WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic
File:Phdfoodasbribe 9622.png

Hard to say no when you're a Starving Student


 And Scooby Doo, if you come through,

Then you can have yourself a Scooby Snack!

That's a fact!

A couple of lines from the original Scooby Doo cartoon theme song


Sometimes, things can get tough. You might be The Load or the Cowardly Lion. Your Five-Man Band really wants you to go into the Abandoned Hospital or to stand up to The Bully for the first time, but you find yourself incapable of going. What you need is the proper motivation. But would it be for cash? For a kiss? No? Then perhaps you would do it for food.

Food can be a very powerful motivator for some people. All you have to do is offer them a burger, or a french fry, and they're like putty in your hands. Sometimes, the food used can be anything, although, typically, it's one treat in particular. And sometimes, depending on the situation, one will not be enough. You'd have to offer them the whole box. For animals, bribing them can be just as easy as offering them the food their species is known for eating. And if you ever come across a cop you just can't buy your way out of a ticket from, try offering him a donut.

Compare Delicious Distraction, which is when food is used to distract. Can be invoked with Trademark Favorite Food. Contrast Denied Food as Punishment. Can possibly be thrown to invoke a Go Fetch situation.

Examples of Food as Bribe include:

Anime and Manga

Card Games

  • The Munchkin card game has a card called "Bribe the GM with Food." It serves as an instant level-up.
    • As does "Pay For The Pizza."

Film - Animated

  • The protagonist of Kung Fu Panda is motivated to do great deeds and work his butt off in training ... for food.

Film - Live-Action

  • Home Alone 3: The brother's parrot only plays along with the scheme if you have TWO crackers.

 "Double, or nothing"

  • In Strange Brew, Bob and Doug McKenzie successfully bribe the secretary at Elsinore Brewery for information by using a donut: "Perhaps one of THESE would refresh your memory?" She gives them a little information, but holds out for another before giving up the full scoop.


  • Harry Dresden is known to secure the loyalty of the Wildfae with pizza. It started as a simple quid pro quo: Pizza for information. Now they're his own little personal volunteer army.
    • Not a literal bribe, but dealing with the Eldest Gruff could well be considered this.
  • In the Discworld novel Night Watch, the narration mentions that Sam Vimes, the main character, does not take bribes at all, except those of donuts and beer.
    • Well, the Watch has been reformed so that they don't take bribes other than donuts and beer. Vimes doesn't take the beer, as he's a recovering alcoholic.
    • In Unseen Academicals Glenda Sugarbean gets in to see Vetinari twice by doing this to the palace guards.
      • Though they had been instructed to take all bribes offered, bring the people in question to a waiting room, and then lock it until Lord Vetinari decides what to do with them. Unfortunately they also dispose of any food bribes afterwards in fear of poison, which in this case even Lord Vetinari considered a crime against good cooking.
  • Stephanie Plum is often bribed by her mother by food. Seeing as how she is a very good cook and Steph is often broke, it is a very powerful motivator. When regular food just won't do, cake will usually seal the deal.
    • In one book former hooker Lula has witnessed a murder but is reluctant to go to the police station to make an official statement. Joe finally gets her to go by promising to buy her a bucket of chicken and a Carvel ice cream cake.
  • In the Tim Dorsey novel Orange Crush, a lobbyist considers the food and drink he provides at campaign functions to be part of the lobbying, with the impact being about ten cents on the dollar (A free meal worth fifty dollars provides as much influence with a politician as a $500 donation to his campaign).

Live-Action TV

  • ICarly: Sam can be bribed with food for a variety of reasons. Once, so that she'd leave resident Butt Monkey Freddie alone for a while, and earlier in her life, so that she'd be someone's boyfriend. Both times, the food in question was bacon.
  • Kel on Kenan and Kel would do it for a bottle of orange soda.
  • Used with Schultz on Hogan's Heroes regularly.
  • Power Rangers RPM: In "...And Action", the cast gives the viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the show without actually breaking character. Ziggy has to offer Doctor K sweets to get her involved.
  • The Amanda Show: Amanda's stalker Penelope Taynt tries to bribe Barney the security guard so she can sneak into Amanda's show. After failing to bribe him with money and jewels, Barney finally gives in when Penelope gives him a Pizza. A very nice slice of Pizza.


  • In Lost Souls MUD, this is the most pleasant way of getting past Kerberos, the three-headed dog guarding the fiery portal from the cave of Tainaron to the River Tethys.

Video Games

  • In Portal, you are meant to be motivated by cake.
  • In Tsukihime, Shiki regularly uses curry bread to get Ciel to talk to him.
  • The original The Legend of Zelda features this in the seventh dungeon, as you have to buy a bait to pass a particularly hungry Moblin enemy.
  • Dragon Age: Your companions have different ways of getting past the guard to the Circle Tower. Morrigan or Shale will just scare the living daylights out of him, Leliana will regale him with stories, and Sten...will offer him sweets (that he stole from a fat kid "for his own good"). Truly, Templar discipline is to be feared.

Web Comics

  • In Dominic Deegan, Oracle for Hire, Garrit demonstrates why the testimony of talking animals isn't admissible in court by bribing Spark to change his story about Bumper in one story arc.

  Spark: I saw nothing. Bumper sucks. Gimme fish.

  • A while back in General Protection Fault, Trudy Trueheart obtained a stockpile of advanced alien weapons by bribing an Alien Overlord... with cheese. Apparently, Earth is the only place in the galaxy where cheese is made, and their attempts to synthesize it (see: cattle mutilations) have so far failed.

Web Original

  • In Dragon Ball Abridged, Freeza trips up Big Eater Goku's Super Saiyan (nearly) total seriousness by offering him a pizza, two pizzas, with stuffed crust... and suddenly, at that, he's stopping to let Freeza power up and coming up with excuses that come back to stuffed crust, King Kai!

Western Animation

  • Scooby Doo: Perhaps the Trope Codifier. Scooby Snacks have been used in nearly all incarnations of the show to motivate Shaggy and Scooby into going into some creepy places.
    • Parodied in Futurama, where Bender retracts his limbs and head into his body. Leela tries to coax him out with a beer. "Would you do it for a Bender-snack?"
  • Johnny Test: Dookie will do anything for steak.
  • On South Park when those evil Canadians came to take Ike back from the Broflovskis after rescinding the adoption he refused to get in their car, until they offered him chocolate.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures this apparently partially[1] precipitated Tohru's Heel Face Turn.
  • A few episodes of Clifford the Big Red Dog showed that Mac refused to listen to what Jetta wanted him to do, unless he was offered a Tummy Yummy as motivation.
  • Used a couple times in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. Twilight is faced with this several times throughout "Ticket Master" by her friends in attempts to gain an extra ticket to the Grand Galloping Gala, but Twilight manages to turn away the bribes each time despite stating several times how hungry she is. Pinkie Pie also uses this against Spike in "Party of One" as part of her Perp Sweating sequence.
  • In Recess, the main six try to bribe Brittany A. to give her sister, Ashley A.'s diary back, by using candy. It doesn't work.
    • In another episode, the Ashleys bribe T.J. with candy to get him to hang out with them after realizing her found a $100 bill.
  • In the Adventures of the Gummi Bears episode, "My Kingdom For Pie", Duke Igthorn tries to bribe Tummi with a feast in order to find Gummi Glen.

Real Life

  • Fancy Dinners have long been a way to smooth the waters of diplomacy. In fact in the British Diplomatic service it used to be a requirement to have a high tolerance for liquor . At times expensive food or drink was used as a bribe. A wine bottle might save face for instance when money is insulting. After all the spy you want might be a traitor but he wants to be known as a cultured traitor.
  • Cory Montieth mentioned that the choreographer for Glee uses candy as a bribe so that they can keep working.
  • Napoleon supposedly once faced an enemy army that was ill-supplied. He promised them food if they joined his army. It worked!
  • Animal trainers are fond of using this trope.
  1. The fact that his old boss threw him out a window had something to do with it, too
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.