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Goodie-Free Bags

It is ironic that the people who least need gifts are the ones most likely to have gifts lavished upon them. The goodie bags at the Oscars are legendary.
I get a small taste of the goody-bag life from time to time. I could barely lift the bag of presents I received when I went on the Daily Show, for instance.
Bill Clinton, who no doubt gets smothered in gifts, is trying something very different at this year’s Clinton Global Initiative. According to Ian Wilhelm, writing in the Chronicle of Philanthropy:

Clinton Meeting Skips Swag, But Offers Other Perk
If you paid $20,000 to attend a conference, you’d probably expect a gift bag stuffed with books, gadgets, or other goodies.
But participants at this year’s Clinton Global Initiative — who do pay that amount to be here — are only getting an empty bag. Former president Bill Clinton said the decision to cut back on gifts was in part driven by the economy, but he also wanted to be different than other big world meetings.
In place of the swag, attendees get “200 points” that can be spent at the so-called Giving Back Center, a kiosk where they can allocate their points to various charitable project donated by corporations and charities.
For example, 10 points or so can go to a water filtration packet from Proctor & Gamble, which manufactures the small powdered product that reduces parasites, bacteria, and other contaminants.
While the points are symbolic, how they are spent will indicate what projects people at the Clinton meeting find important.

I especially like that last paragraph; not only is Clinton doing something different, but there is an economic twist to it. By letting people allocate their points, it is revealing attendees’ preferences as well.
(Hat tip: Linda Jines)