1. 2012

    The gift of versatility

    The “official” start of the Christmas season is here, and you know what that means: rampant commercialism! 5 AM sales, crowded mall parking lots, and frilly and sparkly red and green things that have already been filling store shelves since October August. ‘Tis the season, I guess.

    Anyway, odds are that you’ll be buying gifts for somebody soon — if not for Christmas, then for a birthday or graduation or wedding or some other special occasion, unless you’ve achieved a level of social awkwardness that most of us can only dream of. Shopping for gifts is usually tricky, because you have to guess what to get people. Or at least that seems to be the popular opinion. Personally, though, I have no objection to gifting money, because it’s actually mathematically better.

    Let’s say you’re going to buy me a book (because I did you a huge favor last summer, and what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and shut up it’s a hypothetical scenario). Suppose you spend $25 on this book. I’m certainly going to appreciate the thought, but there might be only an 80% chance than I’m going to like the gift …