My observation about gifting tickets..

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My observation about gifting tickets..

Postby Lord Of Ruin » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:42 am

So, I've read the angst threads about the ticketing situation. Each year for the past 3 years I've been lucky enough to be able to gift a ticket to a stranger.

Last year, the tickets were sold out when I did so.

Each year, the people receiving them were experienced/returning Burners.

Although nothing was asked in exchange, when I met with the person to give them the tickets we struck up a conversation. They'd find out that I have an extra ticket because I volunteer. A lot.

And each year, unbidden, after talking a bit the recipient has promised to do something for me. A gift of service or art. Having been volunteered of their own accord, each promise was a neat little surprise.

And not a single one has ever followed through. None has even sought me out on playa (I am at a very specific address each year) or even post event via email to thank me or reconnect in any way.

It's odd...and it makes me rethink the practice. I mean, I could sell the ticket for face value, then use that cash to purchase things the volunteer group needs to operate on playa. But that seemed so....default world?

I wondering people's thoughts on this. Would you keep gifting them to strangers? IF not, what would you do?

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Re: My observation about gifting tickets..

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:52 am

It seem that I can't "help" anyone by giving them something.

It has never worked out.

Now my "gift" comes with a condition of a specific action involving the person doing someting possitive for themself or another.

This does'nt sound like BM gifting, does it?

How can your gift affect the most people?

Sell it and make your camp better for ALL cocerned?

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Re: My observation about gifting tickets..

Postby Eric » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:58 am

If I was able to gift a ticket I would continue to, and when the recipient starts to "promise" something, stop them in their tracks, point out it's a gift not a trade, and let them know the only request that goes with the ticket is to have a great time.

That make it a true Burning Man gift & gets rid of the expectations that become attached to the gift, even if you weren't the one to attach them.

If that's not how you want to use it, especially in this ticket climate, you could see if your group or any people you know need a ticket for their camp and gift it that way.
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Re: My observation about gifting tickets..

Postby BBadger » Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:34 am

Oh I bet you thought that those "vets" were more useful burners, right? That they would "get" BM more, and do more in the spirit of it because they've been exposed to the good that goes on there more. Well, you can't craft gold from lead. Attendance isn't a metric of "do-er initiative"; that has about as much weight as years being alive. We should all be wary of the person who feels compelled to mention how many years he/she has attended--they are usually the least worthy.

In your case, what those "vets" probably did learn over years of attendance is how to manipulate people into giving them the ticket they feel entitled to. They've fallen afoul of hippy degeneracy (that's kind of redundant). Or maybe they were fundamentally flawed? Either way, the sad result is that the event was actually worse off having them attend because of their parasitic nature.

Some things you can do to extract better results:

  • Make the ticket a reward for demonstrated work. You can even scale a discount on the ticket according to what was achieved.
  • Sell the ticket, spend the money funding initiatives/people you trust. You can't spend promises, favors, volunteering--or their rescinded versions.
  • Bring a friend to BM using the ticket, not a stranger. You really shouldn't be that surprised that strangers (oh, I mean "burners") don't act in the way you had hoped/predicted, or that they'd seek to exploit you--yes, even those "burners".
  • Give the ticket with no strings attached. Now it's just a gift, not a trade for a promise. It's the difference between giving a friend money versus loaning it. No expectations right?

When I think of my own gifting... I don't believe true altruism exists from the side of the giver. My gifts might be considered "trades" in that I gift to people I know and trust (e.g. friends, family). Effectively, I've already received something in return (trust, friendship, etc.). For actual random strangers: well, I'll probably let you have some spare food, or may even some spare lights--if I like you--but don't expect something like a ticket--that requires demonstrated worthiness. The reason? I could be spending those resources on those I actually have real attachments to.
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Re: My observation about gifting tickets..

Postby Karma » Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:08 pm

"We should all be wary of the person who feels compelled to mention how many years he/she has attended--they are usually the least worthy."

That's a pretty un-warranted statement to make, though not surprising I suppose given your tag line.

Eric and Badger are right though in so far as having no expectation of return for the ticket. If you're going to give it away, gift it with no conditions. That's the best feeling in my book.
Last edited by Karma on Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My observation about gifting tickets..

Postby gyre » Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:13 pm

You volunteer a lot, but are surprized when someone doesn't find you?
Seriously?

I made it to Elliot's camp three times one year.
Never saw him.

Missed someone at both our camps many times.
Met all their friends.
Never saw them.
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Re: My observation about gifting tickets..

Postby delle » Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:37 am

I have to agree that it takes some degree of synchronicity to get the expected done on-playa.

I had two things to deliver last year.

One was a thank you to "he who has requested to remain nameless" for an extremely selfless act he made towards my son.

I had amassed a little trove of treasures for him that I thought he and his wife might like. Rather than mailing it out, I'd decided to give it to him personally at the M&G. Unfortunately he never showed up (or I missed him completely -- tho his tag was still on the table by the end).

As it happens, I ended up giving the entire trove away - piece by piece, by the end of the week - to other people.


The other was some money I tried to get to fbcota. Countless trips to the pier -- only to find I'd just missed him -- and NOBODY wanted to take responsibility for it.

I'd sent him a cheque for two of The Pier's fundraiser tickets, knowing I couldn't go. According to a call I got from the bank while in Arizona the week before leaving for the burn, my bank wouldn't honour it since "It looked like he'd kept it in his wallet for a bit too long and it was barely legible".


I think about both of these people on a regular basis, feeling strongly that I still have to make things right one day. In the interim, I run by the first person's example as often as I can, trying to make someone else's day brighter (which is all he really asked for, being that kind of guy). And fbcota's $20 has been passed forward dozens of times in other directions..... properly!

I still expect one day to repay them both, somehow. Just can't say when or how.


So you see, just because you haven't personally received "what was promised" doesn't mean that your gift hasn't had an effect. A good and lasting effect.

We're just not always aware of just what that effect is.

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Re: My observation about gifting tickets..

Postby BBadger » Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:52 pm

Karma wrote:"We should all be wary of the person who feels compelled to mention how many years he/she has attended--they are usually the least worthy."

That's a pretty un-warranted statement to make, though not surprising I suppose given your tag line.


Oh I find it completely warranted, and usually true. I'm not calling people who have attended more years less worthy, rather the people who feel compelled to mention the number of years in attendance, no matter how superfluous that information may be. When such information is "dropped" like that it means the person feels it is some sort of status symbol--a form of seniority.
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Re: My observation about gifting tickets..

Postby oneburningticket » Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:18 pm

It sounds like you're letting the process get the better of you. Why should someone who promises something you haven't asked for and don't need, and then doesn't deliver on that, make a difference? You're not gifting them a ticket on condition of anything, so why bother worrying about it? Maybe they were just off having too much fun thanks to your ticket!

I gifted 2 tickets last year. One of the giftees tried to find me a few times, and left a nice note. She followed up via email afterward and expressed gratitude. I never heard from the other giftee ever again. And both of those outcomes are totally fine, because it's not about me, it's about them. They got to go have that experience. I gave the gift without any expectation of a personal benefit.

I'm giving away a ticket this year again. I ask that the person stop by and try to see me and tell me how their burn is going, but if they don't and we don't connect, I won't be sad or frustrated. Burning man is a crazy environment!
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Re: My observation about gifting tickets..

Postby grEEn EyEd bEllA » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:21 am

This will be my first burn so maybe my thoughts on this are a little irrelevant but when using the term "gift" I would think that would entail not expecting anything in return. - According to Wikipedia, "A gift or a present is the transfer of something without the expectation of payment. Although gift-giving might involve an expectation of reciprocity, a gift is meant to be free. In many human societies, the act of mutually exchanging money, goods, etc. may contribute to social cohesion. Economists have elaborated the economics of gift-giving into the notion of a gift economy. By extension the term gift can refer to anything that makes the other happier or less sad, especially as a favor, including forgiveness and kindness." (SORRY FOR THE WIKI) I personally would have attempted to find you, and give you the biggest hug, or massage, or at least a pretty rock to thank you - but like others have mentioned, perhaps the recepients of your "gift" were perhaps enjoying the experience, or perhaps, they were "paying it forward". Give people the benfit of the doubt, it makes the world a happier place.
Whether you chose to continue to gifting process or chose to go another route, I am thankful to you, and to people like you who have been generous with experience - its not a ticket your gifting - it's opportunity - it's experience - it's selflessness - it's something you can look at yourself and know you changed someones life. Again, this is going to be my first burn, and although I didnt receive my ticket as a gift, I am eager for the opportunity to make a difference, or make chance encounters, make someone smile, make someones day, and hopefully make a lasting impression. You make those with every attempt of kindness you do - take that feeling as your reward - its the best gift you could get in return - warm fuzzies :)
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Re: My observation about gifting tickets..

Postby BBadger » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:23 am

Yes, there really is quite a bit of abuse of the term "gift"--probably because of this "gift economy" concept that doesn't want to admit to bartering undertones. So if you are truly gifting, give, don't trade. I personally like anonymous giving, so that the receiver can't reciprocate (directly to you at least) and you can observe them in their more pure state--their gift to the secret observer.
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Re: My observation about gifting tickets..

Postby lemur » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:56 am

yeah that is the best kind of gift

one year a campmate had these pants that were always fallin down.. and he was the kind of guy to only bring 1 pair to the burn... at one point he was going huck finn style with a rope as a belt.

then one day, as if by magic.. a plastic bag with a brand new set of suspenders appeared in camp.

we knew who they were for.


nobody knows from whence they came, or how the need was observed.. perhaps a neighbor.. perhaps larry harvey himself.. whomever it was.. they did it right.

it was a true gift.
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Re: My observation about gifting tickets..

Postby wh..sh » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:38 am

lemur wrote:yeah that is the best kind of gift

one year a campmate had these pants that were always fallin down.. and he was the kind of guy to only bring 1 pair to the burn... at one point he was going huck finn style with a rope as a belt.

then one day, as if by magic.. a plastic bag with a brand new set of suspenders appeared in camp.

we knew who they were for.


nobody knows from whence they came, or how the need was observed.. perhaps a neighbor.. perhaps larry harvey himself.. whomever it was.. they did it right.

it was a true gift.

This has to be the BEST thing I have heard all year long!
IMO, when you start thinking about who deserves a gift, the whole experience of it is lost.
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Re: My observation about gifting tickets..

Postby remi » Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:11 am

That's terrible. You'd think someone would go out of there way to thank the person who's responsible for them being on the playa!

I donated 50$ for someone making a plee for $$ to buy a ticket to another festival (on the shambhala forum,) and we made plans to meet up at the festival. No only did we meet up, this person made me a couple dozen homemade cookies! It was the highlight of that trip. It's almost like reading the end to a really good book.

I just assumed most people would go the extra mile. I hope this happening to you multiple times hasn't withdrew your faith in people to do the right thing. Sometime, rarely, you may be surprised.

On other note.. big ups to you for doing the right thing, year after year. I tip my hat to you.
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