Jay Leno Freaks Out That The Unemployed Might Prefer Money Over Free Leno Tickets

from the let's-explain-the-free-market... dept

Nearly four years ago, we wrote about Bob Geldof's odd freak-out against eBay when it was discovered that ticketholders to his LiveAid event were selling the tickets on eBay. This was silly for a variety of reasons -- including the misdirected anger at eBay. But, more importantly, we couldn't figure out who this was harming, at all. Geldof had chosen to give out the tickets for free -- and some people preferred to have money rather than the tickets. Others would get the tickets they valued more. Everyone's better off. Where's the problem?

Apparently, Jay Leno needs that same lesson, and economist Greg Mankiw is explaining it to him. Leno went to Michigan and gave out free tickets to unemployed workers in the state -- and then complained when people put the tickets up for sale on eBay. Remember, these are unemployed people. For many of them, do you think they'd prefer some extra cash or the opportunity to see Leno live? Hell, do you think they'd be better off with cash or the free trip to Leno? Obviously, some greatly prefer the cash -- and it actually seems quite mean of Leno to try to deny them that cash by demanding that eBay take down the auctions.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    some old guy, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 1:53pm

    for the joke...

    Maybe Leno just wanted to make fun of them during the show?

     

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  2.  
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    Dave Barnes, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 1:53pm

    Same as food stamps

    Instead of giving poor people MONEY for food, we give them FOOD STAMPS because Food Stamps have purchase restrictions. We know better than poor people what they should buy to consume.
    While I am an elitist, I find this attitude of "I know better, therefore I should control your life" crappy.

     

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  3.  
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    :Lobo Santo, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 2:00pm

    Maybe Leno had a job offer/gift planned for them; and selling the tickets totally killed that idea.

     

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  4.  
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    GangGreen, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 2:17pm

    A gift is a gift

    Allot of people seem to forget that when one gives another a gift it is that. A gift with expectations or strings or rules, is not really a gift at all

     

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  5.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 2:18pm

    Maybe next time Leno will just ignore the unemployed and give the tickets out at the AIG offices or something.

     

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  6.  
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    Leno, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 2:21pm

    Re:

    Sounds like a plan to me

     

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  7.  
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    Joel Coehoorn, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 2:25pm

    theme show

    On the one hand, you're right. On the other, Leno might have been trying to set something up for that show for that audience that is broken if the tickets are sold to people that actually have jobs.

    But even if that's the case, he should have made that clearer when handing out the tickets.

     

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  8.  
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    ReallyHoot, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 2:30pm

    It's all about ego, how could anyone NOT want to watch him live! It's been the same since he took over the reins at the Tonight Show. At least Johnny gave a LOT of people a shot on his show, Jay is just too insecure to have anyone on his show that might be funnier or more talented than he is unless they are "stars" promoting something.

     

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  9.  
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    Jose M, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 2:35pm

    Jay Leno and ebay are both hypocrites imo. Note that Jay Leno endorsed and listed the auction of a virus or infection laced celebrity used tissue, which is against ebay policies and quite possibly some sort of health code & US Postal code violations too Scarlett Johansson eBay Auction http://blog.auctionbytes.com/cgi-bin/blog/blog.pl?/pl/2008/12/1229795681.html Center for Disease Control Weighs in on Used Tissue Sales on eBay http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/cab/abn/y08/m12/i23/s01

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 2:41pm

    I don't see where he was "freaking out". I think his issue is that he was trying to do a decent thing for those on hard times and has an issue with someone else trying to milk $800 out of someone for free tickets especially since his tickets are ALWAYS free.

    On the other hand I can understand someone trying to sell the tickets to earn some extra cash.

     

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  11.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 2:43pm

    Re:

    Now that's comment spamming at it's finest.

     

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  12.  
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    Jesse, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 2:44pm

    Oh Well

    I really dont see a problem. Maybe they hate Leno and really dont want to go. In which case you would ask... "Why did they take the tickets then?". They took the tickets for the same reason I would take the tickets and sell them on ebay... for money and for the fact I dont like Leno. I really don't think hes funny.

     

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  13.  
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    Kempatsu, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 2:55pm

    actually, the show is being held at The Palace of Auburn Hills. if your from detroit, you know this place is far from any poor people. He is far and away from the real detroit. what a douchebag. I'm pretty sure the people suffering do not have time to drive out there in richville. some comedy stimulus. fuck you jay leno.

     

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  14.  
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    Keith, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 3:03pm

    Makes sense...

    I understand Leno's reaction. He wants to do something nice for people out of work. Giving them a free show is a controlled way of trying to cheer these people up. Why would anyone that has a job want to go to a show for the un-employed anyway. If they are unemployed, then they are being taken advantage of by someone selling them tickets to a free show.

     

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  15.  
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    TW Burger (profile), Mar 18th, 2009 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Re:

    Well said.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 3:17pm

    Re: Same as food stamps

    Um, aside from this comment being kind of off topic...

    The only real restrictions on food stamps are that they have to used on food. No alcohol or cigarettes, and certain things like fountain drinks and stuff like that. The idea is to put food in the fridge.

     

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  17.  
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    interval, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 3:30pm

    Re: Makes sense...

    @Keith: "I understand Leno's reaction. He wants to do something nice for people out of work."

    Did you people hear the best part of Leno's great gift to the people of Detroit? The concerts are being held in a Baldwin Hills venue, not Detroit proper. I think the city of Detroit has a lot more unemployed than anyone in rather upscale Baldwin Hills.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 3:30pm

    Re: Makes sense...

    I want to do something nice for people out of work, too, and I decided that buying a free Leno ticket for $800 would really help someone out. Plus, I can throw away the ticket, because I can't stand Leno, and therefore save gas, too. Free comedy shows don't put food on the table, or pay the rent, but it makes the comedians feel better.

    Ever notice how the things Leno does for charity rarely involve his own money?

     

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  19.  
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    Tee, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 3:44pm

    Ok, so lets see you guys offer to go do your jobs for free only to have that offer resold. Especially when you'd normally get paid in the high six figures to seven figures to do that job.

    Sure, it's not illegal and it should not be illegal but it is in bad taste. Out of the kindness of his heart, Leno gives people a night out that they don't have to pay for. We're not talking about a free $10 movie or bucket of popcorn. This is something that can easily cost a couple of hundred dollars for two. A lot of working people can't afford that let alone the unemployed. And someone wants to resell the tickets that were given to them because they are supposedly out of work or can't otherwise afford them? Tacky, very tacky. There is something more important than making a few extra dollars; dignity.

    I guess it's cool to resell the free food you get from the food banks or the soup kitchens, too? I used to be homeless. I know what I'm talking about. I was in a wheelchair and living out of my vehicle. Where I parked is where I slept. I would have eaten cold beans from a can before I would have sold those tickets. People don't do nice things like that too often. You just don't do things like that. It's not right.

    Also, you guys are so sure the person who wanted to resell the tickets is jobless. How do you know it wasn't some scalper with a job and money in the bank? You don't. Seriously, things are not always what they seem.

    Tee

     

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  20.  
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    Tee, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 4:10pm

    Re: Re: Makes sense...

    It's Auburn Hills and it's about 25 mins North of Detroit. Plus, it's the nicest venue the Detroit area has.

    Given the F'd up leadership in Detroit, it wouldn't surprise me if he couldn't get Cobo or Joe Louis Arena. As I've said before, there is always more to a story than what you read.

    Tee

     

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  21.  
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    MarkD, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 4:22pm

    Foodstamps for the poor?

    You have not really looked at food stamps - yeah, they help feed the poor, but the real reason they have always survived the Congressional budget cuts is that they subsidize the agro industry. Food stamps come from the Department of Agriculture, hence the restrictions on specific food types. Food stamps allow the poor to buy food at higher prices than they could actually afford, so props up the price to the farmers - and keeps us all paying the higher price.

     

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  22.  
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    Michael Long, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 4:26pm

    Re: Ditto

    "Also, you guys are so sure the person who wanted to resell the tickets is jobless. How do you know it wasn't some scalper with a job and money in the bank? You don't. Seriously, things are not always what they seem."

    Ditto.

     

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  23.  
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    Jonny, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 4:27pm

    Leno

    I am going to have to go with Jay on this one. The idea here is a concert for people who can't afford to but tickets. There are more unemployed who want to see the show than there are tickets. So are the people with money going to displace the people without AT THEIR OWN CONCERT? It's just not fair.

     

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  24.  
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    interval, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 4:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Makes sense...

    Right, Auburn Hills. Where'd I get baldwin hills from...

     

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  25.  
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    RS, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 4:44pm

    Re:

    Apparently you never leave the Detroit city limits, Auburn Hills is surrounded by middle to low income areas. Even the upper middle income are supported by the auto industry, which if you haven't noticed isn't doing so well.

     

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  26.  
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    Xedous, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 5:00pm

    On one hand you have an unemployed person who needs money more than a late nite talk show and on the other hand you have a person who wants to provide a brief escape from reality and maybe bring a little happiness into their lives.

    I can see why Leno is bothered by it. If I give gifts to all of my friends and they turn around and trade it for something else, I would think they were ungrateful.

    If I were the unemployed I wouldn't care how ungrateful I seemed because I am just trying to survive at this point.

    No reason to come down on either of the groups I don't think. Thanks for the pointless story though.

     

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  27.  
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    Dave, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 5:15pm

    Vain and ignorant - no needs it the world!

     

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  28.  
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    john, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 6:36pm

    Fuck you all. He's a great people person and simply wants to make people laugh. No, he's not perfect, but I know for a fact he's a good honest person. Regardless of who takes a ticket (and I would and would go even if it were 50 miles away), he is making this a personal gesture and simply is hurt that people want to make a buck off him instead when he is just trying to be himself. As far as the venue, would you drive to some shithole area to see him or would you rather go someplace decent-HELLO?
    quote:
    "Ever notice how the things Leno does for charity rarely involve his own money?"

    Ever notice how charitible donations are tax deductible & therefore taxpayer's ultimately foot the bill while the rich guy ends up paying nothing?? DUMBASS

     

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  29.  
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    Weird Harry, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 6:51pm

    Re:

    ya that's a good idea, they wouldn't sell them.

     

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  30.  
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    Just Your Average Guy, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 11:03pm

    monetization of value

    This is ridiculous. Leno is right this time and you're wrong.

    Of course a gift DOES come with expectations and strings, that's exactly the idea of the gift.

    If my grandma spends two months in knitting me a sweater for Christmas, she is knitting ME a sweater, and I am NOT allowed to sell it to a shop: it's free to be MINE, not to be used for making money. If I am inviting you to dinner, I am inviting YOU: you are NOT allowed to sell this invitation to your smelly neighbor and he is NOT allowed to show up at my place at seven PM and a bottle of cheap wine.

    Invitations, like gifts, are not meant to be monetized: your mere act of selling my invitation voids it for both you and your neighbor. For ever. My grandma would be in her right to stop knitting me stuff. For ever. Leno is in his right to refuse admission to his show for tickets sold on ebay, for ever. Values exist that do not stand monetization of their worth, period.

    Even if it was legal for tickets to be sold (and I am sure that in the fine print of a free tickets there is something against such rights) it would be very much in bad taste to do so, just like it would be bad taste to sell the sweater or the invitation to my dinner.

    Next time you throw a party at your house and buy drinks to a group of friends, what would you think of those of them that sold the rights to strangers for money? And would you let the strangers in?

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 12:06am

    Re:

    Poster, meet big picture, big picture, this is a guy who thinks because tickets are always free that Leno has nothing to gain by GIVING AWAY free tickets (as opposed to letting people request free tickets).

    This is about publicity; he was GIVING AWAY tickets. When someone turns that around to selling his free tickets the limelight diminishes. Unfortunately Leno has made a really bad decision here, because I'll avoid watching him over this idiocy.

     

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  32.  
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    Joe, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 4:13am

    Geldof and Leno

    Bob and Jay, repeat after me, entertainment is a commodity bought and sold like any other commodity. I'll excuse Mr. Geldof for the misguided belief that rock & roll music classifies as a higher artistic pursuit, more than mere entertainment. I can at least see how you deluded yourself. But Mr. Leno, please, you are a comic! How can a comic take oneself so seriously?

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 4:46am

    Re: monetization of value

    This is just wrong on so many levels...

    >Of course a gift DOES come with expectations and strings, that's exactly the idea of the gift.

    Um... no. The idea of a GIFT is to GIVE something to someone. Apparently, kindergarten was not kind to you...

    >If my grandma spends two months in knitting me a sweater for Christmas, she is knitting ME a sweater, and I am NOT allowed to sell it to a shop: it's free to be MINE, not to be used for making money.

    Says who? Certainly it would be nice of you to keep it and wear it, but there is no law saying you have to. Legally, ou can run directly to the pawn shop and unload it for a bit of cash. Sure, it might upset Grandma, but the bottom line is that it is your sweater, and you can do whatever you want with it.

    >If I am inviting you to dinner, I am inviting YOU: you are NOT allowed to sell this invitation to your smelly neighbor and he is NOT allowed to show up at my place at seven PM and a bottle of cheap wine.

    Invitations are totally different. No one sells invitations, and if someone uninvited shows up to a private event, they will be refused (look up "Guest List" for details on how invitations work). Irrelevant argument.

    >Invitations, like gifts, are not meant to be monetized: your mere act of selling my invitation voids it for both you and your neighbor. For ever.

    Let's not confuse invitations and tickets here. They are not the same and they are not comparable.

    >My grandma would be in her right to stop knitting me stuff. For ever.

    Finally, you have said something correct. However, it has nothing to do with the legality of selling your sweater, and even less to do with your next paragraph.

    >Leno is in his right to refuse admission to his show for tickets sold on ebay, for ever.

    This is debatable. Unless the tickets (or contract, if there was one) state that the tickets are non-transferable and Leno can prove beyond all doubt that eBay was the source of the tickets, I'd say he does not have the right to refuse admission on those grounds alone.


    >Even if it was legal for tickets to be sold (and I am sure that in the fine print of a free tickets there is something against such rights) it would be very much in bad taste to do so, just like it would be bad taste to sell the sweater or the invitation to my dinner.

    Since when to legality and good taste coincide? If we're ever in a small elevator together, I can fart as loudly as I want, and while it is certainly in bad taste, it is certainly legal.
    Furthermore, Leno and friends can not make the re-selling of tickets illegal simply by writing it on the ticket. They can make it non-transferable, but illegal is another matter entirely.
    And since you insist on bringing up your other invalid arguments again, there is no law preventing you from selling your sweater, and you can't sell an invitation anyway.

    >Next time you throw a party at your house and buy drinks to a group of friends, what would you think of those of them that sold the rights to strangers for money? And would you let the strangers in?

    Rights? What rights? Where did rights come into this?
    You mean if I sold tickets, and they showed up with valid ones? Or if I issued private invitations and the uninvited strangers showed up?

    Certainly, one could argue that free tickets are more like an invitation, however, I would contend that when a person is invited to an event, it is not possession of the physical invitation that grants them admission- it's who they are (and whether or not they are on the guest list). With a true "ticket", it is just the opposite

    So in review:
    Good Taste != Law
    Tickets != Invitations
    Rights != Laws

    Your Sweater != Leno Tickets
    (Note that that one said "Your Sweater", and not "Grandma's Sweater).

     

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  34.  
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    csspublic, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 6:33am

    Re: Re: monetization of value

    Excellent points. 100% agree.

    By definition:
    "A gift is a voluntary act which does not require anything in return."

    If you give a gift with an expectation then your not truly giving a gift. You are trying to enter into a contract.

    A gift, given freely, has no strings attached.

     

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  35.  
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    nasch, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re:

    When someone turns that around to selling his free tickets the limelight diminishes.

    Only because he's an idiot. He could easily have gotten good PR out of it. "Look at that, a laid off auto worker sold one of my tickets for a month's rent! Isn't that great? We'll be giving away tickets in Indiana next month to try to help more people." He should have HELPED these people (those who wanted to) sell their tickets by drawing attention to them. "If you want to help some unemployed Americans, go on eBay and buy their Tonight Show tickets." Instead, he looks like a whining stuck up juvenile.

     

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  36.  
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    nasch, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 10:41am

    Re: Leno

    Not fair to whom? It's certainly fair to the original ticket holder. It's fair to the purchaser of the ticket, or they wouldn't buy. Leno isn't injured in any way. Other people who don't have tickets didn't have them anyway, so it's not unfair to them. Where is the injustice? Someone is taking a gift and using it to help themselves even more than the original gift would. Sounds great to me.

     

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  37.  
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    nasch, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 10:44am

    Re:

    If you gave an expensive watch or piece of jewelry (not a heirloom or anything) to your friend as a gift, and they came back and told you "I just lost my job before you gave me that gift, and the money I got for selling it allowed me to feed my family and stay in my home a little longer while I looked for a new job. Thank you so much!" You would be offended? That is cold.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 12:29pm

    It doesn't seem like anybody actually saw the show where this came up, Leno wasn't angry or freaked out he simply asked that they be taken down because the point was to give people who have been laid off or are otherwise having a hard time because of the economy a free night out. It wasn't really for "poor" people which is why it doesn't have to be in a poor neighborhood.
    Plus like others have said already, you don't know that the person selling the tickets is somebody who was laid off because anybody could get tickets. It very well could have been a scalper.

     

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  39.  
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    eb scrooge 69, Apr 11th, 2009 @ 6:30pm

    leno

    once you give a gift to a person, you lose whatever hold you have over the gift. by jay being angry over people selling THEIR free tickets to the show, he's in effect saying i control you. you can only do what i(jay) want you to do with YOUR gift.

     

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