by Patrick Appel
Marrying the Apatow debate to the costly gifts thread, Culture Channel editor Eleanor Barkhorn points me to an old exchange between Judd Apatow and his wife, Leslie Mann. Money quote:
One year, as a present, I got Leslie a trip to Italy. We had never visited Europe together, and it was something I knew she would love to do. So I had a basket made with Italian bread, airline tickets to Rome, a guidebook. Stuff like that. Here is the shocking part: When I gave it to her, she got mad at me.
Why is that shocking? It was a terrible present.
It was a great present.
Let me rephrase that. It wasn’t even a present. A trip is something we do together. It is something we would do whether or not it was a present for me. You get to go, so it is for you also. That means it is not a present. It is an activity that would happen anyway.
The gift violates Tyler Cowen's first rule of gift giving: that it can't be something you yourself will benefit from. But it satisfies Cowen's other rule: experiences are better than possessions.