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“You Buy $30 To Go, You Get Free Coke and Wontons”

My smile was bigger than the Great Wall of China the first time this happened. We were regulars at this Chinese food take-out restaurant. But this time there was something unusual. When we paid our bill out popped a 2-liter bottle of Coke and 6 wontons.

Confusion reigned. Was I paying for something I hadn't ordered? Was there some communication gap here? My knotted eyebrows must have revealed my bewilderment quite clearly. Before I could go “blah,” the little Chinese lady behind the counter held up her hand, smiled and said the words that entranced me forever: “You buy $30 takeaway, you get free Coke and wontons!”

She Had Us Trained Like Lab Rats…

Before that day, our Chinese take-out never totaled more than $25. Yet magically as we crossed the $30 mark, this entrepreneurial woman made sure we knew the value of instant gratification. Every time we hit the $30 mark, out came the goodies. Every time we didn't, we get our order and big smiles, but little else.

Now we had a choice. We could have our usual, or order just a little more and be rewarded with all the extra goodies that came with it.

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Sean D'Souza uses age-old psychology, marrying it to modern technology, on his Web site, psychotactics.com. Can "psychological tactics" make a difference? Go there and find out.