Friday, November 28, 2008

Buy Buy Buy Give Give Give

Things I know from watching TV yesterday. If, on Christmas, I receive the Garmin Nuvi GPS device, I'll know that the gift buyer was swayed by the non-stop Walmart ads touting the $97 GPS device. One out of every three commercials was the Walmart Garmin ad, which seemed to say, "They're soooooo cheap you'd have to be a tightwad not to buy one! Seriously. It's only $97 dollars, but it feels like it's $200."

I also watched Oprah yesterday, and the whole program was devoted to her “Pass It On” campaign (i.e. Pay It Forward), where she had Bank of America give one thousand dollars to a bunch of people on the condition that they spend the cash on a complete stranger. And in story after story, the initial $1000 gift always seemed to turn into a lot more once others got into the spirit of giving. One woman used her thousand dollars to purchase four round-trip flights so that family members on one island in Hawaii could visit their kids at a children's hospital on another island. And when she went to buy the four tickets, a touching thing happened. The airline decided to give her forty roundtrip tickets. Forty! And Oprah explained that when you give, it comes back to you ten-fold (I don't remember her exact numbers). I would argue that this theory is missing one element: Oprah camera crews. If you give, AND you have an Oprah camera crew following you, businesses will find it in their hearts to make a grand gesture. Go! Airlines will give 40 round-trip tickets to families of sick children. Sony will donate DVD camcorders to document the touching moments. Bank of America will donate the $1000 checks. And on and on. If I go to Bank of America and ask for one thousand dollars to give to a person in need, I think they'll turn me down. That said, if anyone works for Bank of America and wants to give me $1,000 to give to someone else, I will take that challenge, the non-Oprah challenge of seeing how much good I can do without a camera crew to document the moment.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I spent the day doing NOTHING. NOTHING! And now I'm sore from my complete lack of movement.


Butternut said...

Does Best Buy count as a total stranger?

I tell you what Laura, I'll give you $1,000 and you give me $1,000. There, all done. I feel like such a philanthropist.

I hope you had a good Thanksgiving doing all that nothing. I'm still trying to figure out a way to do an Atheistic Christmas. I got about a month. Any ideas?

Laura Swisher said...

we once had a christmas tumbleweed instead of a tree. that seems atheist-ish. don't know where you'd find a tumbleweed in CA. also, they're hell on carpets.

"Z" said...

take a hint from Seinfeld Butternut & try a metal pole for festivus (sp). at the very least you'll drum up some laughs.

Butternut said...

Brass stripper pole. Good idea!

Tim said...

Oprah's prime time show The Big Give where she did this in a "voted off the island" format was worth watching a few times except for the excruciating voted-off part at the end of each episode.

You know it wouldn't be hard to fake a camera crew. You could really have some fun with that. I could be key grip.

Laura Swisher said...

You're my grip, then. The challenge is on!