What a killjoy? Just in time for “Black Friday,”—the day after Thanksgiving when retailers traditionally move into the black—the Dalio Family Foundation tosses a monkey wrench into the annual national orgy of over-the-top spending that grips the nation come every Christmas.
The Connecticut-based foundation of hedge fund master Ray Dalio ran an ad in today’s Wall Street Journal, decrying the commercial crassness that infects Christmas. It earns the prestigious “McCauley's Best Ad of the Year Award.”
As retailers flood TV and radio with ads for “doorbuster” specials and “midnight madness” (e.g., Lets clean up the Thanksgiving plates, put the kiddies in bed and run down to the department store when doors open on 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 23), the Foundation’s ad notes that the “loathsome shopping season” has begun. It rightly points out that shopping mania leaves shoppers pressed and stressed.
The ad recommends a more reflective focus on Thanksgiving and Christmas. That could be easily done by making donations to charity rather than trudging off to waste money at Wal-Mart for the latest "must-have" from China.
The Foundation recommends making charitable gifts instead to put money in the hands of people in need. “Shopping would be easier and tax deductible,” according to the ad copy. “And our giving would be more in keeping with the Christmas season.”
The Foundation purchased the ad for the sole purpose of promoting charitable giving. Its name appears in tiny typeface.
Dalio’s foundation doled out nearly $5M to charities in `06. That ranged from $1.1M to the Robin Hood Foundation (a group that aims to eliminate poverty in NYC) to $100 to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (an organization to save elks and other wildlife).
Dalio is a guy who could shop till he dropped. He pulled in a cool $350M in `06, according to the New York Times.
It would be nice if other tycoons followed Dalio's lead. How about Donald Trump warning Americans about consumption madness? That would be a sweet turnaround for The Donald.