Giving people what they ask for doesn’t always work.
In the first year of the television series Nashville, one of the main characters, Juliette Barnes (ably portrayed by the actress Hayden Panettiere) has discovered that not only has her ex-boyfriend/manager stolen a large sum of money and used her credit cards, he also has a video sex tape of the two of them. He demands two million dollars or he will release it to the Internet.
She directs her people, who wanted to bring in the Police, to pay the money. They want to negotiate on her behalf, reduce the amount but Juliette is more concerned about her image than the money. “Give him what he wants,” she tells them.
It should work.
- He demands two million dollars.
- She agrees to give him the two million dollars
- Her security people try to make the exchange of the money for the computerized digital video.
It should work, but it doesn’t. The ex-boyfriend/manager calls her after not showing up for the exchange. He said that he had been thinking and the true value of the video was ten million dollars.
There was a similar situation a few years ago when an oil company executive had been kidnapped and held for ransom in Central America. “Just give ’em what they want,” his wife told the negotiator hired by the oil company. “That won’t work,” he said. “If we give them what they ask for, make it too easy, they will just say thanks for the down payment.”
The Nashville Paradox:
- Never give TOS (the other side) what they want. It may not work and even if it does, it just makes ’em mad. You gave them what they asked for but they’ll hate you for it.