“A Fine Night for Tea and Bludgeoning” by Beth Cato originally appeared in the anthology Little Green Men Attack, but I first heard it on Escape Pod episode 661. Rosemary Hardy is a proper Victorian lady by day, but by night she takes part in a precursor to roller derby in which she battles other women while roller skating. Her life becomes strange after she meets a green-skinned alien named Elvis Wibbles.
There’s a lot of funny lines in this one. During a fight between toddlers, we’re told that “several baby teeth had made early exits.” At one point, Rosemary insults her rival’s pink dress: “Certainly, such a screaming shade of color violates laws of both civil and religious nature.” When her mother expresses shock that Rosemary has a gentleman caller, she replies, “If you’re unsure of the visitor’s gender, we could make the fellow drop trou.” I also liked when “Mama, in her excitement, had managed to baptize her lap in lukewarm tea.”
I highly recommend everyone check it out!
A good way to build rapport with a potential customer is to point out similarities. We all have an inherent bias in favor of people who remind us of ourselves, even in trivial ways such as liking the same TV show. We even prefer products that have the same letters in their name as we do. Similarities that are less common, such as having the same birthday as someone else, enhances this effect. Also, using pronouns such as “we” and “us” can make someone feel more connected to you. We also tend to mimic people we like and like people who mirror our nonverbal behavior. Continue reading
Methods of Persuasion by Nick Kolenda explains several psychological techniques that can be used to subtly influence people. Psychologists and salesmen have known about many of these techniques for decades and I’ve heard of most of them before, so I didn’t feel like there was really anything new here, but it’s nice to have everything all in one place. Continue reading
Generalizing and categorizing are necessary for us to make sense of the world, however they provide an inaccurate picture and make us jump to conclusions. Many businesses miss out on opportunities for growth in other countries, falsely assuming the people there are too poor to buy their product. How you live has more to do with income than your country, religion, or culture. For example, westerners often lump all 54 countries in Africa together even though there’s immense difference in income from country to country and even within a single country. Continue reading
Most people think that the world is getting worse. However, when we look at the statistics, things have actually gotten much better. Why is our perception of reality so wrong? The media’s disproportionate focus on bad news is partly to blame, but the fundamental way our brains work is actually the biggest culprit. Evolution has made us good at making quick decisions. This is useful in many situations, but quickly jumping to conclusions without carefully considering all the facts also makes us prone to errors. Continue reading