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AsiaAsia CommentTaipan

Money gun ups the ante for gift giving

One of my favourite parts of meeting up with old friends after Christmas is hearing about the gifts they received. This makes for far more entertaining conversations than bonus season talk.

A less than subtle boss, in the early years of my career, gave me a weight loss video. I have yet to hear someone top that particular present, but bankers are certainly getting more adventurous with their gifts.

One friend told me there was a lot of competition to come up with the best gift at his recent office Christmas party. The chap had only recently moved to Hong Kong from his bank’s Singapore office and was worried about the quality of his present. While the Singapore office was known for its lavish parties — with the suggested gift exchange budget set at S$100 ($73) — the Hong Kong office’s budget was about five times lower at HK$100.

But the rules were the same: bringers of duplicated presents, gift cards, wine bottles or any other rule violators were ordered to drink a shot in penance.

With 30-plus people involved in the gift exchange, violations were a given, especially when the organising committee began making up new forfeits on the fly. With round after round of liquor, plus all the usual champagne guzzling, it ended up being one mad gift exchange full of drunken present stealing and swaps.

That wasn’t the end of it though. The team also voted on the best and worst gifts. Worst present was a bouquet of flowers. And the best? A money gun, complete with ammunition. After all, what says investment banking better than a gun that literally shoots money at people?

I hope the boss got that gift. It sounds like the perfect way to dole out bonuses!