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I thought he'd go away if I gave him a dollar!
Chef's mother on the Loch Ness Monster, South Park

A common reaction to the Annoying Younger Sibling or Dreadful Musician, where for the sake of a quiet life, the put-upon person resorts to paying off a pest in return for them leaving. The bribe is usually money, but could be anything.

A subtrope of Screw the Rules, I Have Money. Compare with Every Man Has His Price for "bribery" in a more generic sense.

Examples of Begone Bribe include:


  • Stu, the protagonist in Phone Booth, dismisses others by offering them money or valuable items, on more than one occasion. The Caller reminds him of this later and comments on how it shows Stu's disrespect towards other people.
  • Apparently in Star Wars Jar Jar Binks once found employment as a shudderup musician; people pay to shut 'em up.
  • In Big Daddy Julian will not stop talking to a bum (Steve Buscemi) on the way to McDonald's. Sonny (Adam Sandler) offers him an egg mcmuffin to end the conversation; he pretends to fall asleep after its upgraded to a sausage mcmuffin with hash browns. During the trial at the climax, Sonny waves a McDonald's bag at him to get him to conclude his testimony.


  • In the Discworld books:
    • This is said to be the modus operandi of many members of the Beggar's Guild.
    • In Night Watch, Young!Nobby Nobbs comments to Vimes what a deal it is for him stop following him for a pence (I think), sometimes he followed people until they paid much more.
    • In Hogfather, Foul Ol' Ron and his fellow tramps tell a restaurant owner that they'll sing (badly) for free, since it's Hogswatch (the Disc's version of Christmas). He takes the hint and gives them some food to make them go away.
    • In The Truth, William de Worde pays his father a generous estimate of what it cost to raise him in order to get him to go away. The money isn't the thing, as Lord de Worde has gold in his DNA, but instead is based on the Dwarven tradition in which betrothed dwarves buy one another from their parents to symbolize their independence.
    • Variation in Jingo, also involving Nobby: he's in disguise as an exotic dancer, but people are paying him not to take his clothes off.
  • In The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy there is a violinist at the titular restaurant who Zaphod and Ford get rid of like this. He leaves and goes over to bother Arthur and Trillian.
  • In Twenty Years After, Aramis relates an anecdote about a time when Cardinal Mazarin got into a disagreement with a prince whose alliance he desired:

... "The prince immediately sent fifty thousand livres to Mazarin, begging him never to write to him again, and offering twenty thousand livres in addition if he engaged never to speak to him again. What did Mazarin do?"
"He took offence?" said Athos.
"He beat the messenger?" said Porthos.
"He took the money?" said d'Artagnan.
"You have guessed right, d'Artagnan," said Aramis.

  • In one of the Myth Adventures books, Aahz is kidnapped. Skeeve immediately goes to the king's treasurer (who hates Aahz) and tells him that for a bribe, Aahz will go away. He pays it.
  • As Rudyard Kipling pointed out:

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we've proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld,
You never get rid of the Dane.


Live Action TV

  • In Scrubs, there's some part where JD is trying to get Cox to hire more nurses. Cox claims that there just isn't enough money for it, but that JD could raise the money himself, since he's so annoying, by offering people a service whereby he doesn't talk to them in exchange for a monthly fee.
  • The Benny Hill Show: Benny is sitting in the park reading a book called "How to Get Rich." A young boy comes along with a toy trumpet blaring away. Benny buys the trumpet from the boy, then throws it away. Along comes a bunch of kids each with his/her own instrument (led by the trumpet boy, now with a new toy). Benny buys all their instruments, then realizes how much he just spent. He throws the book away and calls trumpet boy over, talking to him and taking notes on how to get rich.
  • From Blackadder season two:

Blackadder: "Excuse me, could you move along, please? Look, I'm waiting for my father in law. Last thing I want is some scruffy old beggar blocking the church door, smelling of cabbage."
Kate's father: "I am your father in law."
Blackadder: "Oh, no... All right, how much you want to clear off?"
Kate: "Edmund, how could you? He's my father, my only living relative."
Kate's father: "Ten pounds should do the trick."


Puppet Shows

  • A Sesame Street sketch had Cookie Monster's picnic interrupted by a mosquito, which wants to enter his picnic basket. Cookie Monster offers the mosquito various cookies if it will go away, but the mosquito refuses every one. Finally, Cookie Monster offers the mosquito a letter Z, which the mosquito happily accepts.

Real Life

  • School counselors advise students being bullied against paying off The Bully, because the bully will just keep coming back for money.
  • Seen It a Million Times where a boy will pay his date's Annoying Younger Sibling to leave.
  • Cledus T Judd has recounted an anecdote about his early career where one man kept coming by and putting money in the tip jar. At a break in the music, Cletus thanked the man for the tip, to which the man retorted that he thought that maybe if he paid Cletus, he could get rid him.
  • This trick is used by mariachis at tourist resorts in Mexico. The mariachis will serenade / and they will not shut up till they are paid...
  • The British used to regularly pay "subsidies" to Afghan tribes to refrain from raiding. In their case they supported the payment with threat of retaliation. Or as someone rather cutely called it, "gold or lead".

Video Games

  • You do this all the bloody time in Assassin's Creed with beggars, bards, etc. Sometimes guards too.
  • A learnable skill in Final Fantasy X, which becomes rather useful due to the rare items some enemies leave behind them after using it.
  • On some levels of hell in Nethack the level's resident Demon Lord will let you go peacefully if you pay it a sufficient bribe. Amusingly, if you type in a negative number for the amount of gold pieces to give, the demon will attack you for trying to short-change it.
  • Referenced in Sam and Max Freelance Police season 2 episode 2 if you talk to the Maoi heads after drinking from the fountain of youth. "Look, I'm not very good with kids. Can I just give you some money or something so you'll go away?"

Web Comics

  • In Megatokyo, Largo is being surprisingly nice to Erika after her past has caught up with her. However, she assumes he wants something from her, so just bluntly asks him "If I sleep with you, will you go away?"

Web Original

  • Neopets has a random event where a rendingly mewling Mutant Kadoatie appears and "you pay its owner 5000 Neopoints to take it away".

Western Animation

  • In an episode of Recess, Mikey imagines himself as a bard/minstrel when he's older. He serenades a couple, making the lady swoon and prompting her date to pay him to move on.
  • In the Family Guy episode "One if by Clam, Two if by Sea" the Griffins get new British neighbors. When Stewie hears Eliza's accent, he gives her a sixpence to keep her mouth shut and go away.
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