Frequently in this space, we will consult a different entry in the 1987 book The Modern Man’s Guide to Life to see how the advice therein has aged. On Friday, we covered how to style your hair; today, we’re touching up on the dark art of bribery.

Bribery is a precarious affair, and if you’re not naturally a smooth operator, don’t even try it in a situation where you can get into real trouble. A maître d’ is an acceptable person to (attempt to) bribe. A cop is likely not.


If you are the type of jamoke who reads written guides on bribery, you are in the right place! Which also, as it happens, is the wrong place. On the topic:

Present the cash to the person you’re trying to bribe by letting him see it while making it apparent the offering might simply be an oversight. For example, if you’re trying to bribe a cop for a traffic offense, hand over your wallet with a bill pulled partway out. If he takes the money and returns your wallet, say absolutely nothing about the money. If, on the other hand, he asks if you’re trying to bribe him, answer that you’re not, and if he asks about the exposed bill, simply say that you must be more careful with your money. The principle of presenting money accidentally on purpose is the same with all bribes. The amount should never be less than twenty dollars, and a fifty- or one-hundred dollar bill may be required in some circumstances.

The method of bribing politicians, magistrates, corporate executives, and military buyers is considerably different, involving much greater sums of money.

Here’s the thing, though: If you’re the type who is reading a script for bribing an officer of the law, you’re going to come across as someone who has read a script for bribing an officer of the law. People who are actually adept at the art of bribery don’t need any guide. The other thing is, 2015 called, and wanted to tell you that no one will let you bribe them for $20. Inflation!


Except for kids! Kids are easy to bribe, and you should bribe them. It’s fine. Sometimes a casual I’ll give you a cookie if you do this thing you don’t want to do is all it takes to get a child moving. Probably works for some adults of no social consequence, too. The point is, if you truly are here for some bribery pointers, you should strongly consider keeping your bribes to extremely minor affairs. Or, at the very least, offer up more than a measly 20 bucks.