Monday, February 14, 2011

Steelers and World Vision Beat Zambia in Super Bowl

Before each Super Bowl or other major sporting event 2 sets of 100,000 of World Champion t-shirts and hats are printed for each team. The winning team's merchandise (the year the Packers!) gets sold to Cheese Heads, while the losing teams merchandise are denoted to World Visions. World Vision then gives out free t-shirt in countries like Zambia, Armenia, Nicaragua, and Romania.

What could be so bad about free t-shirts? In the US at a game fans will cheer widely and jump in the air for a single free t-shirt. The blog Good Intentions are Not Enough has a run down of why the free t-shirts are so bad.

In short it hurts local clothing seller (since you can't compete with free), the merchandise company may get a big tax write off even though the t-shirts are nearly worthless, and World Vision gets to add the t-shirts to it's funds distributed helping it's overhead ratio.

I generally agree with the blog post. I'm not 100% sure free shirts couldn't offset the purchase of other clothing and help the poorest of the poor (if that is who gets the t-shirts). I do think selling the losing t-shirts in the US as a collectors items and using that money to help aid organizations or give it directly to the poor would help more. Although a link in the blog post suggests the demand for losing shirts isn't that much.
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