PBS Newshour investigates the economics around the first Thanksgiving, including the differences between Europe’s cash economy and the indigenous barter system as well as common resources and property rights.
Colleen and Matt are back from their wedding, but they haven’t written any thank you cards. Joan tries to drop hints by buying them thank you cards, but now she’s gotten to the point of just telling them they need to write thank you cards. Colleen realizes they need to do this because they want gifts later for their baby shower. This self-interest has sparked an idea! While it may be fair to write each person an individual card, Colleen and Matt realize it’s much more efficient to make a thank you video that people can share. The gesture isn’t well received at brunch. Often, improvements in efficiency (in this case making a video and saving the couple time) come at the cost of equity (many family members feel this isn’t fair).
Charles and Gina have been secretly hooking up for a while, but now their parents have decided to start dating and it’s freaking the two of them out. Charles rushes to the office to show Gina a gift that his dad is planning to give Gina’s mom. At first the two are scared of the repercussions to their lives if their parents start dating, but quickly realize that the planned gift is much worse for their parents than for them. Gina also goes through her process of unwrapping gifts before the actual reveal because she doesn’t want to get surprised in photos. Her risk aversion results in lots of time spent to avoid embarrassment.
Captain Holt has told his squad not to give him any gifts, but he implies that only means if they are planning to purchase him something. Amy tried to find a loophole last year and got caught, but now realizes that the Captain only said they can’t buy him things. She decides to make him a scrapbook and foolishly believes that this counts as a loophole because she believes her time isn’t worth anything. Amy, who is usually pretty levelheaded, is forgetting the opportunity cost of her time.
Heather and Jen complain to Greg about all the awful gifts that they have received from Joan over the years. They realize this is the time to sell the items at a garage sale, but they can’t sell the stuff at Joan’s garage sell. They decide to host a simultaneous garage sale that focuses only on the bad gifts that they have received. This is a good example to show that the value Joan paid for the gifts will be much higher than the price Heather and Jen could expect to receive from a garage sale, which can be used to show the loss in economic surplus from this exchange.
Joan tries to give Jen and Greg a gift certificate for a couples massage because of how stressed they are. It turns out that Greg and Jen had already given her that gift certificate and caught her in the act of regifting the item. Joan claims they didn’t really need it because they were never really stressed so it was better to just give it back. One of the transactional issues of gift giving is that it’s hard to know exactly what the other person values, which creates losses in surplus.
Terry is debating with himself on whether to get a vasectomy after the birth of his two little girls. He goes in for the procedure, but while under anesthesia he confesses to Jake that he is conflicted. Terry doesn’t believe Jake, but Jake has tried to make it a point that he’s Terry’s friend and is looking out for him. Terry asks him to focus on his own body and points out that Jake’s poor diet is the reason why healthcare is so expensive for everyone else. At the end of the episode, Terry gifts Jake a box of carrots, but Jake doesn’t really appreciate it.
The squad is invited over to the Captain’s house for a birthday party, and they all have the same idea when it comes to wine. While Jake wants to try to impress the captain with the finest bottle of wine, he’s a little out of the price range and settles for an $8 bottle of wine. Come to find out, the entire squad buys the same bottle of “wine drink” and Kevin isn’t too fond of their selection.
While it isn’t clear that there is much of a difference between cheap and expensive wine, “wine drink” probably doesn’t send the best signal of quality.
John receives an XXL shirt as a child, which was pretty useless to him. His mom suggests that he use it as a sleep shirt, but he really wants to make a comment to the person who gave him the gift. His mom explains that it’s rude to make comments about people who give your gifts, but John is quick to notice that the inefficiencies of receiving gifts that aren’t really usable.