasn’t just about the sales, which is not necessarily laid out to the person who is joining either Avon or Amway or Mary Kay or any of these companies.

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