Monday, December 16, 2019

Thinking deeper and overthinking about Gift Exchange

Image result for gift exchange

As the year draws to a close, I will limit the investing articles to Dr. Wealth website and something I am working with from the folks of This allows the blog to showcase the more mundane elements about my life.

Last preview ended late and I was able to witness Dr Wealth sales staff conduct a pizza party and a gift exchange.

There are 4 girls in the sales team and they wanted to conduct a gift exchange. Each girl was assigned a number from 1-4 and then these numbers were written on slips of paper. Each girl would draw a slip of paper randomly and take the gift prepared by the girl who was assigned the number on the slip.

You will soon be able to see a problem with this arrangement : During each draw, somehow, one girl would end up drawing their own number, eventually resetting the whole process and requiring a redraw.

Seeing this occur a few times, I suggested that girl simply take the gift from the girl from her left but the girls rejected my idea, saying that the process I proposed was not random enough. ( Which should not matter since they don't know what gift each girl prepared at that time. )

Eventually, through a lucky draw, every girl managed to draw a gift that was not prepared by themselves.

Back at home, I thought perhaps I should have proposed a system that will eliminate the reset but would still seem random enough to be implemented by the sales team.

I would need a six-sided dice and the girls to sit in a circle.

Roll the d6:

  • On a roll of 1-2 : Girl will take gift from girl to the left
  • On a roll of 3-4 : Girl will take a gift from girl to the right
  • On  roll of 5-6 : Girl swaps gift with that from the opposite girl
This solution should work, but there is something amiss about my analysis. I consulted my sociologist friend who is probably just maybe one or two souls who can have this kind of ridiculous conversation with me.

What if the resets were a feature and not a bug ? 

There is something I do not totally understand about the all-female sales team. My friend said that, as frustrating as a reset is to me, redrawing slips is a pro-social event. I suspect it is likely because the anticipation of a gift lasts longer when the girls have to reassign the gifts over and over again.

This opens up a greater mental experiment.

I was not invited to the gift exchange (it's a girl thing) but the girls did tell me that their budget was $5.

What if I tossed a $5 note into the mix. 

Would they prefer my gift or something prepared by their friends ?

For me, it is obvious, I'd jumped at the $5 because I can convert it into anything I want, even something the girls would never buy like a sponge turd from Donki that I can use to troll my kids. 

I'm not too sure how the girls would react because some of the gifts had a lot of heart and I would not be able to buy at least one gift with $5 even if I tried.  

Maybe we should just enjoy the spirit of Giving and not intellectualize too much !

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