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Published:December 6th, 2008 16:01 EST
free soup.

Exclusive Boutique Offers Free Soup And Coffee

By Robert Paul Reyes

"You know the economy is ailing when a Manhattan fashion boutique starts offering free soup.

The temporary fashion boutique calling itself The 1929 is selling chic clothes and giving away soup and coffee. The store is located in one of the trendiest shopping districts in the city."

The Associated Press

The words "free soup" conjure up images of soup lines during the Great Depression and of present day rescue missions that cater to the homeless and working poor. When I lived in San Francisco I volunteered at a rescue mission; I served hot meals to folks dressed in clothes that resembled rags.

But the customers of "1929" are attired in haute couture, and they consider the free soup a perk and not a means of survival. This publicity gimmick is an insult to the down and out who depend on soup lines to survive.

By calling the boutique "1929" (same year as the start of the Great Depression), and offering free soup the boutique owners are trivializing the pain and humiliation suffered by survivors of the Great Depression.

Manager and co-owner Aaron Genuth should be ashamed of himself, the least he should do is donate part of his profits to soup kitchens. Better yet he should volunteer at a soup kitchen and meet some of the folks who consider free soup a godsend and not a gimmick.