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mmmmmmmm, forbidden donut
November 26, 2012 11:51 AM   Subscribe

Entrepreneur Jia Jiang has decided to overcome his fear of rejection through a sort of exposure therapy desensitization: he's "seeking one rejection on purpose every day for 100 days" by making crazy requests of strangers, filming each encounter on his iPhone and posting them to his blog. Here's his attempt on Day 3 to order doughnuts shaped (and colored) like the Olympic rings at a Krispy Kreme in Austin, TX.

Each video is posted in an individual entry on his blog. but there's also a single page with all of his attempts.
posted by zarq (86 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
"YouTube Video Not Available in Your Country"

Just kidding
posted by hal9k at 11:57 AM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Rejecting is also stressful; by making unreasonable requests, especially of retail employees, this guy is unnecessarily stressing out many of the folks he interacts with.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:57 AM on November 26, 2012 [75 favorites]


Officer, can I hold your gun for a few minutes? Please?
posted by wcfields at 11:58 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Rejecting is also stressful; by making unreasonable requests, especially of retail employees, this guy is unnecessarily stressing out many of the folks he interacts with.

Yeah but he's an Entrepreneur, a better class of person. Gives him special rights, you know.
posted by Jimbob at 12:04 PM on November 26, 2012 [13 favorites]


Apparently this is a thing the get-rich-quick types are doing now.

Does it really work? I mean, isn't the hard part of rejection that your good idea was dismissed and you're not getting what you wanted? Asking people for bullshit and expecting no for an answer doesn't simulate that.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:04 PM on November 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


Do rejections by strangers for crazy requests you don't actually expect them to agree to actually inure you to being rejected by people you love? Or when the stakes actually matter?
posted by liketitanic at 12:04 PM on November 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


good job on the post title, thank you!
posted by supermedusa at 12:09 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


"ask people for unreasonable nonsense and then blook about the results. "
"never make her pancakes. Wake her up in the middle of the night and make her make you pancakes."
"use insults liberally, even when people are nice to you."
"every thought you have is a potential money-maker. Don't just wonder what's in your belly button, blideo it!"
posted by boo_radley at 12:09 PM on November 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sorry, if I'm the clerk at a donut shop and some goofy motherfucker wants the Olympic rings but doesn't know the color scheme by heart then he's not getting his damned donut rings until he can list them in the proper order.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:10 PM on November 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


So, getting rejected for requests like:
"Anonymous stranger, can I have $100?"
is supposed to steel you to getting rejected for requests like:
"Important person, do you think my best idea ever, which I've spend months working on, which I've pinned my hopes and dreams to, is any good; and can you help me make it a reality?"
I don't buy it. The difference in magnitude makes those totally different things.

Also, being a jerk. Maybe that's what he's really practicing?
posted by cosmic.osmo at 12:12 PM on November 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


what's remarkable about this video is how his reaction shows that his real difficulty is with being accepted, not rejected. the conscious search for rejection is a way of staying unaware of this awkward truth.
posted by facetious at 12:18 PM on November 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


This is some self help virus that's infected startup land. Basically, when nerds discovered that they actually had to sell the stuff that they had created most realized that sales and marketing are pretty damn difficult and that their egos couldn't handle being rejected. Ergo, they threw away their copies of How to Win Friends and Influence People (probably the only positive outcome here) and decided that in order to be truly successful they had to embrace failure and rejection through personal experiences so that they could be desentized to it. Feelings suck, you know. Not all of these professionally rejected are entrepreneurs or founders, some just live in dating or pick-up artist scene (maybe that's even where all of this started?).
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:19 PM on November 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yep, it's sorta a jerk thing he's doing, but it was nice to see the donut shop clerk meet his sorta ridiculous challenge.
posted by Mad_Carew at 12:19 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hmmm, I'll be the first one to like this, I guess. I thought the donut thing was funny.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:25 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's more desensitizing yourself to the stress of actually asking strangers for something. Most successful entrepreneurs were fairly pushy and aggressive in their early days. That's a skill set many of us lack.

I know because I've been there. I created a startup, had a network of people in my industry I could work with and was comfortable dealing with them. However, eventually the time came when I had to start approaching strangers and I had a terrible time with it. Making a cold call or approaching someone I only knew by their title was incredibly stressful, especially since I was coming hat-in-hand.

I never got to be any good at it. Maybe training of this sort would have helped.
posted by honestcoyote at 12:25 PM on November 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


also once this thread reaches a certain point, somebody should email it to him.
posted by boo_radley at 12:32 PM on November 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


And then the International Olympic Committee shuts down Krispy Kreme forever.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:33 PM on November 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


If this guy wants to get rejected by asking me something stupid come by my bar and ask me to make you 'this one fruity drink I had this one time at Applebee's but I can't remember what at all was in it.'
posted by ZaneJ. at 12:37 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Does it really work? I mean, isn't the hard part of rejection that your good idea was dismissed and you're not getting what you wanted? Asking people for bullshit and expecting no for an answer doesn't simulate that.

Yeah, that's exactly what I was thinking. Learning to deal with rejection by trolling people and filming their reactions is like learning to succeed by "racing" your four year old nephew every morning and doing a victory dance.
posted by verb at 12:40 PM on November 26, 2012


Apply lessons learned from pick-up artist books to all aspects of life => win at everything
posted by zscore at 12:41 PM on November 26, 2012


I read that as "Emperor Jia Jiang" and figured if rejection was a normal part of his life, he was doing it wrong.
posted by Foosnark at 12:41 PM on November 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Just send out lots of resumes and never get a response. Over time, you'll stop feeling anything resembling rejection.
posted by tommasz at 12:42 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ugh.

I hate that it is this poor Krispy Kreme clerk's (it was really hard not to write "klerk's") lot in life to either reject or to perform whatever service he had hoped for them to reject. Good lord, what sort of outlook on the world do you have when everyone you meet is a cog in some cockamamie entrepreneurial self-help horseshit factory for your blurk? She earnestly tries to do what he wants and it isn't even what he wants. Fuck this guy.
posted by dirtdirt at 12:45 PM on November 26, 2012 [19 favorites]


A friend of mine had an assignment to do something of a similar nature for a business school course. The difference between his assignment (10 rejections) and this was that there was an important criterion:

The request had to be plausible.

You can ask 100 people to borrow $1000, and it's not even hard, because it's so insane. They'll look at you funny, and maybe you'll share a laugh, but it's not true rejection. Asking someone for $5, or for their phone number? That's a real encounter.
posted by explosion at 12:46 PM on November 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


I don't think he has his heart in this. If he really wanted practice, then he should put his all into some project of love, wrestle doubt every night, campaign for support, get it to the public as fast as possible, and face the danger of life-shattering rejection head on. Then, once rejected, try, try again.

As it stands, he is practicing skydiving by jumping off street curbs.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:47 PM on November 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


His noodles are delicious though.
posted by gyc at 12:49 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's more desensitizing yourself to the stress of actually asking strangers for something. Most successful entrepreneurs were fairly pushy and aggressive in their early days. That's a skill set many of us lack.

For good reason. Most of us aren't assholes.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 12:49 PM on November 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


I hope the higher-ups at Krispy Kreme see this and give Jackie a big fat promotion.
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 12:51 PM on November 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


If he were serious about this he'd write a novel and then shop it around. He'd learn about rejection then.
posted by dortmunder at 12:52 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


"This week, each one of you has a homework assignment. You're gonna go out, you're gonna start a fight with a total stranger. You're gonna start a fight and you're gonna lose."
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 12:53 PM on November 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


He should try OkCupid.
posted by modernserf at 12:58 PM on November 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


thatweirdguy2: "I hope the higher-ups at Krispy Kreme see this and give Jackie a big fat promotion."

Apparently, Jiang's started a facebook page: Krispy Kreme, Give Jackie a Raise!
posted by zarq at 12:58 PM on November 26, 2012


Asking someone for $5, or for their phone number? That's a real encounter.

No, it's not. If the only reason you're interacting with someone is to obtain something from them, such as a sum of money or a phone number, you're not having a real encounter, you're just being a creep.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 12:59 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


supermedusa: "good job on the post title, thank you!"

Yay, someone noticed! :) Thanks!

I was torn between that and "Dear Homer, IOU one emergency donut. Signed, Homer."
posted by zarq at 1:00 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


RonButNotStupid: " No, it's not. If the only reason you're interacting with someone is to obtain something from them, such as a sum of money or a phone number, you're not having a real encounter, you're just being a creep."

Yes, sure, fine. But it's a small con. It's plausible. Heck, I saw somebody in a Tacoma give a highway beggar $10 this morning. What makes you think a more personal interaction wouldn't have the same kind of result?
posted by boo_radley at 1:01 PM on November 26, 2012


How can you get a rejection unless you ask something of someone?
posted by explosion at 1:03 PM on November 26, 2012


liketitanic: "Do rejections by strangers for crazy requests you don't actually expect them to agree to actually inure you to being rejected by people you love? Or when the stakes actually matter?"

In my experience, yes.

I worked for a while cold calling people to conduct surveys, and the constant rejection blunted my fear of rejection. My newfound ability to just ask for things without fear of rejection was an excellent new skill. Until I ended up with a girlfriend who had boundary issues and didn't know how to say no. Then things got bad. Real bad. So yes, trivial rejections from strangers can inure you to rejections where the consequences really matter.
posted by idiopath at 1:04 PM on November 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


Does it really work? I mean, isn't the hard part of rejection that your good idea was dismissed and you're not getting what you wanted? Asking people for bullshit and expecting no for an answer doesn't simulate that.

Maybe you become more optimistic about earnest interactions, after repeatedly being pleasantly surprised at how nice and accommodating people actually are even for unreasonable stuff.
posted by floam at 1:05 PM on November 26, 2012


I watched the doughnut video a couple days ago and just felt bad - Jackie seemed like a genuine person who was going out of her way to help a customer, and then that jackass couldn't even act like he was pleased that she fulfilled his request. I hope she does get a raise, and that there's no repercussion for her giving him the doughnuts gratis.

The reason this "fear of rejection" desensitizing really won't work is that he's not actually involved with these encounters. He's thinking "Am i getting all this? Oh man! I'm filming all this and people are going to look at it, it's going to be the biggest video yet! Oh I hope this person is a real jerk or stupid or or or something crazy!"

He's completely insulated from the experience, which won't happen with his "entrepreneurial" sales pitches unless he's filming those for his blog as well.
posted by dubold at 1:06 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


'than' is not 'then'. Repeat Ad infinitum.
posted by a non e mouse at 1:07 PM on November 26, 2012


It's plausible. Heck, I saw somebody in a Tacoma give a highway beggar $10 this morning. What makes you think a more personal interaction wouldn't have the same kind of result?

But the line for plausibility isn't totally clear-cut. Is asking for Olympic donuts a plausible request, or not? Because it seems like a totally crazy request, and yet Jackie did it, and gave him the donuts for free to boot.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:10 PM on November 26, 2012


'than' is not 'then'. Repeat Ad infinitum.

You are the first person to type "than" in this thread.
posted by dubold at 1:10 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, sure, fine. But it's a small con. It's plausible. Heck, I saw somebody in a Tacoma give a highway beggar $10 this morning. What makes you think a more personal interaction wouldn't have the same kind of result?

Presumably the person standing on the side of the highway begging for money is being honest about their need for charity, and the people driving on the highway are aware that they will be asked for money before engaging them in conversation.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 1:17 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


So much judgement! Look, people play games and negotiate with themselves all the time -- if you think you don't, have you never had a snooze button war? Who do you think you're fighting with?

He's teaching himself something in a slightly silly way, and that's OK.
posted by effugas at 1:21 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Haven't we done Rejection Therapy before?

I do love the terms "blook" and "blideo," though ...

You are the first person to type "than" in this thread.

The pesky edit window foils pedants everywhere!
posted by mrgrimm at 1:21 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sometimes weird requests are actually fun to do and Jackie totally rose to the occasion.

The ad before the video was for Bob Evan's Mashtinis, a delightful "on-trend" concoction that is more ridiculous than making the Olympic rings out of doughnuts.
posted by vespabelle at 1:21 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry--no.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:22 PM on November 26, 2012


I did something like this for years.

Whenever I saw an idle deck of cards, I would do a trick, based on a classic card magic scenario. I'd fan out the deck and say "Pick a card, any card." Then came the twist.

Before they could pick a card I'd say, "You know what? You hold the deck. I'm gonna turn around and close my eyes. I won't peak. Now pick a card out of that deck, show it to [whoever else was there]. Okay have you all seen the card? You can remember it? Now, put it back in the deck."

Once I was sure they had the card back in the deck, I'd move to take the deck back, but again interrupt myself and say, "You keep the deck. I just want you to think of that card." I would invariably borrow from a classic Harry Anderson patter and say "It's the only thing keeping your ears apart." Then I'd say, every time, exactly the same way, "It's a black card, it's a spade, no wait, it's a club. Your card is the three of clubs."

Of course, my guess was always wrong, and I'd shrug it off and say, "Oh well, I guess the magic wasn't in me today."

It was a good way to teach myself to accept my inability to affect chance. That sometimes despite our efforts or intentions we do in fact fail. I was a pretty lucky kid, and I thought I needed some lessons in bad luck, I guess. Also, it's sometimes just as fun to baffle people with failure as it is to wow them with magic.

In my mid-20's I was in Egypt for a month, backpacking around with a friend. We subsidized our cheap Cairo hotel rooms with a trip out to the airport in a taxi full of central casting bandits, one of them in a turban and eye patch, to fill up our passport allotment of duty free liquor and cigarettes for their underground bar. Eventually we hooked up with another hustler, named Ali, who appointed himself our tour guide and took us to some pretty shady spots. Off the beaten track, in a manner of speaking.

One night in the Old City, under the light and clamor of the umpteenth jubilee of one of the holiest mosques in recent memory, we met up with an Australian couple who was looking to smuggle a few bricks of hash. I think they were planning to take it through Kenya, but I didn't ask much more.

We all followed Ali through a warren of alleys, past an improbably bright hubcap store, a dozen tea shops with half a dozen men in sport coats crowded around a single game of backgammon, up a street running with throat blood from a goat twitching on its hook in front of a butcher's, up the steps to a dark second floor apartment where we were met by an old woman who treated Ali like family and a half dozen four-to-ten-year old kids. We were ushered into the nicest tile-walled room and served tea and a tray of sweets, as hospitality provides.

The man of the house came in mustached and sweatered, and the deal started with a sample. Nobody walked away that night with any kilos -- I think this was the first meeting and wares were being tested and more important meetings arranged -- but most of us got goddamn high. I know I did.

So we were sitting around chatting, letting it sink in, and I noticed a deck of cards on a side table. After confirming with our host that the deck was complete, I ran my usual "destined to fail" card trick. By the time I got it underway, my shuffling had brought the children peeking around the curtain into the room. It was quite a situation, stranger in a strange land, high as a kite, criminals and children all around, dim light and sweet tea, tiny chairs, tidy cushions, and a grandmother overseeing it all.

The trick worked. For the first time in my life, they pulled the three of clubs. I was the magic man. One of the kids ran into the room and tugged on my sleeve. My traveling partner, who had seen me fail at this trick plenty of times before, kept bug-eyed and mum. Everybody else asked "How did you do that?"

"Magic."

"That's amazing. Will you do it again? Please?"

I told them magic happens just once a night.

In reality, magic happens once in a lifetime.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 1:23 PM on November 26, 2012 [147 favorites]


So it's 5:03, and the bakery is winding down. The baker is just in the act of flipping the OPEN sign in the window to CLOSED when in bursts a disheveled, sweating, trembling stranger.

"Sir, business hours..." begins the baker.

"Please," croaks the stranger. "Please. For the love of God, bake me a cake."

"But business hours-"

"A cake!"

"Look, friend: generally we require a bit of advanced notice for a custom job. Now, it happens I've still got an unclaimed opera cake in the freezer-"

"No. Nononononooo," mewls the stranger, sinking to his knees. "You don't understand. It must be alternating levels of devil's food and angel food, draped over with fondant of robin's egg blue..."

"Uh-"

"With the nine muses executed in marzipan along the perimeter-"

"Uh-huh."

"-the proportions, naturally, adhering to the Golden Ratio-"

"Yeah."

"-and "I'M SO SORRY ALICE PLEASE TAKE ME BACK" written in white frosting on top."

The baker (who conceals a tender streak) relents. "Okay, okay," he says. "I'll need at least three days-"

"Three days! It can't wait three hours!" The stranger commences to rend his garments.

The baker sighs and reties his apron. The stranger shuffles into the kitchen after him, and there they spend the next two hours and fifty minutes in a fever of baking, punctuated by fits of screaming from the stranger when the blue frosting seems too dark, or when Urania's globe turns out a bit lopsided.

But finally the baker lays down the last stroke on the "K." The cake meets the specifications in every detail.

"Wooh!" says the baker. "If you can bear to wait a few more minutes, I'll just box this up for the road."

"Actually," says the stranger calmly, "if you'll get me a fork, I'll eat it right here."
posted by Iridic at 1:25 PM on November 26, 2012 [74 favorites]


You are the first person to type "than" in this thread.

It's in the video... not the thread.
posted by a non e mouse at 1:25 PM on November 26, 2012


Apparently, Jehovah's Witnesses make great sales people. Maybe he should try being one for a year - would definitely make for better viewing.
posted by a non e mouse at 1:29 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rejection therapy seems foolishly ineffectual at best and offensive at worst. Human beings aren't machines, and our interactions with human beings aren't physical activities; there is some practical wisdom involved, but these aren't muscles, and you don't get better at dealing one to one with your daughter's first boyfriend (for example) by having her date a new guy every other night.

Most of all, I feel like it should be blindingly obvious that forcing oneself to endure rejection is not really a way to get better at it or to stop caring what people say to us. Anybody who's ever been rejected more than once should know that. It doesn't get easier or more fun.
posted by koeselitz at 1:35 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


effugas: “So much judgement! Look, people play games and negotiate with themselves all the time -- if you think you don't, have you never had a snooze button war? Who do you think you're fighting with? He's teaching himself something in a slightly silly way, and that's OK.”

Other people are not snooze buttons. Inventing experiments for yourself to study who you are and learn about what works for you is great; but messing with other people purely for your own personal advancement is weird and frankly counter-productive to boot.
posted by koeselitz at 1:40 PM on November 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also, it's sometimes just as fun to baffle people with failure as it is to wow them with magic.

Fun for you. There is a remarkable lack of empathy involved with some of this sort of thinking ... as k just said ^^^
posted by mrgrimm at 1:43 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


If that's your takeaway from my comment, so be it.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 1:47 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Dude should just submit to literary journals.
posted by eustacescrubb at 1:50 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Christ what an asshole. He'd be eating that iPhone in New York.
posted by spitbull at 1:55 PM on November 26, 2012


Hey assbutt! You're holding the camera wrong!
posted by Mister_A at 1:56 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Did anybody else notice that he seemed to be driving and holding the camera up at the same time? I'm scared to time how long his eyes are on the camera and not on the road. Distracted driving kills! (So do Krispy Kreme donuts, in sufficient quantities).
posted by postel's law at 1:57 PM on November 26, 2012


> Did anybody else notice that he seemed to be driving and holding the camera up at the same time?

Pretty sure he was using some kind of dashboard/windshield mount since it was mostly smooth. Safety and documentary making aesthetics are another category of fail, however.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:00 PM on November 26, 2012


Here's his attempt on Day 3 to order doughnuts shaped (and colored) like the Olympic rings at a Krispy Kreme in Austin, TX.


I bet they totally would have done that at Ken's Donuts. Especially in the middle of the night on a weeknight.



I know the point of this exercise is to be rejected and not to acquire donuts.



Yeah, I don't understand that either.


DONUTS.
posted by louche mustachio at 2:05 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


This seems mean. I go out of my way at work to help people, even what seem like silly requests to me, because I want to help them and assume they are good-natured in their asking.

Look at Fed-Ex guys face. He knows he's being pranked or the guy really wants to send something to Santa. How do you deal with Santa guy? You don't want to be mean, but he's wasting your time.

Its not real rejection. Its soft-served "I'm sorry I can't help you."


Also, to send something to Santa, you send it to "Santa Claus, North Pole, Canada, H0H 0H0"

I think every kid in Canada knows that. Canada Post takes care of these things.
posted by right_then at 2:07 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't care about his framing of doing this as part of a personal narrative when he's filming strangers to promote his blog while engaging them in bad faith.
posted by ersatz at 2:33 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


A raise? For screwing around on the clock, giving away product, and exposing the company to trademark infringement liability? Clearly you guys do not know how to think like entrepreneurs.
posted by contraption at 2:42 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


right_then, what on earth are you talking about? Everyone knows Fr Christmas's postcode is SAN TA1. <sigh> At least Canada Post makes the effort to have the postcode fit in with the rest of theirs.
posted by ambrosen at 2:45 PM on November 26, 2012


If Jiang (or any of these "Rejection Therapy" entrepeneurs) is afraid of being rejected in business contexts, why isn't he practicing rejection in business contexts? Why doesn't he try to make one sale a day for the next 365 days?

I guess that's less bloggable.
posted by muddgirl at 2:54 PM on November 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Maybe Royal Mail forwards it to H0H 0H0 ambrosen?

It helps that we are in close proximity to Reindeerland.
posted by right_then at 3:28 PM on November 26, 2012


have you never had a snooze button war?

Never. But I'm also one of those people who gets really uncomfortable when the audience is in on the gag and the person we're watching muddle through something isn't. It's entirely possible this is just a taste thing. I accept this guy's premise entirely (accepting rejection, good thing to do, etc) but not the way he went about it.
posted by jessamyn at 3:53 PM on November 26, 2012


This reminds me of some of the other experiments people in Stanley Milgram's lab did. Experiments like asking for someone's seat on the subway.
Quickly, however, the focus turned to the experimenters themselves. The seemingly simple assignment proved to be extremely difficult, even traumatic, for the students to carry out.

"It's something you can't really understand unless you've been there," said Dr. David Carraher, 55, now a senior scientist at a nonprofit group in Cambridge, Mass.

Dr. Kathryn Krogh, 58, a clinical psychologist in Arlington, Va., was more blunt: "I was afraid I was going to throw up."
but this guy doesn't even throw up after getting the donuts. He should try the Milgram experiment.
posted by bleary at 4:57 PM on November 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


This reminds me of an AskMe where a user wanted a "boot camp" for confidence, charisma, and character.

The Asker seemed to think it involved outlandish things like doing a random toast at a wedding, but a few of answers were more introspective:
"Here's the deal, hoss: people who are secure in their self-confidence, character and charisma do not generally do big, Manic Pixie Dream Person-esque public acts that could possibly embarrass/upset/annoy other people. Rather than executing a big public demonstration of your own quirkiness/specialness, seek to develop a quiet inner strength. Do good works and DON'T TELL ANYONE. Harry Houdini - by most accounts, a very upstanding and charismatic fella - said, "When I do good, I don't bring along a brass band.""*

"Yeah, I think there's a disconnect between the questions and the answers. Doing nutty stunts doesn't actually take that much inner grit, because the bizarreness of the activity itself kind of provides a distracting shelter that acts against the use of interpersonal skills, rather than in support of them."*

"All that said, I've used many skills from DBT therapy to great effect in my life. There is an entire module for "Interpersonal Effectiveness." That module comes after mindulness, because observation skills are very very important to knowing how people are reacting to your actions. I would suggest, spend a few days focusing on what people are actually saying and doing in response to you. During those days, also pay close attention to what is happening around and inside of you. " *
As for the entrepreneur, I think 100 days is too short to effect any real change. And like some of the responses in the AskMe, these sort of rejection challenges strike me as a little bit "assholish".
posted by FJT at 5:15 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have a different take on this. Well a different take on the donut incident at least. What we have here is a fucking donut pro. Look at the way she goes into problem solving mode. Diagramming it out and working through the steps. She seemed psyched to have a challenge. They should give her a donut R&D lab somewhere. I think it is great she got to show off her donut skills. At the end of the day, isn't that what people need to be fulfilled in their work? A bit of ownership over the finished product and some pride in what they can accomplish within the constraints in which they work?
posted by Ad hominem at 6:39 PM on November 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think what he's doing is asinine. What makes rejection sting is that you are "asking" for something you want and seeking to get it. It's the "not getting what you want" part of rejection that sucks. He's intentionally coming up with the craziest requests he can think of to make of people and wanting the rejection. All he's doing is training himself to hear people saying no to requests he neither really wants nor expects to be fulfilled.

Furthermore, the whole hidden camera situation is creepy and assholish. It doesn't appear he's ever informing these people he has recorded them or asking their permission to use the recording on his blog. I suspect if he did inform them and ask permission after some of these stunts, he might face some actual rejection. The kind that stings.
posted by Orb at 6:43 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Do rejections by strangers for crazy requests you don't actually expect them to agree to actually inure you to being rejected by people you love? Or when the stakes actually matter?

Agreed. If you want to have a better life, ask for everything you truly want. You'll learn how to deal with rejectionand get a lot of the things you truly want. You can't lose.
posted by davejay at 7:05 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Donuts
posted by P.o.B. at 9:04 PM on November 26, 2012


Apparently, Jiang's started a facebook page: Krispy Kreme, Give Jackie a Raise!

She's one of those people who are instantly likeable. Him, he's just a schlub.
posted by Pudhoho at 9:21 PM on November 26, 2012


I came in here expecting 'omg Jackie has restored my faith in humanity' and all I get is Egyptian hash dealers and angry New Yorkers?

You unlinked the donuts, MeFi.

Unlinked.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:45 AM on November 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Jackie has some true Richard Sennett style craftsmanship there, even if it is only for doughnuts. I found this video to be heartwarming, and Jiang's awkwardness kind of endearing.
posted by Joe Chip at 2:11 AM on November 27, 2012


I have a story a bit like ICS's. I learned a "trick" as a teenager where you make someone pick a card with yes/no questions. You pull out a deck where you know the top card, make a big show of shuffling and cutting it while using a little sleight of hand to keep that card on top, and then say "OK, pick a color, red or black."

Suppose the card is the three of clubs. If they say "black" you say, "OK, now pick spades or clubs," and if they say "red" you say something like "OK, we'll eliminate red then, so it's black, now pick spades or clubs" ...and so on through the suit and number ("pick A-6 or 7-K" etc). At the end "they" have narrowed it down to the three of clubs, and you turn over the top card...

It's not a trick at all of course, it's completely obvious what you're doing, so it's really an extreme test of your conversational patter and whether you can keep them sufficiently distracted or dazzled not to see it. I've never fooled an adult with it, but I'm sure there are some professional magicians who could. It does work surprisingly well on children.

Anyway, shortly after learning this I tried it with my younger brother, who was maybe 8 at the time, and he got every. single. question. right. So I never had to make an excuse to reverse his choice. I don't think he's ever looked at me with as much awe as when I turned over that card at the end, although I was probably more in awe of him. Needless to say I've never told him that it was just chance.

I think "tricks" like this and the one from ICS, where you're forcing yourself to (almost certainly) fail in front of strangers, are a better form of exposure therapy for the kind of anxiety Jiang is trying to combat -- unlike the rejection games, they don't make the other person feel as awkward or uncomfortable as you.
posted by pete_22 at 4:19 AM on November 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Having worked too many years in a retail job where we were expected to pump out the same thing, weird requests were a godsend for some of us, even as they made the boss sweat. Retail jobs will grind you down, 'cause there no reward for becoming expert in the process. Jackie seizing the rare opportunity to do something, anything, original with the Krispy production line is engaging. I've got no idea why he invokes Gandhi. There's a lot of overqualified people hemmed in by the service economy.
posted by bendybendy at 4:40 AM on November 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


In reality, magic happens once in a lifetime.

It seems fair to say that magic averages out to once every 52 invocations, but I'm no mathemagician.
posted by nobody at 11:33 AM on November 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


It seems to me that he's calibrating his ability to guess what people will say yes to. Somehow he never learned to do it, so he's learning now - in a weird way.

As we grow up, most people learn a social code of what's socially acceptable. These differ from one community to another, but generally, you can borrow a cup of sugar from your neighbor, even if you've never met them. You can't ask them for a kidney. You can ask to pet a stranger's dog. You can't ask them to give you the dog.

These are pretty extreme, black-and-white examples. He seems to be struggling with even those.

Learning the acceptability of the grey things in between is called "growing up." Another part of growing up is recognizing that asking the same question to different people may yield different answers. Maybe he'll get to those next :)

P.S. He's not alone.
posted by ImSoCurious at 9:28 PM on November 27, 2012


The Austin American-Statesman writeup on Jackie. As I suspected, she's the manager. She also says they get special requests "all the time".
posted by Mad_Carew at 6:39 PM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm actually surprised at the lack of hostility considering his accent and ethnicity combined with the crazy requests. It was nice to see people politely saying "no," not at all what I expected when I first started watching.
posted by Autumn at 5:08 PM on November 29, 2012


It's Austin. They deal with stoners, trippers, and tweakers all day long.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:52 PM on November 29, 2012


Kinda makes me wish everyone says yes in their own way, just to ruin this little trip of his.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:11 PM on November 30, 2012


I am way late to the thread, but I found something interesting in Day 17 (which was not yet up when this thread was posted). There's an important lesson for rejecters in there.
Just like the car salesman, the lady kept saying ‘no’ without giving me a reason other than “we don’t do it here”. I should have asked why and hear her side of the story. If there was a reason, maybe I could have worked on the reason instead of the issue itself.
The woman (Jiang is asking to borrow a dog from the humane society for a day) is handling this exactly right. When refusing someone's request, it's often best to stonewall the requester with bland statements like "I can't do that" or "that won't be possible." If they ask for a reason, just keep repeating the statement. Of course the statement is not really a reason at all, but that's the point. As Jiang more or less admits in the post, if you give them an actual reason, you are just inviting them to debate the reason.

This good advice is often seen in response to AskMe questions along the lines of "how do I refuse this request?" And it may not apply to requests by very close friends or family, who actually deserve a reason for the refusal, but it's very useful for requests from casual acquaintances, strangers, or people you interact with only in a business setting.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:42 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


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