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One of the protagonists 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 nearly 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 fairy innocuous version is the Motivational Kiss.



  • What would you do for a Klondike Bar?

Anime and Manga

  • In Yu Yu 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 a 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 Play Station 2 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 plan 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 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 on is because Hench Snacks contain massive amounts of amphetamines.


  • 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: Its 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 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 Wolfgirl 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.
  • A.E. Housman's short poem "Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries" is the intersection of this trope and Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?.

Live Action Television

  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

Western Animation

  • Scooby Doo and the famous "Would you do it for a Scooby Snack?"
  • 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.
  • 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 and 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.