Recently, I was standing in my neighborhood liquor store trying to decide whether I should buy a bottle of scotch or a six-pack of good beer for a friend of mine. I was borrowing his set of ice tools and seven ice screws for a trip to the Ouray Ice Park. My girlfriend does not own ice tools, and I do not yet own any ice screws. And I am big on appreciation. I figure we’re talking $400 worth of screws and $400 worth of ice tools, so he’s saving me quite a bit of money by allowing me to postpone my investment.
$11 worth of Dale’s Pale Ale ought to cover it. I decided a bottle of scotch would be way over the top.
I was thinking, though, for a guy who doesn’t drink, I seem to purchase my fair share of beer in liquor stores and bars. Maybe it’s because in my hometown in Iowa, beer is currency. I bought my first car for $500 and two cases of Busch Light. My father once rented a skid-loader for a day in exchange for eight steaks and four cases of beer. My friend’s father once picked up a topper for his pickup truck for $15 and a handle of Black Velvet.
There are certain unspoken levels of appropriate gratitude – you wouldn’t ask your friend to help you move furniture all day and buy him/her one drink. No, you would buy them pizza and a bunch of beer, at minimum. It’s the same for the outdoors. So I’ve come up with some rough guidelines to help you decide what’s appropriate when thanking someone for an outdoor-related favor.