On a recent trip to NYC I took the time have a good glass of wine at a restaurant bar. It was, in fact, Thanksgiving day, and my family was back at home. I was in NYC for three days by myself. Normally, that’s not really a big deal. But, given that it was on Thanksgiving, it was a pretty lonely time. I was sitting, reflecting, and counting my blessings. Seriously, I was. It could have been a made for television movie on Lifetime or the Hallmark channel. Here is the scene: guy alone, on Thanksgiving, away from home, drinking at a restaurant bar, and counting his blessings. If I wasn’t so lonely at the time, I would have seen how pathetic and sadly ironic this was.
The wine was tasty, and I was just to the point where I had blocked out the noise of the busy restaurant. And then it happen. Enter loud guy. This particular loud guy was about 60 years old, portly, and had a strange accent that I couldn’t nail down. Based on his conversation with his dinner companions, I could tell that he was a Proctologist (insert your own joke into this hole). He was making an obnoxious drink order, and telling his friends how he could identify any vodka simply by the taste. Wow, what a skill. He mentioned to the bartender that he had never had bourbon, and that he was interested in buying a nice bottle of bourbon for another doctor friend of his. The next few minutes made me sad.
The proctologist, let’s call him Morty, was insistent that the bartender show him the most expensive bottle of bourbon that he had. “I’m buying that for Dr. Stevens”, Morty told his friends. Morty went on to explain that this doctor friend of his, had just sent him a new very good client (an ace in the hole, if you will). Morty wanted to show his appreciation to Dr. Stevens, but wasn’t Morty making this more about himself? Morty wanted to show what a high roller he was. There is no heart, no feeling in a move like this. Morty, undoubtedly, will hand the bottle to the doctor, and say “I don’t know anything about bourbon, so I just bought the most expensive bottle that they had.”
Why must our appreciation be measured monetarily? It’s just gross. Wouldn’t it have been more heartfelt to find out Dr. Steven’s favorite bourbon, or anything else that isn’t so blatantly materialistic? I challenge you (and me) to start showing our appreciation in creative ways. Showing your appreciation in a money-driven way is ugly, and is not what our fellow man needs.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.