An interesting business endeavor is going over quite well in downtown Tokyo. In the streets of the Shibuya district, two young men offer their talents as professional sweet talkers. With a large signboard reading "House of Flattery," they offer words of praise to passersby for 100 yen (about $1) per minute. Could such a business ever fly in the United States? Could consumers be so attention-starved that compliments could actually warrant a fee?
"As a novelty, absolutely," says Noelle Nelson, a clinical psychologist, trial consultant and author in Encino, California. "And it would really fly if it were tailored to the individual. We're in such a high-stress environment and everybody is focused on getting things done, we hardly have a minute to appreciate ourselves and others. So compliments are highly desirable. It would do us a world of good to stop for a moment and just appreciate or be appreciated."