'Tis the Season to Get What You Don't Want
Picture this: Christmas morning, tchotchke-free. This week on the Freakonomics Radio Marketplace segment, Stephen Dubner proposes an idea that might finally put an end to holiday deadweight loss. Remember that patchouli-infused candle your loving aunt gave you last year? You wouldn’t dream of paying more than $1.99 for it, and she paid $30. That’s $28.01 in deadweight loss — money that could have been so much better spent. The holidays are full of this kind of inefficiency, because, for whatever reason, most of us find it déclassé to tell people what we really want.
Sociologist Viviana Zelizer says gifts are meaningful exchanges that signify something important about your relationship. (That ceramic frog your significant other gave you? Sorry. Means there isn’t as much significance as you thought …) We unwrap why it’s taboo to directly ask for what we want, and come up with a solution to stop all this waste. We’ll see if Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal buys it. After all, it’s the thought that counts, right?