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How to Talk to Celebrities Like Ron Popeil

Last week, I blogged about my friend’s awkward interchange with infomercial legend Ron Popeil.
I invited blog readers to come up with clever things to say to Mr. Popeil, offering a prize to the best answer.
Having now slogged through hundreds of blog comments on the subject, I’m left with two general conclusions:

  1. A surprising number of blog readers agreed with me that the right thing to do is just to leave the celebrities alone.
  2. Nobody (at least at this blog) has anything very interesting to say to a random celebrity.

I read through the blog comments and wasn’t particularly struck by any of them. So I asked some of the researchers who work for me to go through the comments and pick their five favorites. Whenever I’ve done this in the past on subjective Freakonomics quizzes, there has been substantial overlap in opinions about what the best answers are. In this case, however, there was no agreement on the good answers.
Nonetheless, I promised to give some prizes, and I’m going to throw them to my former student Salar Jahedi (commenter 31), who is now a professor at the University of Arkansas. Salar wrote his dissertation about bargains, allowing him the opportunity to walk up to Popeil, look him right in the eye, and truthfully say, “I wrote my PhD dissertation to rationalize your business model.”
I bet that is one greeting that Popeil has never heard before.