All about the challenges of Midlife Finance

THE POWER OF A BRIBE

No…not the fistful of dollar bills slipped to the local federales as you cross the border.

(Though I might consider it, if faced with a stand like these.)

The best bribes are those that help you get a job done more effectively…not just now, but for the future.

Need your lawn mowed? Your teenager will respond a lot quicker with a $20 bill waved in his face, than if you just order him to get out there and Do It. (Cookies help, too.)

Getting on a plane will be so much easier, if you not only deposit your luggage curbside, but give the attendant a couple of bucks as you do it. Add a smile and politeness, for best results. (You call it a tip — I call it a bribe.) He or she is much more apt to volunteer helpful information, accept your suitcases even if they’re a few pounds overweight…and help find your mom a wheelchair in record time.

Are you in business? Offer free gift-wrapping. (You have to pack the item, anyways — the extra wrap is negligible in weight, and protects items better. One of our customers said, “It looked like a present to me!” Well, in a way, it was.) Tuck in something small, for free: a lightweight tool, booklet or other item you got on clearance. Our craft book and kit shipping business keeps a lookout for sticker booklets (the most consistent values are from Oriental Trading) , fancy ribbon flowers and laces, and the hands-down favorite: antique postcards we buy on Ebay for 10-25 cents each. (Yes, I know. You call this a freebie. It’s still a bribe.)

Will customers be more inclined to order from you again, instead of someone else, if they know they’re going to get something extra? If you’re a savvy businessperson, you know the answer to that.

It’s not just money or Things, either. Write a message that points out the positives first — then mentions your issue. (Works wonders with complaint letters.) E-mail works too, but not as well as hand-written or typed letters. A kind word or a compliment gets your listener’s attention every time. Use words like “you,” “your family,” “what do you think.” (Stay away from “me” or “I” unless it’s crucial.) Do you want them to listen to what you have to say? Then listen to them first. 

Do you still need to bribe someone, especially a friend or family member?

There’s always FOOD. A pot of soup when they’re not feeling well…or it’s bleary outside. Coffee (on your dime) when they’re discouraged. (Here’s when it pays off to be a good listener, as well.) Add a handful of cookies, if you really want to get your point across, like these quick to make goodies. (They’re budget-priced, too.)

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES — FAST

1 cup sugar

1 cup peanut butter

1 egg

Mix ingredients together; form into balls on an uncreased cookie sheet and press each with a wet fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 min., until lightly brown. Makes about a dozen cookies. Best served warm, but they’re great anytime.

If your favorite brib-ee is allergic to peanuts, try these scrumptious chocolate chip cookies, instead. Then while their mouths are full and smiling, sit back and make your request. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they just might, very well, maybe:

Say Yes. 

 

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