I’ve been invited to a cookout where most everyone has an Ivy League pedigree and buttloads of money. I don’t have either. I need a host gift they won’t just throw out later. I hate to waste money or stuff. What do you suggest?
Oh, snap! I feel you. Classic problem of “What do I buy my friends who have everything?” For regular people, it’s easy. Just give them something to drink. But your friends who want for nothing probably have a better version of anything you could give them.
Your only recourse is to gift ironically. An ironic gift will challenge your friends to rise to your level of cultural detachment, freeing them from the burden of feigning interest in that which they neither need nor want.
I recommend one of the following coffee-table books, each wryly constructed to provide maximum entertainment with minimal commitment to actually caring too much about what your friends think of you: Hang in There! Inspirational Art of the 1970s, by Jennifer McKnight-Trontz; or Cake Wrecks, a book of failed cake decorations, by Jen Yates; Awkward Family Photos, a self-descriptive internet sensation by Mike Bender and Doug Chernik. Giving a book also prevents your friends from throwing the gift away, because only those without souls would dispose of a book. If you want to go for something more substantial, maybe a Taschen art book, but be careful with that kind of sincerity.