How much would you pay to have lunch with me? Not much (well, would you consider picking up the tab if we chose between Burger-King and McDonald’s?). The subject came up when bidders at a charity lunch only offered $1 million to eat with Warren Buffet.
That was a distinct disappointment.
This particular lunch in recent years has reached multi-million dollar levels but this time was a disappointment at only $1 mill, reported the San Francisco Business Times.
That made some observers think it was all a mistake.
Please, do not misunderstand me here. Despite my earlier comments, I certainly don’t mean to compare myself in any way with financier Warren Buffet (yes, I would like to, but can’t, I admit). And I do applaud the fund-raising group for its creative efforts to help fund an organization called Glide, but what in the world of investment advice is going on here?
While my knowledge from afar of Buffet is favorable (he seems amazingly modest for a rich man), I have to wonder why anyone would pay multi-million dollars or even a paltry one-mil, as the insiders term it, to eat lunch with him?
I have to assume the motivation is to hear from his lips how to get rich (the anonymous bidder must already be there, so his or her real motivation is a mystery).
There is no shortage of real estate and stock market advice everywhere. What Buffet thinks about the subject is also widely publized. You can read about it for free.
But what is happening here is perhaps best understood as America’s cult of celebrity. People Magazine and many others that include television and just about all forms of entertainment have pushed celebrities to the forefront of awareness. What they (celebrities) do and say is news, the media has told us. And this is what we the public wants, based on the popularity of celebrity-think.
You can even get outside the mainstream news media to experience this development. Look at the list of best-selling books (particularly children’s versions) to see how common you’ll find the bylines of movie stars.
So is anything wrong with this or should we even care about it?
Here’s what you might call the bottom line:
The secrets of stars of any kind, simple celebrity without any attachment to accomplishments (I think of the Hiltons and the Kardashians), or even those coming from the mouths of billionaires (such as Buffet) should almost certainly raise some skepticism for their perceived value. That generally does not happen as we (most of us, anyway) slavishly go on admiring the (sometime) accomplishments of others and look to them for inspiration, guidance and how to get rich and or famous.
And maybe when I examine my own motivation, I may be jealous that anyone would think of paying $1 million for the pleasure of buying a Buffet lunch when I could not get anyone to pay for even a modest buffet check to dine with me.
Yes, that’s a reasonable explanation. But let’s have lunch anyway, as long as it’s Dutch Treat.