This year, Business Insider had its first Secret Santa gift exchange. The budget was $10.
I'm going to be bold and say that my $5 gift was the most talked about present this year based on Twitter reactions. It certainly shocked the recipient and entertained on-lookers.
Here's what I did.
First, I went on Task Rabbit. Task Rabbit is a startup founded by Leah Busque that lets people post errands and pick an amount they're willing to pay to have the chore completed. Task Rabbit has a network of helpers that it carefully selects. One of them can then choose to complete your task.
Not every chore gets selected and completed on Task Rabbit. But I crossed my fingers and submitted one anyhow. Here's what I posted in exchange for $5 (I mistakenly thought that was the Secret Santa budget so I skimped):
Despite my cheapness, it only took 16 minutes for a Task Rabbit to accept my offer. A woman named Randi agreed to be my elf for the Secret Santa.
Randi and I didn't communicate much prior to Thursday. It was a leap of faith on both of our parts. As the Secret Santa date approached, I started to get nervous.
What if she was a crazy person? What if she wore an inappropriate outfit? Who in their right mind would agree to be an elf for $5?
The day before the exchange, I got a text from Randi.
She sounded normal. And she was agreeable. Randi said she'd try to get to Business Insider between 4:30 and 5:00.
The next day, the elevators opened right on time and out popped Randi.
She was more perfect than I could have imagined. Her outfit was cute but not slutty. She came with her own iPhone music and had a pre-planned dance for my Secret Santa, Will.
Randi was nervous too. She had only been a Task Rabbit for one month. She told me she was trying to take on as many odd jobs as she could to expand her portfolio. Everyone she's worked for has given her rave reviews.
Randi walked up to Will, told him she was sent by his Secret Santa, and broke out into a Jingle Bells jig. She twirled her red jacket above her head, spun around and tapped her shoes.
She was perfect. Randi even let Will keep her musical hat after the performance.
"That was $10?!" one of my colleagues exclaimed after Randi's curtsy. Will was happy with his gift too.
TIL: for $6, you can get an "elf" dance AND a hat that plays Christmas songs to annoy the entire office. Thanks, Secret Santa @ajs!— Will Wei (@WillWei) December 19, 2013
I tipped Randi an extra $15 for being amazing. Randi was the talk of Business Insider's happy hour that evening.
Here's her performance, and Will's reaction during it:
And another angle of the performance from another co-worker:
And finally, the video Randi captured of Will's equally uncomfortable deskmate, Max.
While not every TaskRabbit experience works that perfectly, I'd recommend the service to anyone in need of a creative gift.
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