My daughter is a master negotiator. It doesn’t matter if I’m telling her to get ready for bed, take a shower, do her homework, or clean her room, she will try to find a way to put it off by making a deal with me.
There is no place where her sales technique is more evident than at the dinner table. She hates vegetables, but loves treats, so she will inevitably request a Hershey’s Kiss in exchange for eating her asparagus.
Recently her little brother started following in her footsteps. But the other night at dinner, it was clear he still had some learning to do, when he complained, “Mom, I’m full.”
I said, “Okay, just take four more bites.”
You could see his brain working as he thought for a second, raised his eyebrows, and asked, “How about five?”
About a month ago, my son and daughter created a makeshift Christmas list by sitting down and circling items in a toy catalog. My daughter hasn’t wavered in her request for an iPod, a Nintendo DS and a Bongo Board. My son, however, can’t seem to make up his mind.
His first list included Transformers, a marble roller-coaster, and any and all things Little Einstein. I shopped, his grandparent’s shopped, and we thought the boy would have a very happy Christmas.
Roughly two weeks later, he decided he wanted a train, books, and some Webkinz. Then shortly after that, he took an interest in Backugan toys and added that to his list as well.
Despite trips back and forth to the store, and extra charges on the credit card, I thought we had things under control.
But all of that was before my son sat on Santa’s lap and we found he had changed his tune yet again. As he stroked the jolly elf’s beard, my boy put a sweet smile on his face, looked into Santa’s eyes…and asked him to bring us a horse.
On yesterday’s Oprah, ABC’s John Quiñones discussed What Would You Do?, which is his latest social experiment airing on Primetime…formerly known as Primetime Live. Also, formerly known as an interesting show. In this experiment, hidden cameras are used to see how people react when put into volatile situations.
In the first segment, we saw a group of female actors in a park. One of the girls was being bullied by the other three. The hidden camera was used to see if anyone would stop and help the victim.
The mean girls used labels like “nerd”, “loser”, and other niceties. Many women stopped and scolded the girls for their lousy behavior and made sure the victim was okay. Most men did nothing. Though in their defense, when women are talking, men don’t really listen. Unless that woman is Erin Andrews.
In the second experiment, an actor behind the counter of a bakery in Texas tells an actor dressed as a Muslim woman to take her business elsewhere. In this case, the cameras are there to see if anyone will criticize the “clerk” for his blatant discrimination.
Most customers ignore the situation, even when the clerk tells the woman to “get back on your camel and go back to where you came from”. Which is the point where I would have left the store, driven down the road to a cattle ranch, picked up a longhorn, then gone back to the bakery and kindly asked that bigot to bend over.
This lady with the sideways glance is Kiley. Kiley didn’t know there were hidden cameras watching her, as she watched her best friend’s boyfriend in a restaurant with another woman. You got that? Read it again. Here, let me help. Kiley’s best friend is Mary Ellen, and Mary Ellen’s boyfriend, David, was flirting with a woman who was not Mary Ellen. The other woman? You guessed it, she’s an actor.
Kiley was set up to see if she would confess what she witnessed. She did. She nervously told Mary Ellen that she saw David holding hands and kissing another woman. And to prove she’s the kind of friend every woman should have, Kiley then reached in her purse and offered Mary Ellen a Xanax.
After reading this, I wish I had some to offer you.