When Disneyland released one million helium balloons to set a new world record, Cleveland, Ohio looked on in envy. Could it top the Magic Kingdom? But what did citizens hope to gain from getting into the record books… and at what cost?
This shorter episode is one of a series of five Cautionary Tales Shorts I’ve made for subscribers to Pushkin+ – subscribers can listen to the other four but this one is for everyone… enjoy!
Cautionary Tales is written by me, Tim Harford, with Andrew Wright. It is produced by Ryan Dilley, with support from Courtney Guarino and Emily Vaughn.
The sound design and original music is the work of Pascal Wyse. Julia Barton edited the scripts.
Thanks to the team at Pushkin Industries, including Mia Lobel, Jacob Weisberg, Heather Fain, Jon Schnaars, Carly Migliori, Eric Sandler, Emily Rostek, Royston Beserve, Maggie Taylor, Nicole Morana, Daniella Lakhan and Maya Koenig.
Further reading and listening
The academic research on why gifts are disappointing is Galak, J., Givi, J. and Williams, E. F. (2016) ‘Why Certain Gifts Are Great to Give but Not to Get: A Framework for Understanding Errors in Gift Giving’, Current Directions in Psychological Science, 25(6), pp. 380–385. doi: 10.1177/0963721416656937.