Who’s on your fantasy dinner party guest list?
We’ve all played the parlor game: if you could invite anyone, living or dead, who would have at your dinner table?
As you go around the room and name your names, there are some predictable results. Jesus, the President, Steve Jobs, John Lennon, Einstein, or the Dalai Lama will make someone’s list. Maybe Warren Buffet would show up (who wouldn’t want some investment advice?), Gandhi (more meat for the rest of us), and Martin Luther King Jr. to say grace. So will someone’s sixth grade teacher and a great grandpa who died in a war. The rest of the table would probably be filled out with intellectuals and sex symbols, favorite writers, athletes, and Hollywood stars.
Online celebrity auction sites can pretty much fill your dream table, and the proceeds generally go to charity.
Currently you can arrange to have lunch with Gloria Steinem, cast members of the Big Bang Theory or The Simpsons, or with Francis Ford Coppola at the winery he owns in Napa Valley. You can dine with the former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, have cocktails with Quincy Jones, or go to tea with primatologist Jane Goodall.
Most of the sites operate with a standard auction model with the spoils awarded to the highest bidder. Omaze has a more raffle-like, and more democratic, process collecting thousands of small donations, usually under $10, and choosing the winner in a random lottery. The auctions donate from 80-100% of the proceeds to charitable organizations, usually chosen by the celebrities.
The hottest date right now—and it’s not even dinner but just for coffee—is with Apple’s CEO Tim Cook. The auction was first posted in April offering a cup of Joe and an hour of Mr. Cook’s time with an estimated value of $50,000. It reached $190,000 in the first day, and has since skyrocketed to $605,000 (placed by an anonymous bidder known only as J********n) with four days to go.
Check out Charity Buzz, EBay Celebrity, Hollywood Charity Auction, Charity Folks, and Omaze where you’ll see ongoing auctions for all kinds of social engagements with sports figures, politicians, artists, rappers, technology wizards, business leaders, and plenty of Hollywood stars. For the right price, or sometimes just a little luck, you can fill the dinner table of your dreams.