every day. Now, that may not seem like a big deal, but think about: Lunch is awesome. If Charlie Manson brought me a free lunch every day, I'd at least listen to his sales pitch on forehead swastikas. "I don't think it's for me, Charlie, but keep talking, this is
Sometimes, things can get tough. You might be The Load
or the Cowardly Lion
. Your Five-Man Band
really wants you to go into the Abandoned Hospital
or to stand up to The Bully
for the first time, but you find yourself incapable of going. What you need is the proper motivation. But would it be for cash
? For a kiss
? No? Then perhaps you would do it for food.
Food can be a very powerful motivator for some people. All you have to do is offer them a burger, or a french fry, and they're like putty in your hands. Sometimes, the food used can be anything, although, typically, it's one treat in particular
. And sometimes, depending on the situation, one will not be enough. You'd have to offer them the whole box. For animals, bribing them can be just as easy as offering them the food their species is known for eating
. And if you ever come across a cop you just can't buy your way out of a ticket from, try offering him a donut
Compare Delicious Distraction
, which is when food is used to distract, and I Was Told There Would Be Cake
, and Through His Stomach
and Tastes Like Friendship
, when food is used to cement a relationship. Can be invoked with Trademark Favorite Food
. Contrast Denied Food as Punishment
. Can possibly be thrown to invoke a Go Fetch
Anime and Manga
- Used in various ads for Klondike Bar. "What would you do for a Klondike Bar?"
- Ryuk and apples in Death Note.
- In K-On!, the band uses cake and other sweets to motivate Yui to join the band, practice, and study.
- In Angel Beats!, Matsushita will do just about anything for meat udon.
- Fancy tuna for Haruhi in Ouran High School Host Club.
- In A Channel, Run's mother promises her all the Kobe beef she can eat to motivate her to study harder and apply to a better high school.
- Hana of My Heavenly Hockey Club. Just about any food will work, if there's enough of it.
- Horo from Spice and Wolf can usually be bought with apples, but will occasionally demand fancier foods (most notably, the honey-pickled peaches that are considered a delicacy in the city they are currently visiting)
- Used in the next episode preview skit at the end of episode 6 of Koufuku Graffiti. Kirin and Ryou are still in their bath towels while doing the singing, but Ryou is hiding just off screen. Kirin then pulls out a popsicle and throws it at her to get Ryou to come. Unfortunately her towel falls off as she jumps at the popsicle, and Kirin leaps towards her in an attempt to cover her.
- The Munchkin card game has a card called "Bribe the GM with Food." It serves as an instant level-up. As does "Pay For The Pizza."
- In Beetle Bailey, Beetle can get Sarge to excuse him from anything with four simple words: "my mom's homemade cookies".
- One case where food is offered as payment happens in Peanuts where Charlie Brown offers to trade players with Peppermint Patty's team, offering Lucy for Marcie. When Lucy complains that he was robbed, Charlie Brown disagrees, saying that he got the better deal because Patty included a pizza. (He was more right than he imagined. When Patty realizes what a terrible player Lucy is, she wants to call the deal off; Charlie Brown tells her, "I already ate the pizza...")
Film - Animated
- Hobbes is easily bribed to do something with tuna in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series.
- Played with in the fifty-ninth chapter of Kyon Big Damn Hero. After Kyon and most of the girls in the Brigade teleported to Yuki's Pocket Dimension for some training Hanyuu instantly assumed they went somewhere to do "naughty things" and ran off to inform Rika, only to be stopped by Kuyou buying off her silence with cookies. Funnily enough, the "bribing" part only happened in Hanyuu's head as Kuyou only wanted to share some of her cookies with her.
Film - Live-Action
- The protagonist of Kung Fu Panda is motivated to do great deeds and work his butt off in training... for food.
- In A Goofy Movie, Max paid his friend Bobby with spray cheese to assist him in hijacking a school assembly.
- Home Alone 3: The brother's parrot only plays along with the scheme if you have TWO crackers.
"Double, or nothing"
- In Strange Brew, Bob and Doug McKenzie successfully bribe the secretary at Elsinore Brewery for information by using a donut: "Perhaps one of THESE would refresh your memory?" She gives them a little information, but holds out for another before giving up the full scoop.
- In The Matrix, Cypher betrays the resistance so he can get plugged back into the Matrix. One of the reasons he does this is so he can enjoy the virtual food in the Matrix without knowing it isn't real. The Agent offering him the deal is treating him to a steak dinner in the Matrix at the time.
- Harry Dresden is known to secure the loyalty of the Wildfae with pizza. It started as a simple quid pro quo: Pizza for information. Now they're his own little personal volunteer army.
- In the Discworld novel Night Watch, the narration mentions that the Ankh-Morpork City Watch has been reformed to the extent that they don't accept bribes, except donuts and beer.
- In Unseen Academicals Glenda Sugarbean gets in to see Vetinari twice by doing this to the palace guards.
- Though they had been instructed to take all bribes offered, bring the people in question to a waiting room, and then lock it until Lord Vetinari decides what to do with them. Unfortunately they also dispose of any food bribes afterwards in fear of poison, which in this case even Lord Vetinari considered a crime against good cooking.
- Miles Vorkosigan is known to use Ma Kosti's cooking to bribe people, though this tends to lead to half-joking threats to kidnap her.
- Stephanie Plum is often bribed by her mother by food. Seeing as how she is a very good cook and Steph is often broke, it is a very powerful motivator. When regular food just won't do, cake will usually seal the deal.
- In one book former hooker Lula has witnessed a murder but is reluctant to go to the police station to make an official statement. Joe finally gets her to go by promising to buy her a bucket of chicken and a Carvel ice cream cake.
- In the Tim Dorsey novel Orange Crush, a lobbyist considers the food and drink he provides at campaign functions to be part of the lobbying, with the impact being about ten cents on the dollar (A free meal worth fifty dollars provides as much influence with a politician as a $500 donation to his campaign).
- In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, at the beginning, Uncle Vernon is trying to seal a business deal by inviting a potential client to dinner.
- iCarly: Sam can be bribed with food for a variety of reasons. Once, so that she'd leave resident Butt Monkey Freddie alone for a while, and earlier in her life, so that she'd be someone's boyfriend. Both times, the food in question was bacon.
- Kel on Kenan & Kel would do anything for a bottle of orange soda.
- Used with Schultz on Hogan's Heroes regularly.
- Power Rangers RPM: In "...And Action", the cast gives the viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the show without actually breaking character. Ziggy has to offer Doctor K sweets to get her involved.
- The Amanda Show: Amanda's stalker Penelope Taynt tries to bribe Barney the security guard so she can sneak into Amanda's show. After failing to bribe him with money and jewels, Barney finally gives in when Penelope gives him a Pizza. A very nice slice of Pizza.
- Kamen Rider OOO: While Ankh genuinely does need Eiji to get Cell and Core Medals from enemy Greeed and Yummies, he is frequently bribed into good behaviour with icy poles.
- In Psych episode "Shawn Interrupted", Shawn needs to get a possibly-insane character in front of a hidden camera in the hospital library, so he uses a bowl of Skittles to do it since he's already seen that they're his Trademark Favorite Food.
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Stabler and Benson once use food to get a starving girl to start talking about a murder suspect.
- In one Law & Order episode, the detectives convince a pair of streetwalkers to share any information they might have concerning the episode's case by offering them free doughnuts and coffee for breakfast.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy and Cordelia are shamelessly pandering for votes for the Homecoming Queen. One contestant offers a cookie only for Buffy to barge in front of her and hand out large cupcakes. Cordelia then appears handing out baskets of chocolates, taking the cupcakes and throwing them in the trash.
- In Lost Souls MUD, this is the most pleasant way of getting past Kerberos, the three-headed dog guarding the fiery portal from the cave of Tainaron to the River Tethys.
- The Kappa is a fearsome monster that likes to eat human entrails and blood. One way to survive an encounter with one is to offer it the one treat it enjoys more than human flesh: cucumbers. Offering a kappa a cucumber inscribed with your name on it will earn you your safety and maybe even the kappa's friendship.
- In The Bible, Jacob was able to get his brother Esau to sell his birthright for a bowl of stew.
- In The Birds by Aristophanes, the promise of a meal of roasted poultry is enough for Heracles to give away the sceptre of Zeus to the birds, thus ceding them the rule over the world.
- In Portal, you are meant to be motivated by cake.
- In Tsukihime, Shiki regularly uses curry bread to get Ciel to talk to him.
- The original The Legend of Zelda features this in the seventh dungeon, as you have to buy a bait to pass a particularly hungry Moblin enemy.
- Dragon Age: Origins: Your companions have different ways of getting past the guard to the Circle Tower. Morrigan or Shale will scare the living daylights out of him, Leliana will regale him with stories, and Sten... will offer him sweets (that he stole from a fat kid "for his own good"). Truly, Templar discipline is to be feared. It's less funny when you learn the guard is an example of what lyrium does to the brain.
- Later on, when choosing a champion to fight for you in a Trial by Combat, you can try to choose your dog. Arl Eamon is quick to point out that the dog's loyalty could be bought with a ham bone.
- In Paper Mario, an Anti-Guy guards a chest with a very useful badge in Chapter 4. You could try to tough it out and beat him in a straight fight, or you could just bring him some Lemon Candy in exchange for the badge.
- All of the Quest for Glory games have this trope.
- To make friends with the Apple Kid in Earthbound, you have to give him a food item.
- Maybe it counts more as "bait" than a "bribe", but ever since Honey was introduced as an item in Pokémon in Gen IV, it can be used to attract Pokémon. In Gen VI, it can even be used to attract Pokémon Hordes.
- Fancy Dinners have long been a way to smooth the waters of diplomacy. In fact in the British Diplomatic service it used to be a requirement to have a high tolerance for liquor. At times expensive food or drink was used as a bribe. A wine bottle might save face for instance when money is insulting. After all the spy you want might be a traitor but he wants to be known as a cultured traitor.
- Cory Montieth mentioned that the choreographer for Glee uses candy as a bribe so that they can keep working.
- Napoleon supposedly once faced an enemy army that was ill-supplied. He promised them food if they joined his army. It worked!
- Animal trainers are fond of using this trope.
- Bonobos (a type ape related to the chimpanzee) have been observed exchanging food for sex.