On Monday the Observer reprinted a memo sent to New York Times staffers from Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., concerning the paper's gift policy. It read as follows:
As in years past, the holiday season serves as a good time to remind ourselves of our Company's policy on receiving gifts.
We are not permitted to accept gifts with a value greater than $25.
While this sum is low, it is intentionally so, for we must avoid the misunderstanding that a gift given (and accepted in all innocence) creates some benefit for the person who gave it. If you receive any gift valued greater than $25, please return it promptly to the sender with a note explaining this policy.
The Observer archly notes that this policy precludes giving TimesSelect ($49.95) as a gift, but we think the whole thing is no laughing matter. While we certainly understand the Times' desire to maintain the appearance of integrity, it saddens us to think that some of our favorite folks at the paper might not feel the joy of the holidays. After the jump we offer a few suggestions in case you've got a special someone over on 43rd Street with whom you'd like to share the spirit of the season. Feel free to chime in with your suggestions.
- Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.: One share, Class A NYT Common stock, currently just under the limit at $24.11.
- Maureen Dowd: Essence Pure Energy Vibrator. Renders men unnecessary for a mere $21.95.
- Nick Kristof: One Cambodian sex slave. May require some bargaining to get under $25.
- Joe Sharkey: Round-trip flight from Fort Lauderdale to Atlantic City, a near-freebie $16 on Spirit Airlines.
- Frank Bruni: $3.99 Chicken McNugget Happy Meal, $20 gift certificate to iTunes.
- Alex Kuczynski: Back-alley botox. It also might require some negotiation, but we can see multiple benefits in this one.
- Randy Cohen: Six month subscription, Barely Legal.
- Tom Zeller, Jr.: Adderall, the blogger's secret weapon. Our guy can get you four of the good ones for twenty bucks.
- Bill Keller: The One That Got Away, by Howell Raines. At $16.50 on Amazon it's a bargain, and an icon of instruction about the importance of avoiding avoidable mistakes.
- Cathy Horyn: Eastport backpack, $10 at Wal-Mart and MisShapes approved!