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How To Make Friends And Influence Your Deli Guy

Compliment your deli guy’s non-deli activity, such as his gait, his nimble cashier fingers, and his charming bigotries.

Your regular deli guy is so sweet and generous to everyone, but you want to know whether it’s just for show or whether you stand to climb the social ladder out of these brief pleasantries. Use this list of tricks to milk your loyalty for all its worth.

Begin on Common Ground

Most people try to influence people through conflict and coercion. You and your deli guy are different because you have so much in common: he performs a transactive service at your commodified request.

Do Not Criticize, Condemn, or Complain 

Anyone can criticize. It takes real character and self-control to forgive your deli guy for putting peach schnapps in your Rise-n-Grind Smoothie, which gave you anaphylactic shock. 

Be Generous with Praise

Loudly and constantly compliment every sandwich that your deli guy makes, but also his non-deli activity, such as his gait, his nimble cashier fingers, and his charming bigotries. 

Know the Value of Charm

So much of ordering a sandwich depends not on where you went to college, or what’s on your resume, but whether people like you. Still, it doesn’t hurt to join the same golf club as your deli guy.

Remember People’s Names

Remembering peoples’ names can be difficult, particularly because he looks like such a ‘Mr. Deli Guy.’ But if you train yourself to remember his name, it can make him feel special and important. If you remember his name, maybe, Mr., uh, Deli Guy will finally change your nickname from Mr. Prednisone.

Be Quick to Acknowledge Your Own Mistakes

Be humble and reasonable enough to admit your own mistakes. Charging for mayo when you mistakenly asked for it was not an effrontery: it was your own mistake and you owe an extra 35 cents plus interest.

Have Your Deli Guy Believe Your Conclusion Is Their Own  

Do not “convince” him to invite you to his underground casino. Far too aggressive. Let him believe he invited you to play because you just off-handedly mentioned how lucky you’re feeling about a second mortgage.

Don’t Attempt to “Win” an Argument

The best way to win any argument is to avoid it. If your deli guy tries to argue with you that he doesn’t accept American Express, let him. If your deli guy’s hit-man attacks you with the slicer in the back alley, let him. If your deli guy pays off the judge in his trial over your murder, let him.

Be Genuinely Interested in Other People

In conversation, listen 75% of the time and only speak 25% of it. Hire a beautiful woman to seduce your deli guy and record the dalliance. Next time you go to the deli, spend 25% of your time ordering your sandwich and 75% of the time listening to the recording. 

Make People Feel Important

Take your deli guy out to dinner. Buy the fanciest wine on the menu. And don’t forget to mention the country club recommendation when you play him the blackmail audio.


Author’s Pick

I just read Bullshit Jobs by the late David Graeber which was excellent. (Available free here.)

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David Bradley Isenberg

David Bradley Isenberg is a writer living in New York City.

Articles: 2

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