Generous, giant-sized gifts

I’ve heard of people coming into sudden wealth who surprise a loved one with a big, extravagant gift – like a brand new sportscar parked in their driveway, maybe even gift-wrapped with a giant bow and the keys on the breakfast table.

Those stories always make me shudder a bit, because I wonder if that gift, however generous, was actually what the recipient would have liked.  Even though it would be exciting to have a new sportscar appear in the driveway, perhaps the recipient actually thinks – Darn, I’d much rather have had [an overseas holiday/ a designer wardrobe/ the mortgage paid off / etc etc]  But it would be rude to say so. 

When gifts of that kind of largesse are involved, I always hope that the gift giver actually knows for sure that their loved one would adore a new Maserati.

I heard of a real life example recently.  Famous Northern Irish footballer George Best (now deceased, alas) when he started to earn some real money, purportedly bought his parents the local fish and chip shop.  He told them he had a surprise for them, walked them down the street to the shop and handed them the keys.  Apparently they looked…stunned. 

For, while it was undoubtedly a generous gift, who wants the surprise gift of a business?  (And an owner-operator one at that.)  Presumably he gave it to them in the belief that running your own business is better than working for someone else – which is generally true as a rule, but even so – it’s definitely something you need to consult about! 

Mr and Mrs Best ran their shop diligently for years, I understand.  But whether or not they would have preferred the gift of a few hundred pounds and the opportunity to spend it as they pleased, we’ll never know.

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