Reader Advice Needed: What Would You Do With a $200,000 Crystal Decanter?
The Smile Train is one of my favorite charities. Combining insightful business-oriented thinking with an unquenchable thirst for helping children born with clefts, in just ten years the Smile Train has completely transformed the lives of over 500,000 people via a simple 45 minute operation.
The Smile Train has a “problem.” It’s a long story, but here is the abbreviated version. Bacardi, the maker of Bombay Sapphire Gin, got together with crystal maker Baccarat, Garrard the jeweler, and designer Karim Rashid, to produce five “priceless” handmade crystal decanters.
Actually, “priceless” is a slight exaggeration: each of the bottles is valued at $200,000.
The plan was to showcase these crystal decanters around the world, then sell them, with the proceeds going to the Smile Train. With the economic downturn, however, no buyers have come forth who are willing to pay the $200,000 price tag.
Consequently, Bombay Sapphire has decided to simply give one of the crystal bottles to the Smile Train, and it is free to do whatever it wants with it.
So here is the question: what should the Smile Train do with the crystal to maximize its benefit to the charity. They are open to just about anything. When I use the phrase “maximize its benefit,” I mean that in the broadest sense of the word, not just the highest sale price.
If by giving the crystal away they could garner media attention that produced an extra million dollars in donations, they would prefer that to selling the crystal for $200,000 without fanfare.
One more wrinkle. There are five of these crystals in existence. If the story is compelling enough, it is possible that Bacardi might be willing to donate one or more of the other crystals to the Smile Train, so keep that in mind as you think about the problem.
Here’s the deal. Submit your suggestions as to what Smile Train should do with the crystal(s) in the comments section. The blog reader who comes up with the best answer, as judged by the Smile Train’s Brian Mullaney, gets a signed copy of Freakonomics and a bottle of Sapphire Bombay gin for her efforts.