Thursday, October 03, 2013

Proper Motivation

As the child of two people trained in Skinnerian research (really: rats were involved), I believe that to get the behavior one desires, an incentive is frequently necessary.  My children have an elaborate rewards system going for various things (most of it is stuff I would do anyways, like let them watch a Dinosaur Train, but now it's motivational).  Adults are sometimes a little trickier, though a well-placed piece of chocolate is surprisingly effective.

In any event.  I belong to a moms' group here* which does various fund-raisers.  The current one is a consignment sale** for which hundreds of things had to be sorted, hung, and tagged by volunteers.

So, the motivation?  Sorters could buy whatever they wanted before it went to the sale.  Kids' clothes, $1; adults, $2.  I just got a whole washing-machine full of Bug winter clothes for $23.  Plus a ratty coat to cut up for potholders.

This tactic demonstrates an excellent understanding of human motivation.

* I KNOW I KNOW.  It's the most heternormative middle-class thing in ever.  But what else is there to do here?  And I may only be here a year.  I don't have time to just meet people at playgrounds.  And I need human company.
** One of the moms drives around to garage sales and offers to take the spares off their hands at the end of the garage sale, so they don't have to go to Goodwill, plus they can still get a tax-deduction receipt.  Brilliant.


  1. Anonymous9:56 AM

    That is fantastic. Those consignment sales are the best. Mom friends too, no matter how you get them.

  2. I am motivated by food. It's not surprising that I prefer to grow fruit above all else. C1 appears to be greatly motivated by money, TV, and video games. Also, free food. He gets paid 10 cents every time he switches laundry around, and he's saving his money to buy Skylanders characters. He's willingly limiting his TV to one 30-minute program, so I'll play Skylanders with him after dinner. School sent home a healthy habits checklist, and he's asking for fruit, veggies, water, and exercise so I'll initial it, and he can earn the free kids meal at Subway. Incentives are wonderful.


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