Gifting question, opinions please...

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Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby ACfromSAC » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:50 am

I mentioned in an earlier thread that I was planning to bring a large quantity of lip balms out to the burn to share as my gift. Someone mentioned that it may be prudent of me to remove the label from the tubes as part of the spirit of no commerce in Black Rock City. Once I actually had all of them in front of me and realized the time involved with removing all those labels, I thought 'oh hell no' and just left them on. I wasn't wearing any brand labeling on my clothes or anything, just handing them out to folks that I encountered and at one point (when I realized that handing out 1,000 lip balms to folks I was interacting with was never gonna happen) I just stuck a bunch of them in a bucket for people to help themselves to and left it inconspicuously on the corner of 7:00 and G. I did basically the same thing last year and I plan to do this again in future years but after someone mentioned that I may want to remove the labels, I'm curious to know popular opinion... should I remove the labels or is it fine to hand them out as is? One additional reason for wanting to keep the label on is so that folks know I'm not handing them a used lip balm or one that has been tampered with. The label implies that it's clean and safe. Thoughts?
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby junglesmacks » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:58 am

I say absolutely nothing wrong with that. It's the spirit and intentions behind it..

I read somewhere else about someone being gifted a whole little promo pack from someone that was clearly a promo kit with multiple little items in it from the same company. That's lame..

Having an abundance of a particular need that happens to be from one source and gifting it as a gift of fulfilling that need.. That's good.

I may or may not own a natural cosmetics company in defaultia and I may or may not have gifted out hundreds of spare 2oz body lotion tubes to anyone in need of a stash of lotion for their bag or otherwise. Intentions completely pure. It was a spare resource that I was happy to pass along to those in need. Absolute zero intentions of promotion.
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:59 am

It was I who said so. It's about tone on the internet--so hard. If you're just giving out lip balm, great go ahead. If you're trying to push a particular brand--mmmmm, thin ice. I was told that I was being too zealous, and can accept that.
Sorry that I caused you stress, and got snotty about your gifts.
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby ACfromSAC » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:08 am

I preceived no snottiness at all, it just got me wondering. I figured the manner by which I was handing them out that I was unlikely to encounter anyone who thought I was out trying to shove the band in people's faces. Keeping the label on turned out to be a good thing, people got excited when they saw it was 'the good stuff' as many recipients refered to it. One of the main things for me was handing people an unsealed lip balm. I could be handing them a lip balm and a future herpes sore for all they know. I'd be hesitant to use a stick handed to me by some sweaty, bearded weirdo.
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:11 am

Yeah, even when I said that, I knew that Burt's Bees was a highly favored brand.
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby catinthefunnyhat » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:16 am

I really appreciate the reasons for handing them out with an intact seal. Not only does it put the recipients' minds at ease, it also protects them from people who might use a lip balm and put it back, not aware (or not thinking, or not caring) of the germs they would be passing on.

I wonder if it would be possible, since you're buying in such bulk quantities, to get some that are sealed but not labeled, or are perhaps custom-labeled with a Burning Man logo or something like that. Just a thought.
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:19 am

And yes, the unsealed thing is important. I suppose you could put something on top of the label, but I did something like that in 2009 and it was a pita.
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby ACfromSAC » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:22 am

catinthefunnyhat wrote:I wonder if it would be possible, since you're buying in such bulk quantities, to get some that are sealed but not labeled, or are perhaps custom-labeled with a Burning Man logo or something like that. Just a thought.


That would be awesome. Hmmmmmm..... I'll have to look in to this next year.
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby Lonesomebri » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:40 am

Excellent. I don't cover the label of the PBR I'm handing out either. it's always the people full of self-doubt that are the best, they really do try harder. Another option is a small sticker to place over the select tubes you hand out in person, something personal and funny. It's cool that you care about my lips, and I was wondering, with all this talk about mingling germs, the dude who came up to me in deep playa and asked if he could borrow my lip balm, I'm thinking he might have had interest in my lips also....
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby gibson_ » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:44 am

That is a godly amount of lip balm. How did you get that much lip balm?
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby ACfromSAC » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:52 am

gibson_ wrote:That is a godly amount of lip balm. How did you get that much lip balm?

I know people who know people 8)
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby trilobyte » Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:10 am

Buckets of stuff sitting in the dust seem a little odd and impersonal to me, but to each his or her own. Some friends of ours gifted lip balm this year - they found a supplier that they liked and ordered a bunch with customized labels. It was a nice gesture, every time I use it I see the label and think of them and the time we spent on the playa… awesomeness.
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby ACfromSAC » Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:21 am

trilobyte wrote:Buckets of stuff sitting in the dust seem a little odd and impersonal to me, but to each his or her own.

Totally agreed, but the task of handing out 1,000 lip balms seemed impossible after the first couple days. I handed out a good 600 or so personally but it took WORK. Consequently, it turned out to be a fun passtime watching people curiously peer in to the bucket to see what was inside. I got to see some GREAT reactions. Many high fives, quite a few pictures taken of and WITH the bucket. People seemed to really dig the anonymous bucket o' burts.
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby Savannah » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:19 pm

I'm glad you got to watch people collecting your gift. It would drive me wild not to see reactions. I am selfishly invested in seeing the happiness of a gift recipient whenever I can. :D

I suppose leaving the labels on lip balm is understandable, because lips are so personal and vulnerable. If I were gifted a balm, I admit a label would comfort me (as a dedicated germaphobe who nonetheless uses the Burn as exposure therapy). But yes, it really does walk a line to hand out a huge number of labelled things from one company, and a covering sticker would be nice. I work hard on my gifts, some of which are labor-intensive (and too sadly few!) . . . so I don't mind if someone else does, too.

But better they be handed out at all (and thank you!) than not handed out because they have no sticker. But in a mass like that, it is a little promotion-y. Oh, well. I guess you have to settle for near-perfection. Show-off. :D
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby Zhust » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:48 pm

I tend to discourage bulk purchases although lip balm is probably the least offensive (it's at least practical) and the brand is still "below the threshold" of corporate-whore (I don't get how PBR sneaks by ...).

In my mind, bringing a thousand lip balms is an act of giving. Making one awesome thing and finding the person it magically fits with is gifting. But that's just me.
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby AdamOfTheRedEarth » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:58 am

trilobyte wrote:Buckets of stuff sitting in the dust seem a little odd and impersonal to me, but to each his or her own. Some friends of ours gifted lip balm this year - they found a supplier that they liked and ordered a bunch with customized labels. It was a nice gesture, every time I use it I see the label and think of them and the time we spent on the playa… awesomeness.


Our camp did this as well, we also had little bottled of sunscreen with our logo and a carabiner. People seemed to be excited for the gift itself, not the labels so I wouldn't worry about the labels :)
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby MacGlenver » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:22 am

Maybe you could add a cloth cover for the bucket with a slit in it, so that people dont see 1000 sticks of Burts. They would reach through the slit and grab one. Would keep some dust out of the bucket too, and make it a little more of a mystery.

I honestly don't think it's a problem at all to leave the label on, and agree that having the seal on the top is beneficial (necessary, in my book). Would be extra cool to have a custom sticker around the body, but would certainly add a lot of work. I handed out Burts in my virgin burn of 2011 and people loved it. That said, that crap is $2.00 per stick at its cheapest! I spent $80 last year and felt like I was going overboard. Guess I've been shown otherwise :). You must have a great connection.
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby Bob » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:33 am

Speaking strictly for myself, I hate the entire gifting phenomenon, especially how newcomers seem to be coerced into complying with it by impersonally scattering trinkets and samples of health products. It's become something of a cultish rite.

I also assume that anything at bunringman might be a prank, eg lip balms filled with cheese.

My loss, I guess.
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby Savannah » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:46 am

Bob wrote:
I also assume that anything at bunringman might be a prank, eg lip balms filled with cheese.



If it's Havarti, Gouda or Brie, this would be relevant to my interests.
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby MacGlenver » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:03 pm

Bob wrote:Speaking strictly for myself, I hate the entire gifting phenomenon, especially how newcomers seem to be coerced into complying with it by impersonally scattering trinkets and samples of health products. It's become something of a cultish rite.


In many ways I agree. Especially when what your given feels simply like someone trying to check a box saying "I gifted something", despite it being a piece of plastic junk or being really impersonal (though drive-bys can be fun).

I think the way to keep it from feeling mandated and impersonal for me (speaking only from 2 years of experience) is buying extra of something that I personally love or find useful, then wait for someone to actually need/want it (eg. lip balm, para cord, etc). If i dont give it out, I'll keep it and enjoy it myself. Last year I had given out very little of my Burts, but then our neighbor friend came by late in the week and casually mentioned during a conversation how chapped her lips were. I gave her and her camp 5 sticks and she was elated. I think gifting, for me, adds to the sense of openness and community. I'm a semi-libertarian, so I love the concept of self reliance, but Bman and other things are helping me to appreciate the feeling and importance of a community as well. Maybe I was 99% prepared, but I forgot my lip balm. It's nice to know that, although you are self reliant, the community can help to fill those inevitable, human lapses.

Edit: Plus, sometimes getting a random icecream cone is just freaking awesome. We're there to have fun, afterall. :)
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby RedHeaven » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:21 pm

Leaving the labels on, no worries with the lip balm. Its like giving someone a can of canada dry ginger ale. As long as you dont work for the company
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At the BEECharge party, we got good brand beeswax lip balms as gifts and they had Hand glued custom printed little BEECharge labels, with the initial ingredients listed, and their street address in BRC, and some fun bee pics and sayings. It was really freakin extra cool!!!
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby dragonpilot » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:38 pm

I don't do the gifting of "things" any longer, but rather help out when and wherever I can...fixing a bike, securing a guy line, offering a cooling water spray...that kinda thing.

This year we gave a load of mixer to one our fave bars which was well received...and it's the kind of gift that gets passed on.

But, ultimately, the giving of a gift....whatever it is...with no expectation of anything in return may have value to both parties. May it continue.
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby CarrieSnarf » Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:09 pm

I agree with many that leaving the original labels on something of that nature is wise. I would feel more comfortable with a sealed container. I would also love if you went the extra mile and did a sticker or something clever to it.

I think it's a great gift. Keep up the good work.
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby RedHeaven » Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:19 pm

EVen tho the best gifts are gifts of service, getting nice little treats feels good. I love my stickers and necklaces, theyre like little dorky burning man trophies hahahaa
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby BBadger » Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:21 am

Lip balms would definitely be useful. You could also put a sticker on the balms to both seal the lid from tampering and cover up stuff.

As for the gifting concept itself--and this is in no way directed at the OP--I think it's a side-effect of that whole "no commerce" principle to try and avoid bartering in the absence of money. Unfortunately, a lot of people think that gifting is a rite, or some kind of requirement, rather than a true act of gift giving. It's like when people get in the terrible ritual of buying birthday gifts for friends each year. It loses its magic in short time.
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby CornMan » Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:27 am

If you are the owner of a lip balm company, and your gifts of lip balm are actually samples to promote future sales, that possibly presents a conflict of the principle of no-commerce. Since you are gifting the balm as purely a gift and nothing else, I see no problem leaving the labels intact. Does anybody remove the Pabst Blue Ribbon label on cans of beer to be gifted?
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby Bob » Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:36 am

Stickering over the label on a product controlled by FDA notices printed on the label is just stinkin' thinkin'.
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby DocHollingsworth » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:22 pm

In previous years I'vebrought lip balms, Ricola cough drops, trail mix/granola bars and never really focused on changing the labels.. although when I gift those items out, they're usually very well needed by the recipient and not necessarily just to make lite of the gifting exchange.

This year I picked up some lip balms from the Bad Catholics camp.. and they had mini balms, samplers half the size of a thumb; still sealed, with a sticker posted overtop with their camp name and "Our Lady of the Burning Lips. Protect Us." printed on.
Absolutely the coolest and most convenient lip balm I've ever seen on the playa.

If you're gifting out in large amounts, it would be awesome to see custom labels; maybe just have clarity of what the gift is.. medicated menthol balms vs. organic bees wax is a huge difference.

doc.

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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby graidawg » Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:02 am

didn't need lip balm at all last year, this year some of my best memories invlove lip balm. so gift away though the burts bees i bought was awful and the sealed lip balm i found as moop is in my pocket now having served the week perfectly. other memories are available
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Re: Gifting question, opinions please...

Postby Zhust » Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:23 am

I was thinking, and I'd say to remove the shrink-seal on the lip balm. On the one hand, everyone should have a little MOOP bag with them to stow it. On the other hand, well, they should, but it improves the gift if doesn't come with a "now what do I do with this garbage?"

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