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Heroism Incentive

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Kid Win: You join the Wards, you get exactly what you need to reach your full potential as a Tinker. And anything you make, the PRT buys the rights from you. If you're willing to give up that much, you can do well for yourself.
Chariot: You're talking money?
Kid Win: I maybe shouldn't, but I'm going to tell you what I'm getting out of it, because it's almost definitely going to be the exact same for you. I get paid, but the money goes straight into a trust. I've made enough to pay for my college education, and every dollar I earn beyond that is going to be waiting for me as a cash award, if and when I graduate from a four-year postsecondary program. I'm getting four hundred dollars in allowance each month, just to mess around in my workshop, all my materials are paid for, and I currently have about two thousand dollars sitting in the bank, right now, from that. Once I turn eighteen? I make more. It automatically transitions to a job with good pay, working with the Protectorate, and the hours will be totally flexible around any classes I take.

One of the Main Characters needs someone to do something: maybe save the world, rescue the princess, split up, or maybe just improve their SAT score. The trick is how do you make someone do something? Appeal to their better nature? Fat chance. Explain to them how this will improve their life? Not likely. Bribe them? Hey, it worked!

This trope is for when someone uses bribery for a good, or at least not evil reason. This trope is normally used on the Loveable Rogues, the Brilliant, but Lazy, the Lovable Coward, and the just plain lazy.

It can be used by anyone, but most commonly from some sort of mentor figure or someone in some position of authority.

See also Not in This for Your Revolution. Compare to Bribe Backfire and Comically Small Bribe does not work because this bribe works, or they haggle until it works. Every Man Has His Price is only when the characters frequently bribe people during the narrative, while this could happen frequently to better the character usually it is only necessary the first time. A fairly innocuous version is the Motivational Kiss.


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  • What would you do for a Klondike Bar? People would do adventurous or embarrassing tasks for the ice creamy goodness. One commercial featured a man in a strict business suit dressing up as a clown. He got his bar
  • Kit Kat once ran a similar campaign "What would you do for a break?" The tasks were usually more mundane than Klondike's; one commercial shows a man biking in the middle of the night to a 24-hour convenience store to get one Kit Kat.

    Anime and Manga 
  • In YuYu Hakusho, Botan bribes Urameshi with wrestling tickets to go train with Genkai, and stop a demon from learning her techniques.
  • In Nagasarete Airantou, to get the girls, in an agricultural-based economy, to care about the school tests, they offer up a reward for the highest score: a date with the resident male.
  • In Lucky Star, Konata's interests are often exploited for this effect:
    • When Kagami asks Konata how a slacker like her managed to get into the same school, Konata tells how her father offered her video game systems depending on the rank of school she got into— for the extremely prestigious school she's in, it's a PS2 and a PC.
    • Patricia pulls this tactic out when dealing with Konata as well. Konata had heard about Patricia's cheerleading request in advance and was going to politely turn her down. But before Konata could do so, Patricia informs her that she has a rare ticket to see Aya Hirano perform, and what was it that Konata was going to say?
  • In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Kenichi had lost all self-confidence and just wanted to run away after watching a bit of the D of D tournament. The Elder offered him the Scooby Snack he always wanted: he can ask Miu out if he wins the tournament, courage ensues.
    • Apachai, normally brave and near unstoppable, is apparently terrified of flying. When Ryouzanpaku traveled to Okinawa for a mission, Apachai panicked and wrapped himself around a metal pole. He couldn't be pulled off without destroying the pole, so Miu managed to convince him to get on the plane by offering to cook hamburgers for three weeks.
  • At one point in Betterman, Keita becomes determined to get out of one of the series' many life-threatening disasters for one reason: So he can take Hinoki out on a date.
  • In One Piece, in the Fishman Island arc, Luffy tells Jimbei that he doesn't want to be a "hero" because, in his words, "if there's a big chunk of meat, heroes will share it to everyone, while pirates will throw a banquet and eat it, and I want ALL the meat!" Jimbei then tells him that he'll get as much meat as he wants if he saves Fishman Island - and Luffy agrees to it.

    Comic Books 
  • In one of the original Nodwick comics, the party gets Nodwick to keep lugging their loot when he's near exhaustion by giving him some Hench Snacks. It's noted that the reason this makes him able to keep going is that Hench Snacks contain massive amounts of amphetamines.
  • Bone: Phoney Bone is primarily motivated by greed, and actually traps himself in one of these, inventing a threat of dragons that only he, an expert Dragonslayer, can protect the townsfolk from and planning to set up an elaborate dragon trap and vanish in the night with a cart full of riches. Then he actually catches the dragon that's been protecting and helping his family up to this point, and the townspeople are not amused by his stalling and prevaricating.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Worm/Fate/stay night crossover Thaumaturgic Awakening, Rin takes the quote above and dismisses it as the PRT actually underpaying their heroes due to the fact that their duties are more specialized than that of a professional athlete and even more prone to major injuries. That there is no mandatory life insurance during Endbringer events, where a 20% mortality rate is considered a success, really infuriates Rin which is what makes her pay Taylor fifteen thousand dollars a month.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Luke telling Han he could get a handsome reward for saving Princess Leia in A New Hope.
    Han: Look, your worshipfulness, let's get one thing straight: I take orders from just one person - me!
    Leia: It's a wonder you're still alive. [walking past Chewbacca] Will somebody get this big walking carpet out of the way?
    Han: No reward is worth this.
  • In Spaceballs, the same trope applies handily to Lone Star and Barf, who only agree to rescue Princess Vespa for the sum of a million space bucks (which is what they owe Pizza the Hutt)
    We're not just doing this for money. We're doing this for a shitload of money!
  • In Trading Places, Louis offers Ophelia a fiscal Scooby Snack to help him regain his wealth and good name.

  • In Eragon, Brom bribes an Obstructive Bureaucrat. Eragon is shocked.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Harry secures the goblin's help by promising him the Sword of Gryffindor. He tries to go the Exact Words route by never specifying when he'd get it, but that's all for naught because Griphook steals the sword ahead of time anyway.
  • In Curse Of The Wolf Girl Malveria's attempt to bribe Dominil to hack into a computer system. After Malveria simply asks, Dominil notes it is illegal and unethical. Malveria produces a large stack of banknotes and Dominil's response is that it is far more illegal and unethical than that. Malveria produces a second stack of notes, and Dominil starts working on the computer system.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the pilot episode of Everwood, Andy tries to convince his 15-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter to move to the titular rural town in Colorado.
    Andy: Now, I want this to be a democratic decision, so we're going to put this to a vote. Everyone who wants to move...
    [nobody moves]
    Andy: ...And get their own horse, raise your hand.
    [Delia raises her hand excitedly]
  • In Firefly, Mal and Zoe offer Jayne better pay and his own quarters in exchange for dumping a contemptible crew that gave him little money and no respect. The fact that this deal also kept him from killing them was an added bonus.
    • In the episode "Heart Of Gold" the crew has been asked to assist a brothel, run by a friend of Inara's, that is under attack for little to no compensation. Jayne refuses, leading to this immortal exchange:
      Jayne: Don't know these people, don't much care to.
      Mal: They're whores.
      Jayne: I'm in.
  • On Scrubs, Dr. Cox tried talking J.D. out of being his second-born's godfather simply by giving him a hug. It almost worked.
  • Lost in Oz did this with the bottled tornado that would take Alex home once she defeated the Witch.

  • Lauroe from Tower of God is a Sleepyhead, incredibly talented but never quite there. So a tried and true tactic of the group is to take his pillow and blanket and hold them hostage until he gets the job done.
  • Sydney from Grrlpower is shocked after joining a team of government superheroes to learn she also gets a salary comparable to an athlete or actor. Her financial advisor points out that she has unique and valuable skills and it's in Archon's best interests to pay her accordingly, lest they lose her to the private sector.

    Web Original 
  • In Worm, one of the many incentives that the government offers kid superheroes if they join the Wards is this. Others include paying for college tuition, arranging for access to high-tech gadgets, and covering for you in the event of manslaughter.
  • Gaea from Noob, the franchise Miser Advisor, has shown both the good and the bad of this. The Not-Love Interest of one of her guildmates is in the vicinity? For a mere 500 credits, she will play Translator Buddy for his platonic Gibberish of Love. Someone happens to be willing to pay any price she asks in exchange for being a middleman between them and one of her business partners? The outcome of the negotiation may favor a faction other than the one in which she's currently playing? No problem.

    Western Animation 
  • Scooby-Doo and the famous "Would you do it for a Scooby Snack?"
    • This particular incentive is deconstructed in Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!, where Daphne is forced to point out how morally dubious it is to encourage a life-risking behavior from your closest friends with the promise of a treat in exchange. ("Bribe? No! I'm just keeping them separated from that which they love until I want them to do something they'd never otherwise do.") At one point, she tries to give them snacks purely as an act of friendship, but this goes over their heads when they willingly allow themselves to be under her control. The dilemma itself ends up being reconstructed in the end when Shaggy and Scooby gloat amongst themselves that they just successfully duped the rest of the gang into paying them with snacks to do things they would normally get forced to do anyway.
  • Quick Draw McGraw's dog Snuffles would do anything for a dog biscuit.
    • At one point Quick Draw wonders what the fuss is about and tries one. He has the same reaction as Snuffles.
  • Futurama: Bender doesn't want to come out of his torso cavity.
    Leela: (holding a beer) "Would you come out for a Bender Snack?"
  • On Family Guy, the best way to get Peter (and sometimes other characters) to do just about anything is to offer him food, a child's toy, or tempt him with some item nostalgic of whatever decade the writers think is funnier.
  • In The Simpsons episode "The Girl Who Slept Too Little", a frightened and naked Chief Wiggum refuses to come down from a tree. The second Lou offers him a doughnut, he's already on the ground, clothed, and ready to go.
  • Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines has Muttley either rescuing Dastardly from a tumble out an airplane to retrieving the recalcitrant Zilly—provided he gets a medal for his troubles.

    Real Life 
  • Many schools offer rewards based off of Accelerated Reading test results to get the students to read more.
  • Also in high school: "Come to [Insert class subject here] study group. We have candy."
    • In the same vein many college groups advertise free pizza at their meetings.
  • Michael Moore, encouraging college students to vote in the 2004 elections, passed out underwear and ramen noodles.
  • Many public libraries' summer reading programs. Although those are as much about getting parents to regularly bring their children to the library as about rewarding the children themselves for reading.
  • Discussed in Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn which argues that rewards reduce intrinsic motivation and the quality of the work done for the reward. They can act as a short-term fix but only make things worse in the medium to long term. E.g. with an accelerated reading program, people will pick out the shortest and simplest books that qualify, will perceive reading as an annoying hoop to be jumped through only as long as the rewards are held out, and will enjoy reading LESS than they did before any prizes were offered.

Alternative Title(s): Would You Do It For A Scooby Snack