Wednesday, March 20, 2013

cliché: bait and switch

Meaning: sales technique or ploy of offering something of higher value then encouraging the other person to accept something of lesser value (definition).

Example: First he offered me free tickets to the movies, then he pulled a bait and switch and offered me full-price tickets to the opera.

Origin: Bait used since 1300, switch used since 1890s but pairing of two dates from 1920s. (Source.)

  • carrot and stick
  • dangle and tangle
  • deal and steal
  • promise and pretense

Discussion: The original was pretty descriptive, but with a little imagination we can re-establish some of the feeling of having the deal ripped away from you. I also recognize that “carrot and stick” can be a cliché, but it’s usually a metaphor for reward and punishment, not for breaking a deal, so I think we can reuse it here effectively.

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