Before you reach for your next cup of coffee, you might want to read this.
Researchers have found that a moderate dose of caffeine — found these days in coffee, tea, cola and energy drinks — can increase your willingness to be persuaded. That is, provided you aren’t distracted too much, you can be convinced of something more easily after a jolt of java. You might even say that it percs up sales.
The study has some very interesting implications. For example, it explains why junk email still flows into our inboxes every day. SOME of you must be drinking coffee when you read your email in the morning, whereupon you are convinced that mail order liver transplant kits are a good idea. You buy twenty, which only encourages the emailer to send out more messages.
The research also means that sales pitches are going to become more interesting. Sales people familiar with the study will ply their prospects with caffeinated beverages; people who wish to retain some skepticism will have to find ways to avoid such drinks. I can see many a potted plant in meeting rooms across the nation coming down with a bad case of the jitters.
Superbowl ads will no longer be hot properties. Instead, advertisers will pay top dollar to get their message on to your coffee cup — after all, what better time would there be to present an ad? I can also foresee major advances in coffee cup technology as a result of this. Forget boring old paper or Styrofoam cups; within a decade, we’ll have interactive, multimedia mugs that can download commercial content from the Internet via a wireless connection tucked away in the cup handle. (You laugh — ten years ago, did you think your telephone would play World Cup video highlights?)
I also predict that wives will start bringing fresh, hot coffee to their husbands without being asked. The husbands, ever clueless about such things, won’t make the connection between the appearance of a cup of joe and the following discussion. They will simply be convinced that the living room does, in fact, need repainting and that the lawn needs mowing, and further that a dishwasher would be a really good buy.
Loan applicants will start bringing strong coffee to meetings with their bank manager. Students will forgo an apple in favour of bringing a caffeinated energy drink to their teacher —especially if they’re just about to hand in an expository essay.
In-car coffee machines might make a comeback. Busted for speeding? Offer the nice constable a well-deserved hot drink as you explain how you didn’t realize you were going too fast. Failing that, bring a really good cup of espresso to the judge just before your lawyer presents your defense statement.
I think I’d also like to see this research expanded. Will machines and electronics work better if plied with caffeine? I know I’d try anything to get my printer to work properly the first time, even if it meant plugging a USB cable into my coffee pot.
I can also see coffee-laced appeals for donations becoming a trend. Indeed, let’s try it now:
1. Go get a big mug of your favourite brew.
2. Come back, sit down, and enjoy it.
3. You think it’s a really good idea to send me half a week’s pay.
Well, I bet I’ve convinced you of at least one thing with this week’s column.
And that’s that you really, really, really want a cup of coffee, right now.