Sunday, December 15, 2013

My 'PURSE' Gift Giving Plan: A "Practical, Utilitarian and Radically Simple Exchange"

Pinterest photo by Jerry Muladi
As noted on my 12/10/13 blog, trying to find the right gift for people who have far too much stuff already can be a pain. So economist Joel Waldfogel suggests just giving a gift card or writing a check to a favorite charity in someone's name instead.

I love the giving to charity idea, but before you go shopping for gift cards, here's an even more efficient plan, one I've called the "Practical, Utilitarian and Radically Simple Exchange (PURSE for short). In all modesty, I consider it the perfect answer for today's busy and cost conscious shopper, and it can feel way more generous than a $50 gift card.

Here's how it works. You first get your family members, co-workers or friends together and agree to draw names. This makes certain that each person will give something and get something. But my PURSE plan goes further in assuring absolute equality for all, and better yet, it costs no one a single dime. Yes, you heard me right, in the end it costs no one anything, not even a trip to the mall (for me one of the better parts of the plan).

You accomplish this by simply agreeing to give each other money--legal tender, filthy lucre, dough, cash, a check, whichever--but solemnly agree ahead of time the exact amount to be given, which can range from a small to an outlandishly huge amount, say $1000 or even more. Because with the revolutionary PURSE plan, the agreed on amount doesn't even matter, as long as everyone gives (and receives) exactly the same amount.

Is this brilliant or what? It couldn't be more simple or more fair, right? And when your annual Christmas exchange is over no one is a dime richer or a penny poorer. And better yet, no one is stressed, exhausted or disappointed.

True, the economy gets no benefit from this little transaction, but for people who already have everything they possibly need, it's only the thought that counts anyway, right?

And I've even cherry-picked a Bible verse to go with this scheme, "Cast thy lot with us, and we will share a common PURSE."
(Proverbs 1:14, emphasis mine, and with tongue firmly in cheek, of course;-)

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