245: Allure of the Mean Friend
Sep 5, 2003
What is it about them, our mean friends? They treat us badly, they don't call us back, they cancel plans at the last minute, and yet we come back for more. Popular bullies exist in business, politics, everywhere. How do they stay so popular?
- In which we conduct a little scientific experiment—on tape, with hidden microphones—about whether niceness pays. We wire two waitresses with hidden microphones. They're superfriendly to half their tables; and aloof to the other half. They examine their tips to see which generates more profits. Thanks to owners Jason Hammel and Lea Tshilds and the staff at the Lula Cafe in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood. (10 minutes)Song:
- "Untied", Tallulah
- A case study in every word from a friend meaning its opposite. An excerpt from the short story "The Underminer." A book based on the story is forthcoming from Bloomsbury USA. The story was written by Mike Albo and Virginia Heffernan. (4 minutes)
- An excerpt of Bernard Cooper's story about the bill he got from his own father, for the entire cost of his childhood. Actor Josh Hamilton reads. The story first appeared in Los Angeles Magazine and will be in Cooper's forthcoming book The Bill From My Father. Bernard Cooper is the author of several books, including Truth Serum: Memoirs and Guess Again: Short Stories. (19 minutes)