High Roller Special

When my man Alex H. does the talking, people listen...or shoot him in Weehawken.


I have been receiving a lot of mail here at AAD and will periodically share some of it with you. I thought I would start with a question that is especially relevant to the holiday season. As always, I very much welcome your comments, questions and suggestions. Thanks again for visiting. 


Dear AAD,

I'd greatly appreciate any and all advice about how to deal with the stickiest of wickets -- the gifting of the teachers, office staff, specialist teachers, etc. Because every year my list runs about 15 or 16. Any advice? 

Heh Heh,

Just Another Concerned Parent

Dear Gentle Reader,

Ah, yes, the giving season. I fully agree that this is problematic. Fortunately, I have an answer. What you want is something simple, easy to carry, cost effective and greatly appreciated. No doubt about it, cash is king. 

Alright, I know this sounds like a dumb answer. You don't need me to tell you everybody likes cash. What's more, I'm assuming you wrote in looking for a more creative idea about gifts that would be both memorable and original. But hear me out. Giving cash is all about technique. Some greenbacks tucked inside a holiday card is fine, but if you follow my instructions, no one will forget your special gift for years to come. Guaranteed.

First thing tomorrow, go to the bank and get big ol' fat stack of crisp, new Hamiltons (that would be a $10 bill, in case you were wondering). It's got to be tens. Ones and fives aren't going to cut it. If you want this to work, you've got to be a high roller. For now, don't worry about the expense, we'll get to that. 

Then you have some prep work to do. Set aside a whole evening--you don't want to rush this part. Start by folding all of the bill in half lengthwise. Make sure the edges are aligned neatly, every little detail counts. Then it's on to technique. The proper grip is to hold the folded bill lengthwise between your first two fingers, with about 1/3 of it extending past your fingertips--just like you'd hold a Lucky Strike. Make sure the "10" in the lower corner is visible and right side up so people can see it easily. Once you've got this grip down, practice your delivery. Without changing your grip and keeping your arm relaxed, hold the bill by your side with your hand cupped slightly, palm facing back. Then smoothly and quickly bring your forearm up until it is perpendicular to your body. At the end of this swing, flick your wrist out slightly so the bill snaps to attention, horizontal to the ground. Think of the bill as a throwing knife, without the throwing or knife part. The key is to practice this until you look like you've been doing it all your life. It shouldn't take more than a couple of days.

A note of warning: this is the proper and only way to do it. Under no circumstances do you want to use the antiquated "bankroll" technique, where you roll the bills like a typewriter ribbon, and then peel them off one at a time as you hand them out. That's not classy.  

Ok, now that you've got your technique down, it's time for the big show. 

With the folded bills aligned in your coat pocket for easy access, start making the rounds. Go up to the recipient and get their attention with something witty like, "Yo, Chief, c'mere, I got something for you." Or, "Hey Sugar, this is from me to you." As you say this, take a half-step toward the person, twist your body about quarter-turn, bringing your "action hand" to bear. Snap the bill out--just above waist level--and simultaneously turn and tilt your head slightly so you are looking at them out of the corner of your eye and down your nose. Your movement should be confident, but not showy. Pretend you're making a drug deal on the street corner--you've got the goods they need, but you don't want to draw too much attention from others. Remember, this is all about making a special connection between two people. Let that person know that at this moment in time, it's just about the two of you. This is how memories are created.

This method is suitable for use by both men and women. However, it never hurts to add a little gender-specific "flair" to your technique. Men, here's a move that's always a hit with the ladies: as she takes the bill, lean into her and in a low voice say something like, "Hey toots, you're top of my list." Breathe on her a little. Women like that, it makes them feel sexy. Women, with men you have the option of extending the bill vertically with your palm about 8 inches away from your sternum. Let him come to you and then lean forward a little as he grabs the bill. Guaranteed he'll remember this gift. But be careful, only lean forward about an inch. You don't want to overdo it! Remember, he's your son's 7th grade teacher. 

One problem you are likely to encounter is having to give your gift to multiple people in the same room. You want each person to feel special, which they won't if they see you working the room like the VIP host at the Sands. But sometimes this situation is unavoidable. Thankfully, there is a solution, though it will cost you a little extra. At the same time you withdraw the tens, also get a stack of fives. When you fold the tens, put a five underneath so that it is sticking out slightly. Make sure, however, that the "5" is not visible. You want them to see there's an extra bill, but you want the big boy to do all the talking. Then, when you go around to each person, lean in and whisper, "Hey, I slipped a little something extra in there, just for you, don't tell the others." Problem solved. 

At this point you might be thinking that $150 is a lot of cash to come up with, especially for people you don't like. You're right. But here's a trick that will help lessen the financial burden. At the beginning of next school year make sure you sign up to organize the teacher gift for your child's class. Tell everybody to contribute $16 dollars to the pool and you'll use that money to buy one big present. Now that we are in the debit card era, not many people carry around cash. If they need cash, they have to make a special trip to the ATM. But the ATM only gives out twenties. See where I'm going with this? 

So when someone hands you a twenty, tell them you don't have change on you right now, but that you will get it to them later. (It's often very effective to make a display of reaching into your pocket and pulling out the two crumpled ones you do have.) Chances are they'll say "oh no, that's ok, don't worry about it." It's Christmas and people are feeling generous, or at least they don't want to seem cheap during the giving season. CaaCHING! You just pocketed $4! 4 x 20 kids in the class is about $95. You've just recovered more than half your original outlay!  

I hope this helps. I know it has for me. People talk about me all the time. 

Best of luck, 
Paul Rasmussen, AAD

Copyright 2013 Paul J. Rasmussen