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Do you share the winnings?

It’s your birthday. Four of your friends together buy you one lottery ticket as a present. You win $5 million. Do you share the money with these friends, who only spent $0.25 each on your birthday present?

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11 Comments

  1. How about this —

    It’s your birthday. Four of your acquaintences, who each have 25 billion dollars in the bank, choose to give you $4 million (1 million each) as a birthday present, when they could’ve given so much more. How grateful are you?

  2. I would give $25,000 to each of the four friends who gave me the ticket. Then I’d buy a nice house and car and invest the rest of my money.

    The way I see it, a $1,000 return on every penny each one spent on me is nothing to whine about.

  3. Yes I did. You just have to let it soak in a bit before it’ll hit ya. 😉

  4. I think I would give them something. But, if I bought my friend a ticket, and he won, I wouldn’t expect anything. It was a gift.

    He / She wouldn’t owe me anything.

  5. No, because what kind of friends only pitch in $0.25 each for a friend’s birthday present? Screw those guys! 😉

  6. Have you ever had a friend come visit you in the hospital when you were sick? How about cook you and your wife a nice hot, homemade meal when you and your wife were busy getting adjusted to your newborn baby? How about that letter of recommendation a friend wrote on your behalf when you were trying to adopt a child?

    Doubtful those “gifts” of time were worth all that much financially either, but man how priceless they were to the recepient in terms of appreciation?

    To answer the question directly for Chris — Yes, I would share my winnings with my friends, for reasons that matter no further than the fact they were my friends.

    I would probably raz on them for only spending a quarter though.

  7. I would share my winnings with them even if I bought the ticket myself. What good is money if you can’t share it with your friends and family?

    Gifts should only ever be given as gifts, though, not as social-contractual reciprotranfers. If I give you something for your birthday, it literally was a gift: I expect nothing in return, I don’t even expect your appreciation of the gift or the thought. No strings, period. That’s a gift. Anything else is just a forced unspoken trade agreement that I want no part of.

    Of course that means that if you give me a gift that I’ll be taking it in the same spirit, as an actual gift. Don’t expect me to reciprocate.

    That’s why I’m so popular!

  8. MatthewF – I’m curious as to how and when you decided not to expect any sort of appreciation when you give gifts. Did you have a bad experience?

  9. A whole series of bad experiences, certainly, though that’s not the impetus.

    Standard Christmas stuff: Bob and Mary got us a gift, oh my god, I can’t believe we didn’t get them anything; quick, let’s get something, or sit in our shame.

    Bad Gifts: Someone gets something for me that I can’t imagine why they chose it, like giving an Ansel Adams orginal to a blind man. But it’s my social role to thank them enthusiastically, effectively lying in order to spare their feelings.

    But those standard types of things — social conventions tht make people lie and act out of shame for no real publically positive reason — aren’t the real impetus. Rather, it was my study of philosophy and spirituality.

    Do you thank the apple tree when you bite into an apple? The corpse of the long-dead steer when you bite into your Big Mac? The forests of the world and the abundant algae of the ocean when you take in oxygen at every breath? Nature — and the universe in general — provides without expectation of thanks, a model I admire.

    Rather than needlessly putting people in a position where they feel beholden to me _without_conscious_agreement_ to that hold, I give with love, hoping to make the recipient’s life better or bring them some happiness, but for no other reason.

    So no, it’s not from some particularly bad experience where someone didn’t appreciate my gift. Instead it was a realization that it was less loving of an act to give with expectation of anything, including appreciation.