A gift comes without a price tag, right? Well, there’s an exception in an old superstition that a gift with a cutting edge; such as a pocket knife or certain tools; should have a charge of the smallest denomination of money which is available – usually a copper penny, which is in the process of being discontinued in Canada by the way. Perhaps a five cent piece will be used soon by those Canadians who follow the tradition. Seems like a token charge anyway.
At any rate, this is the only time (which I know of) when money is charged for a gift but, could there be other ways of charging? Recently I saw a cartoon where a man was wearing a hat that was so oversized that he looked ridiculous, but his wife insisted that he wear it during his mother in law’s visit (she was on the way to their home) for the duration of the visit, since it was a gift from the man’s mother in law.
Then, an aquaintance of mine told me of how outraged he was when he bought a vase for a mutual friend who was very well off financially, but not wealthy. It seems the outrage was about the recipient not returning the favour with a gift back. Possibly a more valuable “gift” so that their contribution was relative in how much they gave in regard to their resources. Then again, perhaps not but … there was still an expectation of something.
These, and so many other examples, lead me to wonder if many an alleged gift is really no such thing, but rather the tip of a metaphorical lever to exert undue power and control on the recipient.