main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Begone Bribe
"I thought he'd go away if I gave him a dollar!"
Chef's mother on the Loch Ness Monster, South Park

A common reaction to the Annoying Younger Sibling or Dreadful Musician, where for the sake of a quiet life, the put-upon person resorts to paying off a pest in return for them leaving. The bribe is usually money, but could be anything.

A subtrope of Screw the Rules, I Have Money!. Compare with Every Man Has His Price for "bribery" in a more generic sense. See also Remittance Man.


    open/close all folders 


  • Stu, the protagonist in Phone Booth, dismisses others by offering them money or valuable items, on more than one occasion. The Caller reminds him of this later and comments on how it shows Stu's disrespect towards other people.
  • Apparently in Star Wars Jar Jar Binks once found employment as a shudderup musician; people pay to shut 'em up.
  • In Big Daddy Julian will not stop talking to a bum (Steve Buscemi) on the way to McDonald's. Sonny (Adam Sandler) offers him an egg mcmuffin to end the conversation; he pretends to fall asleep after its upgraded to a sausage mcmuffin with hash browns. During the trial at the climax, Sonny waves a McDonald's bag at him to get him to conclude his testimony.
  • In A Bronx Tale, C complains to Sonny about a guy who owes him twenty dollars and has taken to running away every time he sees C coming. Sonny asks if this guy is really someone he wants as a friend, and when C says no, Sonny tells him that isn't a problem, and to look at it as a begone bribe instead of an unpaid debt. Paraphrased slightly, Sonny says "He'll never ask you for anything again and he's out of your life forever for twenty dollars. You got off cheap."


  • In the Discworld books:
    • This is said to be the modus operandi of many members of the Beggar's Guild.
    • In Night Watch, Young!Nobby Nobbs comments to Vimes what a deal it is for him stop following him for a pence (I think), sometimes he followed people until they paid much more.
    • In Hogfather, Foul Ol' Ron and his fellow tramps tell a restaurant owner that they'll sing (badly) for free, since it's Hogswatch (the Disc's version of Christmas). He takes the hint and gives them some food to make them go away.
    • In The Truth, William de Worde pays his father a generous estimate of what it cost to raise him in order to get him to go away. The money isn't the thing, as Lord de Worde has gold in his DNA, but instead is based on the Dwarven tradition in which betrothed dwarves buy one another from their parents to symbolize their independence.
    • In Mort, when Death has retired, and is looking for a new job with the first and only Ankh-Morpork job placement official, he is interrupted by a woman. Said woman ignores Death's sinister VOICE and threats. She only leaves when Death bribes her to leave.
    • Variation in Jingo, also involving Nobby: he's in disguise as an exotic dancer, but people are paying him not to take his clothes off.
  • In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe there is a violinist at the eponymous restaurant who Zaphod and Ford get rid of like this. He leaves and goes over to bother Arthur and Trillian.
  • In Twenty Years After, Aramis relates an anecdote about a time when Cardinal Mazarin got into a disagreement with a prince whose alliance he desired:
    ... "The prince immediately sent fifty thousand livres to Mazarin, begging him never to write to him again, and offering twenty thousand livres in addition if he engaged never to speak to him again. What did Mazarin do?"
    "He took offence?" said Athos.
    "He beat the messenger?" said Porthos.
    "He took the money?" said d'Artagnan.
    "You have guessed right, d'Artagnan," said Aramis.
  • In one of the Myth Adventures books, Aahz is kidnapped. Skeeve immediately goes to the king's treasurer (who hates Aahz) and tells him that for a bribe, Aahz will go away. He pays it.
    • In a later book, a con artist that Skeeve has held a torch for for a number of books hits him up for some cash to start up a new scam, and he finally realizes how amoral and mercenary she is. He gives her the money on condition that she go away and never come back.
  • In the Italian short story La Patente (which is a sort of deconstruction of The Jinx trope), the main character, after having his life ruined because of his fame of jinx, decides to get a living this way by standing near shops, so that shopkeepers, fearing his bad influence, would pay him to leave.
  • Rudyard Kipling warned in Dane-Geld that this only encourages aggressors to extort more Begone Bribes in the future.
    And that is called paying the Dane-geld
    But we've proved it again and again
    That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
    You never get rid of the Dane.
    We never pay any-one Dane-geld
    No matter how trifling the cost.
    For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
    And the nation that plays it is lost!

     Live Action TV  

  • In Scrubs, there's some part where JD is trying to get Cox to hire more nurses. Cox claims that there just isn't enough money for it, but that JD could raise the money himself, since he's so annoying, by offering people a service whereby he doesn't talk to them in exchange for a monthly fee.
  • The Benny Hill Show: Benny is sitting in the park reading a book called "How to Get Rich." A young boy comes along with a toy trumpet blaring away. Benny buys the trumpet from the boy, then throws it away. Along comes a bunch of kids each with his/her own instrument (led by the trumpet boy, now with a new toy). Benny buys all their instruments, then realizes how much he just spent. He throws the book away and calls trumpet boy over, talking to him and taking notes on how to get rich.
  • From Blackadder season two:
    Blackadder: Excuse me, could you move along, please? Look, I'm waiting for my father in law. Last thing I want is some scruffy old beggar blocking the church door, smelling of cabbage.
    Kate's father: I am your father in law.
    Blackadder: Oh, no... All right, how much you want to clear off?
    Kate: Edmund, how could you? He's my father, my only living relative.
    Kate's father: Ten pounds should do the trick.
  • On Mad Men, Don's long-lost half-brother Adam, who has thought he was dead for years (as Don intended), tracks him down and tries to re-establish their relationship. Don gives him five thousand dollars and tells him never to contact him again. Adam commits suicide, leaving Don with a vast amount of well-earned guilt. This storyline gets a Call Back a couple of seasons later when Don volunteers to drive his current mistress's epileptic younger brother to his new job out of state, only for the brother to announce that he has no intention of staying there because his jobs never work out. Don lets him go, giving him some money and telling him that if anything happens to him, his sister will never forgive herself.
  • Starsky & Hutch: When Starsky finds out that Hutch's girlfriend is a prostitute, he tries to pay her a large amount of money to leave town so Hutch won't have to find this out. She declares her love for Hutch and refuses to go; he accepts this, though he warns that she needs to tell Hutch her secret, or he'll do it for her. It being that kind of show, she's dead before she has a chance to.
  • In Zoey101, Logen's father arrives to confront his son about overspending his credit card and demands that Chase and Zoey leave the room, Chase responds "It's my room, you can't make me leave." until the butler offers him a 100 doller bill, "And suddenly I feel like standing in the hallway."

     Newspaper Comics 

     Puppet Shows  

  • A Sesame Street sketch had Cookie Monster's picnic interrupted by a mosquito, which wants to enter his picnic basket. Cookie Monster offers the mosquito various cookies if it will go away, but the mosquito refuses every one. Finally, Cookie Monster offers the mosquito a letter Z, which the mosquito happily accepts.

     Real Life  

  • School counselors advise students being bullied against paying off The Bully, because the bully will just keep coming back for more money.
    • The Raj had a variation of that. It basically told border tribes with a propensity for raiding that they could have either gold or lead as incentive to peaceful behavior. It is hard to gauge the effectiveness of this; the area was never too much of a nuisance but it was never peaceful either.
    • The Vikings were also quite fond of extorting payment from nations they raided — this was the inspiration for Kipling's Dane-Geld.
    • Policies of appeasement in general basically amount to this. As history has shown, appeasement of aggressors is very bad policy.
  • Frequently, young people will pay their date's Annoying Younger Sibling to leave.
  • Cledus T Judd has recounted an anecdote about his early career where one man kept coming by and putting money in the tip jar. At a break in the music, Cletus thanked the man for the tip, to which the man retorted that he thought that maybe if he paid Cletus, he could get rid him.
  • This trick is used by mariachis at tourist resorts in Mexico. The mariachis will serenade / and they will not shut up till they are paid...
  • The tradition of going door-to-door singing Christmas carols has its origins in the older tradition of Wassailing, in which peasants would demand gifts from wealthy landowners. One Christmas carol, "We Wish You A Merry Christmas", has largely forgotten verses that consist of the singers saying that they won't leave until they're given "figgy pudding."
    • This comes back to haunt Doofenshmirtz in the Phineas and Ferb Christmas special. After ranting and railing against the carolers for nearly the entire episode, he finds a can of figgy pudding in his cupboard and finally gets them to go away.
  • Eric Idle on John Cleese in The Pythons Autobiography:
    He once told me, and he won't deny this, "I'll do anything for money." So I offered him a pound to shut up, and he took it.

     Video Games  

  • You do this all the bloody time in Assassin's Creed I with beggars, bards, etc. Sometimes guards too.
  • A learnable skill in Final Fantasy X, which becomes rather useful due to the rare items some enemies leave behind them after using it.
  • On some levels of hell in Nethack the level's resident Demon Lord will let you go peacefully if you pay it a sufficient bribe. Amusingly, if you type in a negative number for the amount of gold pieces to give, the demon will attack you for trying to short-change it.
  • Referenced in Sam & Max: Freelance Police season 2 episode 2 if you talk to the Maoi heads after drinking from the fountain of youth. "Look, I'm not very good with kids. Can I just give you some money or something so you'll go away?"
  • The city of Okriana in Outcast has street musicians you have to pay to shut up.
  • The Legend of Zelda I actually has this happen to Link. Moblins in usually-hidden caves will bribe him with various amounts of Rupees in return for leaving them alone.

     Web Animation  

  • In the Strong Bad email, "Trading Cards" Strong Bad exchanges a "get outta my face" with Homestar for a post-it with a picture of Strong Bad bench-pressing a dinosaur. Homestar then reveals that he has been collecting these in exchange for "get outta my faces"; he currently has thirty-five of them.


  • In Megatokyo, Largo is being surprisingly nice to Erika after her past has caught up with her. However, she assumes he wants something from her, so just bluntly asks him "If I sleep with you, will you go away?"
  • In Brawl in the Family, turns out the Moblin only paid off Link so Link doesn't tell anyone about his doll fantasies and to make Link go away.

     Web Original  

  • Neopets has a random event where a rendingly mewling Mutant Kadoatie appears and "you pay its owner 5000 Neopoints to take it away".

     Western Animation  

  • In an episode of Recess, Mikey imagines himself as a bard/minstrel when he's older. He serenades a couple, making the lady swoon and prompting her date to pay him to move on.
  • In the Family Guy episode "One if by Clam, Two if by Sea" the Griffins get new British neighbors. When Stewie hears Eliza's accent, he gives her a sixpence to keep her mouth shut and go away.
  • On The Simpsons, after Homer and his dad discovered and began selling a concoction of stuff from the medicine cabinet with a powerful aphrodisiac effect, Homer gives the kids money to go out to the movies so he can have sex with Marge. Evidently, every other parents in Springfield did the same.
    • On Valentine's Day, Homer lets the kids watch TV as loud as they want, for the same reason.
    • Marge once gave Homer a toaster for him to fix(badly) in the basement so she could fantasize on her romance novel.

Bargain with HeavenBargain TropesThe Bet
Beehive BarrierAdded Alliterative AppealBehemoth Battle
Barefoot PovertyMoney TropesBig Fancy House

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy