In the past, a greased palm could get you just about anything. But times have changed. Or have they? The only guarantees in life are death and taxes, leaving the effectiveness of the discrete “envelope” open to interpretation. Here, a look at some folks you might still be able to bribe.
AIRLINE CHECK-IN ATTENDANT
The prize: Legroom and endless booze in first class.
The technique: Include a bill with your passport at check-in, and ask gently. Though airlines have a system to determine upgrades, and head office monitors for irregularities, one airline staffer told us a colleague was recently fired for this offense. Which means it happens — but proceed with caution.
HOTEL FRONT DESK CLERK
The prize: A king-sized bed or killer views from your upgraded suite.
The technique: Hide a $50 bill behind your credit card at check-in, and ask for an upgrade. Good chance you’ll wind up in the Presidential Suite. As one clerk notes, desk workers have so much latitude you might not even need the bribe: “Often, you can change your room just by asking.”
BEER-LEAGUE HOCKEY REFEREE
The prize: Favourable calls; selective blindness.
The technique: Before the game, bring some Scotch — or cash — to the refs’ room. With refs usually earning between $25 and $40 a game, victory should come cheap. Yet we found no cases of hockey bribery. Says one ref, “If refs take bribes, they don’t talk about it.”
The prize: Skip the line and get extra-stiff drinks.
The technique: Offer $20 early on so your bartender remembers you. You’re likely to be rewarded, unless things get too hectic. “If a bartender blatantly gives you first dibs in a heated scrum,” says one industry veteran, “he risks losing other customers’ tips.”