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Rejection 47 – Pump Gas for Others

In this video, I wanted to see if random people would reject my service of pumping gas for them on a very cold day (using Texan standard). In a way, this session is the opposite of Day 45 – Putting Sunglasses on Random People, when I asked others to do random things for me.

The results were also the polar opposite. I got overwhelming ‘no’s instead of universal ‘yes’, like when I asked for strange favors. It’s interesting to see that people are more burdened by receiving unwanted favors than giving them. I had to convince a woman to get one yes out of five tries.

Learning: Sometimes it’s much easier to give than to take. Our human nature prevents us from owing favors from others. Next time if you want to get a rejection, just offer strangers random favors for no reason.

  • rojopaul

    It’s interesting that most people say no. Surprising that the attendant basically told you to leave also. I guess people automatically assume you want something in return, even though you weren’t asking for anything. I do agree with you that flipping it and asking someone else to pump your gas for you might be a sure fire no. Keep up the good work, Jia!

  • Janae

    The responses reminded me quite a bit of the one where you tried to give people $5.

  • M

    I suspect there was a high rejection rate because people are probably suspicious of you around their cars. Cars are valuable and they might think you’re up to something with it. Or you might damage it somehow. I think it’s easier to avoid rejection if you don’t have to deal with people’s personal property.

  • A

    Hey mate I just wanted to point out something interesting about the one “yes” you got, which might give you something to think about for the next rejections šŸ™‚ The one time you got a yes was when you explained that you really wanted to do it, and that the woman was doing you a favour by letting you pump her gas and not the other way around. So this isn’t really an exception to the rule that people are more willing to give than take favours.

    But then if you did flip the roles and asked for that favour then you would have probably been turned down because people would view that as laziness or as taking advantage of them, unlike for example when you asked for compliments. I’d actually be interested to see the responses to these more audacious kinds of requests where you’re asking people to make an effort and do things for you that you could have done yourself, like for example if you’re at a grocery store and you ask another shopper to go to the other side of the store to get your milk for you, or going on a bus with a ten dollar bill clearly in your hand (so they know you could pay) and asking someone else to pay for you. You did that once with the line you wanted to cut and the response was pretty blunt, and I wonder if you could extract different results with other examples.

    Anyway, sorry for the long comment and thanks for the blog it teaches a lot about us people šŸ™‚