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The Napkin Strategy

The Napkin Strategy is a deliberate attempt by a restaurant to make you eat in order get access to napkins. 

This dawned on me last week after I searched hopelessly for napkins after ordering a sandwich and came up short.  There weren’t any napkins publicly available so I had to ask the lady behind the ordering counter for a few.  Shouldn’t she have put these in the bag?  

It reminded me of the way NBC is starving us this Olympics with curated primetime content.  It’s the Napkin Strategy in full effect; you have to endure NBC’s paid ads and stick around to 10PM to watch the highlights although they’re already available and free elsewhere (the Internet).  

The Napkin Strategy intends to monetize customers by stripping them of their right to access.  It’s a subtle strategy for stuff companies know we can’t live without like food and entertainment.  Friction at its best.     

Love to.  But not with purchase.  


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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of four books.

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