There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

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Economists everywhere know that saying (although it was popularized by science fiction writer Robert Heinlein if memory serves).  There’s no such thing as a free lunch means resources must be used to produce that lunch — and every other economic good in existence.

But I was taken aback today by learning how expensive lunches can really be.  The headline was that lunch with Tim Geithner went for $50,000 at a charity auction.  Which made me wonder how much other celebrities were worth on the lunch circuit.

Complete citations for the table below are at the end of this piece.  Remember you read it here first.

Date Name Price Note
6/8/13 Warren Buffett $1,000,100 Lunch
5/14/13 Tim Cook $610,000 Lunch
6/7/14 Warren Buffett and See’s Candy $156,000 All you can eat tour plus meet
6/7/14 Rafael Nadal $150,000 Tennis lesson
6/11/13 Marissa Mayer $110,000 Power lunch at Yahoo hq
6/11/13 Bill Clinton $110,000 Dinner for four
6/11/13 Bruce Springsteen $72,500 Meet plus two backstage passes
5/13/14 Ben Bernanke $70,500 Lunch
5/13/14 Katy Perry $66,000 Meet plus concert
5/13/14 Timothy Geithner $50,000 Lunch
5/14/13 Elon Musk $42,500 Tour of SpaceX
5/14/13 Peyton Manning $25,000 One day in training camp
5/14/13 Robin Williams $15,000 Lunch on the set of new movie

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About Tony Lima

Retired after teaching economics at California State Univ., East Bay (Hayward, CA). Ph.D., economics, Stanford. Also taught MBA finance at the California University of Management and Technology. Occasionally take on a consulting project if it's interesting. Other interests include wine and technology.