You can. Seriously. You can have lunch with Warren Buffett.
As happens every year, lunch with Buffett is being auctioned off on eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY ) , with the proceeds going to charity. The auction started Sunday night and will continue until the end of this week.
Last year, a Chinese investor ponied up $2.1 million to have lunch with Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE: BRK-A ) (NYSE: BRK-B ) CEO. The year before, value investor Mohnish Pabrai and another fund manager paid over $650,000 for the privilege. I interviewed Pabrai last fall, when he said Buffett made it abundantly clear that he could ask "Anything, anything at all. He really drilled in that no topic was off the table." Pabrai peppered Buffett with questions on everything from the philosophy of philanthropy to personal yardsticks he uses to measure success. He later told CNBC:
[Buffett] used a very funny example. He said, 'Would you prefer to be the greatest lover in the world and known as the worst, or would you prefer to be the worst lover and known as the greatest?' And he said, 'If you know how to answer that correctly, then you have the right internal yardstick.' And I think to me that was one of the big takeaways.
How about being the richest man in the world and known as the greatest investor ever? What kind of humble yardsticks do you resort to then, Warren?
The irony here is that Buffett regularly has private lunches with groups of college students for free (he picks up the tab, too). This might be the only situation where the young and broke have huge leverage over the connected and wealthy. As I write this (Monday night), four bidders have placed 29 bids, bidding the lunch up to $71,000, which will likely grow considerably larger in the days ahead (You can see the actual bidding on eBay here).
Needless to say, that's a hair outside of most of our budgets. Which is why I'm turning this article over to you: If you had lunch with Buffett, what would you ask him? Questions about the economy? Wondering why he's so in love with Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC ) ? Or why he screwed up with ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP ) ?
If you could ask him just one question, what would it be, Fools? Fire away in the comment section below.