Gifting, differences between getting a gift and a handout

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Gifting, differences between getting a gift and a handout

Postby Rice » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:36 pm

Ok, here is how I see this.

If I am talking to random hopeful attendee and they offer me money for a ticket, but I decide to give it to them that is a gift.

on the other hand:

If random hopeful attendee asks me to give a ticket to them for free, and I foolishly do, I am giving out a handout. - I do not see that as a gift.

Basically, a gift is something freely given to the recipient without being asked. A handout is the exact opposite.


Many burners get this. Some do not.


YMMV
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Re: Gifting, differences between getting a gift and a handou

Postby jkisha » Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:42 pm

I agree.
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Re: Gifting, differences between getting a gift and a handou

Postby tummler » Sat Aug 24, 2013 10:10 am

Yes, yes! A thousand times yes.
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Re: Gifting, differences between getting a gift and a handou

Postby BBadger » Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:27 am

No, that is not the difference. The distinction comes from the expectations of the side of the transaction the person is on:

A gift is determined by is on the side of the giver: providing something to someone with no expectation of receiving something in return.

A handout is the expectation of the receiver: receiving something with no expectation to provide something in return.

For example, take the panhandler on the corner of the street money asking for money: is the panhandler with the sign simply asking for money really any worse than the guy pretending that he'll actually "work for food"? No matter your prior knowledge, you're still gifting them money if you don't ask for anything in return. Even if you believe their stories including an exchange of work for pay, they're both still asking for handouts.

What you're describing is conditional gifting. Now you've placed conditions and expectations on your gift: you now want something in return, such as offering to pay, even if it doesn't have monetary value. Maybe it's not a pure "gift" at that point?

I'm not saying there's something wrong with that. We should always discriminate.

Still, you should own what you want out of the gifting process, not believe that there's an objective standard to all of this. If you don't give a ticket to a certain burner the reason is ultimately: "I don't think you're worthy of the ticket." You can give reasons, but basically leave it at that.
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Re: Gifting, differences between getting a gift and a handou

Postby littlebird » Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:46 pm

In my opinion there is no such thing as "conditional gifting." By definition, a gift is something given freely with no expectation of any sort of compensation. One cannot ask for a gift. When you ask for something, it becomes a favor. Asking strangers for $400 is in poor taste, no matter what the situation, and to feel that you are deserving of that is ludicrous. So is getting angry when the favor is denied, as one particular poster did a few days ago.

Ultimately, if I were to have a ticket to gift (which I definitely don't; I could barely afford my own ticket), any person engaging in the sort of behavior I've described above is not someone I'd prioritize in my decision on who to gift the ticket to. That person may indeed be generally very kind and benefit greatly from the ticket, but the fact that they have asked me for it despite the fact that I haven't offered them one (and, to boot, we don't have a personal relationship), means that they are very unlikely to get a free ticket from me. I'll admit that a huge factor in my decision to put them low on my list is that i find that sort of behavior presumptuous, in poor judgement, and, depending on my mood, mock-worthy. But it doesn't mean that I've come to the conclusion that they're a bad person and generally aren't worthy of a gifted ticket. It's their behavior that I disapprove of.

By the way, I do give panhandlers money from time to time, though I mostly prefer to give them food so that I know for sure that I'm not enabling possible substance abuse. But a huge difference is that the person is not asking me for $400, or even a specific amount in most cases. Also, food is a necessity. A Burning Man ticket, not so much.
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Re: Gifting, differences between getting a gift and a handou

Postby BBadger » Sat Aug 24, 2013 4:30 pm

I actually don't believe there is such thing as "conditional gifting" in the pure sense either. It's more a term applied to this gifting term where now the exchange has a condition attached instead of something like an expectation or direct value exchange.

As for the impurity I'm referring to, this comes from the fact that I believe that there are no true gifts. In other words, there is no willing transfer of goods that is not tied to a condition, expectation, or something taken in return. The conscious act of gift-giving is really an exchange and we just use the term "gift" instead of "exchange" or "trade" when we're not bartering for goods of value (monetary, influence, etc.). So instead of money, maybe the exchange is in some personal satisfaction for the object. Maybe you choose a person for the "gift" under the condition that you expect the person to use the gift, not sell or waste it. Perhaps you only give things to people because they meet some financial criterion -- e.g. they're poor.

"Gifting" in the sense of Burning Man takes a more legal meaning related to commerce: you don't exchange goods of value for each other. It helps avoid bartering and other commerce at the event that would need to be regulated or taxed. It also creates a climate where people aren't thinking in terms of money and value; Casinos also attempt to facilitate this feeling this by having people use chips.

In the sense of personal gifting it's probably the same kind of thing. It's a gift if no money or work is exchanged, even if there is some satisfaction involved with the exchange.

Maybe the only true gifts are those you give yourself. That way you are in full control of the giving and receiving. Even then, most people will place conditions on rewarding oneself. Maybe even that can't be pure gifting.

My position on "gifting" still holds: you should "own" your transaction and not believe there's an objective standard for gift giving. It's only a "handout" if you think your "gift' is being wasted on an individual -- that is, your exchange is not satisfactory. That's up to you in the end.
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