Free Flattery

Too close to a fake thing. Brett Westcott and Cameron Brown like to stand on a corner in Times Square and compliment people walking by. They say they're doing this in a genuine attempt to spread good cheer. The problem is, many people have difficulty judging their sincerity:

Brown admits some students think they're playing a practical joke. "Some people question our sincerity, but we're 100 percent sincere. We wouldn't be doing this for two hours every Wednesday for eight months if we didn't mean it... The worst response we've gotten is the middle finger, or they just tell us to shut up. But then we give them positive reinforcement for that."

If I was walking down the street and someone yelled out, "Hey, nice pants!" or something similar, I'd assume they were being a wise-ass.

Pranks Psychology

Posted on Mon Mar 16, 2009


May I say that this is an extremely interesting and well-written item?
Posted by Big Gary  on  Mon Mar 16, 2009  at  10:10 AM
Are you serious, Big Gary? Or just trying to be a suck-up?
Posted by Kevin  on  Mon Mar 16, 2009  at  10:37 AM
That's a very apt and insightful comment, Kevin.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Mon Mar 16, 2009  at  10:48 AM
I had somebody tell me after watching a movie that the way I laughed "made the movie" for him. I thought he was being sarcastic, but he apparently meant it. I think. Maybe I should just wait for DVDs to come out so I can laugh in the privacy of my own home....
Posted by Joan, still puzzled  on  Mon Mar 16, 2009  at  01:36 PM
Dogbert discovered that he could make people insult themselves by complimenting them, e.g.
Me: "Joan, I just love the way you laugh"
Joan: "Are you kidding, I sound like an asthmatic donkey!"
(just kidding, Joan, I'm sure your laugh is like a joyous choir of bell-like harmonies,,, only surpassed by your deep kindness and sophisticated sense of humour)
Posted by Canadarm  on  Mon Mar 16, 2009  at  03:17 PM
Joan, your comment made this item for me.

Canadarm, your taste in comics is impeccable. I wouldn't want to peck it, anyway.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Mon Mar 16, 2009  at  04:00 PM
I always have trouble taking the compliment "you look nice today," because it always seems to imply that most other days I look like crap.
Posted by zgloria  on  Tue Mar 17, 2009  at  11:58 AM
These young men actually stand outside the Chemistry Bldg at Purdue University in Indiana, not Times Square.
Posted by Cynthia  on  Tue Mar 17, 2009  at  11:07 PM
Of course they aren't sincere . . . Nobody does anything nice for anyone without an alterior motive; Surely that is the one thing this site was created to educate peopel on, that no-one can be trusted. Ever.
Posted by D F Stuckey  on  Thu Mar 19, 2009  at  09:49 PM
Oh dear oh dear. People are so cynical today!
Posted by Dale  on  Wed Apr 15, 2009  at  11:25 PM
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