December 11, 2019

"We ate their lunch!"

Exulted Nancy Pelosi, quoted in "‘We ate their lunch’: How Pelosi got to ‘yes’ on Trump’s trade deal/After tough fights, the speaker cut a deal that unions, the president and Democrats all like."

ADDED: I did some research into the idiom "ate their lunch," because I was just talking about last weekend's SNL skit showing Trump getting bullied by the popular kids in a school lunchroom. I said it makes me sympathetic to Trump to see the smug "cool" kids doing whatever they could to humiliate him, so it was interesting to me to hear Nancy Pelosi triumphing in a way that I thought evoked schoolyard bullies who steal lunch from their victims. But is that the source of the phrase "ate their lunch"?

Researching, I see that "ate their lunch" is a popular idiom in business. Investopedia says:
Eating someone's lunch refers to the act of an aggressive competition that results in one company taking portions of another company's market share.... This can be achieved through the release of a better or newer product, aggressive pricing or marketing strategies or other competitive advantages...
That doesn't explain the origin of the metaphor. What are we talking about? Next, I notice the very similar phrase: ate him for lunch. Are these 2 phrases of the same lineage? If so, which is the corruption?

I saw this at Urban Dictionary and thought it was very funny:
Many don't believe me, but in March of 1967 a buddy and I were sitting in a local bar. Something was said about lunch, I responded by saying, "I'll eat your lunch". All laughed and went on. The group that was there started using that line. Next thing I know everyone is using it. Believe it or not.
Looking for another way into this problem, I try googling "did the phrase eat your lunch originate in a bully who steals other student's lunch."

The first thing that comes up is "Bullying In The Lunch Room—What You Need to Know/Is your child getting bullied about her lunch—or being the food police with other kids?" in Parents Magazine. Totally the wrong subject! That's not about the old-time bullying where the kid's lunch is stolen, it's about kids making fun of what other kids are eating or criticizing it as "toxic" or whatever.

The other thing my new search turns up — and I'm going to stop after this — is a TV Tropes page, "Enemy Eats Your Lunch":
"The best tasting food is stolen from the mouths of the enemy." — Griff, World of Warcraft, "War Forage"

A classic tactic of psychological warfare.

You've just met someone. They don't know what to make of you. They happen to be eating at the time. What do you do?

Take their food. It's a step beyond just invading personal space, and it shows who the alpha dog is. Frequently the victim is too stunned by the audacity of such a move to protest....
The illustration there is from this classic scene in "Pulp Fiction" (so imagine Nancy Pelosi in the Samuel L. Jackson position and Trump as Brad):



ALSO: Here's a nice palate cleanser — "Someone at work ate my sandwich!"

46 comments:

rhhardin said...

She saw some advantage for the democrats in it, the article says.

The Vault Dweller said...

So reading through the article I'm not exactly sure what grand concessions Nancy Pelosi won? I'm also not sure whose lunch she ate. I'm leaning towards Mexico's. Trump and the Republicans have been waiting for the house to sign off on the trade deal for a long time. In fact it has been a point of attack for them. And suddenly Nancy Pelosi who is coming late to the table finally agrees to the deal, (probably because impeachment is hurting dems and they need to look they accomplished something.) and Nancy Pelosi is the one getting the credit in the article? Not even a perfectly barbecued brisket has this much smoke blown up their ass.

Annie C. said...

I usually heard, "We ate their lunch for breakfast."

gilbar said...

the speaker cut a deal that unions, the president and Democrats all like."

so... Who's lunch does she think she ate? Rinos?

Ann Althouse said...

"So reading through the article I'm not exactly sure what grand concessions Nancy Pelosi won?"

I know. It makes me think of another phrase (that I do know the origin of): "Declare victory and go home."

gilbar said...

i guess, she means Mexico?
Pelosi sat Mexico’s top trade negotiator and foreign minister down in her office and gave the two men an ultimatum.

Pelosi convened a small, private meeting, looked Mexican Undersecretary for North America Jesús Seade and Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard in the eye, and said: “You have got to do this.”


So, if i've got this right; Pelosi, engaged in a QUI PRO QUO, with a foreign power...
for her personal political benefit???

Lucky thing she's not a (Republican) President, or THAT would be an Impeachable Offense
Maybe, since President Trump went along with; she can Add that to HIS list?

stevew said...

In my experience, in competitive business dealings, the phrase "eat their lunch" is always a boast predicting a future outcome where we defeat the competition - either taking away a relationship they already own or establishing one that they want. Sort of the equivalent of a pre-game speech.

As for Pelosi's declaration: just the politics of claiming victory, whether there was one or not.

rhhardin said...

Hi
[laugh track]

is where I bailed out.

The Vault Dweller said...

As for Pelosi's declaration: just the politics of claiming victory, whether there was one or not.

Yeah that is my sense as well. I think she is framing the deal in this way to prevent anger in her base. Most of the Dems base doesn't want any sort of deals with Trump, the great Satan. So in order to assuage negative feelings she needs to frame the dems signing off on this deal and huge victory for the dems, not just a good deal, but one where 'we ate their lunch.' I kind of view Nancy Pelosi as trying to navigate between Scylla and Charybdis. If she indulges her base too much and goes full anti-Trump resistance all the way, the dems will get their clock cleaned in upcoming elections, but if she works with Trump too much and doesn't go on the attack against him, there could be a revolt in the party and she would lose her speakership and maybe even the Democrat party could split.

Mr. Forward said...

"laugh track is where I bailed..."

On the other hand the impeachment announcement is even funnier with a laugh track.

Ann Althouse said...

"On the other hand the impeachment announcement is even funnier with a laugh track."

If someone could put out a clip of that — the announcement with a laugh track — I think I would be able to watch.

wendybar said...

Pelosi lost, and she is trying to claim that SHE and her band of idiots are actually doing something besides this stupid impeachment trap they tried to lay, so she changed a few words, and made the bill hers. Trump landslide coming!! Did you see the size of the crowd that stood for hours in the rain to wait to see him???

The Crack Emcee said...

"The affluent, educated, liberal-leaning consumer base Whole Foods targets appears to be particularly susceptible to anti-vaccination messaging."

How the easily duped are also the "educated" has never been made very clear to me - or not as clear as the fact (I've always promoted) that the left can now be just as easily dismantled by addressing the obvious inconsistencies in their NewAge construct - so why go through any of this impeachment charade/drama with them? Tear them apart, like "Alice In Wonderland" destroyed the Red Queen's army, by insisting on reality, the one thing a San Franciscan like Nancy Pelosi can't defeat.

The Democrat's weakness is obvious, open, unguarded, and even paraded around (Marianne Williamson anyone?) and everyone acts like it's normal and not the political opportunity of a lifetime. Kids have been dying, all around the world, because of spiritually-squirrelly messaging, ramped up here by the left, and (as the article on Whole Foods points out) "going back more than a decade". Hang that, and more, around their necks and they're done for. They should've been gone years ago.

Why have we endured Robert de Niro's political "comedy" on SNL or Jim Carrey's political "art" or their harrangues in the media when they're known anti-vaxxers? Because no one's taking that seriously, that's why. They could've been easily silenced a long time ago. Instead, today, they're allowed to be cheerleaders for impeachment - why? Look at that photo at the link. All of those political players can be taken out, with a little of the right kind of political publicity, and nobody does it. I don't get it.

John Of God Was Once Hyped By Oprah. Now He's Accused Of Abusing Hundreds Of Women.

How does the right let the gatekeeper for Democrat presidents get away with this kind of media image when she's got abusers of all kinds - and including Harvey Weinstein - to answer for? How does this happen?

Why are Americans putting up with this?

I'm hoping Ann, or Rush Limbagh, or somebody more "educated" than I am, will sufficiently answer that question one day. I've been in this salon a long time and I'm still waiting.

The Crack Emcee said...

Sorry for misspelling Rush's name - my keys stick.

Jersey Fled said...

So Nancy is admitting that the Trump deal is way better than the old Clinton deal.

Wonders never cease.

Rick.T. said...

Trump will both eat their lunch and drink their milkshake!

WK said...

“Eat lunch or be lunch” - Scott McNealy former Sun Microsystems CEO. Pretty common to hear that when I worked there in the late 90s.

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

As I've always heard it, one eats someone's lunch, but for breakfast, one eats the someone.

iowan2 said...

So reading through the article I'm not exactly sure what grand concessions Nancy Pelosi won? I'm also not sure whose lunch she ate

Learned this morning on FOX, Rick Perry interview, about Pelosi negotiating away US pharmaceutical companies patent protections. Patent law not something I have spent any time thinking about, Perry's take is that aspect of the treaty, will ultimately, raise the cost of drugs. I guess because the years of protected market for the drug will be shortened and generics will come in, limiting the amount of time, R&D costs can be amortized.

Milo Minderbinder said...

Another delusional Democrat assuming most Americans are complete idiots. Pelosi believes she can run electoral rings around the unwashed whilst spouting b*s* and they will bow to her brilliance. Pelosi needs to spend some time on the streets of her district with a broom and pail.

Michael K said...

If she indulges her base too much and goes full anti-Trump resistance all the way, the dems will get their clock cleaned in upcoming elections, but if she works with Trump too much and doesn't go on the attack against him, there could be a revolt in the party and she would lose her speakership and maybe even the Democrat party could split.

I agree. She is also facing an election disaster and has to get the public away from the image of crazy Democrats. I keep seeing Democrats alleging that 400 bills are on Mich McConnell's desk being ignored. They know this is not what they want their image to be, no matter how true.

hawkeyedjb said...

This country is governed by a bunch of God-damned teenagers.

MadisonMan said...

The scene with the pigeons flying away while Ross says "My sandwich" makes me laugh every time.

Wince said...

As such a strong Roman Catholic, you'd think Pelosi would want people to eat of her body.

You can thank me for putting that image in your head.

bagoh20 said...

From experience I imagine that means that Pelosi told them "we have to do this deal to see what's in it."

Birkel said...

She ran to the front of the parade to pretend to be the drum major.
And she's trying that against the greatest press front runner in history.

When the strategy you're choosing is the least loser strategy, you're losing.
Nancy Pelosi is losing.

Birkel said...

She ran to the front of the parade to pretend to be the drum major.
And she's trying that against the greatest press front runner in history.

When the strategy you're choosing is the least loser strategy, you're losing.
Nancy Pelosi is losing.

mccullough said...

Something the Dems could have done 10 years ago but didn’t.

Build the Wall

Char Char Binks said...

Nancy still has bits of that lunch stuck in her teeth, judging by her slurred speech.

Right Man said...


Would you ever negotiate again with a salesman that said, "Man, we just took you to the cleaners," right after the deal was closed?

Char Char Binks said...

"It's a pleasure doing business with you." is the polite way to say, "Man, we just took you to the cleaners!".

Ray - SoCal said...

The Richard Trumka AFL-CIO was an excuse by Pelosi to delay it.

It seems Trump started pressuring Pelosi through Mexico on getting this ratified.

So Pelosi is choosing impeachment day, that her base loves, as a way to hide the passing of the new Nafta. If Pelosi had a choice, she would not pass the New Nafta, because she wants the economy to tank, hurting the reelection chance of Trump.

Iman said...

Watching and listening to Pelosi fumble and slur through her press conference like she’d had two or three mimosas too many was a treat.

rcocean said...

So did WE win? What's in the new NAFTA bill? The Press seems uninterested. So, its all reduced to a childish anti-Trump spin. He may have negotiated a new trade bill - but he still LOST to super smart Democrats.

The adolescent quality of the MSM is astounding.

rcocean said...

Trump wanted the AFL-CIO as part of the negotiation team, but Trumka refused to work with Trump because Trump was a "racist". Remember that in 2017? What a clown.

rcocean said...

Quit acting like Pelosi is a moderate and is "indulging her base" or "being forced to move left". She's always been one of most liberal members of Congress.

Michael K said...

She's always been one of most liberal members of Congress.

That was when the Democrats were sane. Nowadays, she looks a lot more moderate, even as she isn't. She doesn't want to burn down the barn to get rid of the rats, for example.

rehajm said...

Who's lunch does she think she ate? Rinos?

I came to say she was talking about the GOP free traders- are they the Rinos or the good ones? I’ve lost track...but yah, there was some congress critter whinging about the deal on CNBC this morning. So that was probably what nancy had in mind...

Francisco D said...

Nancy still has bits of that lunch stuck in her teeth, judging by her slurred speech.

Here I was thinking it was a shit sandwich that she ate.

Or was that a Schiff sandwich? What is the difference?

fleg9bo said...

"Eat lunch or be lunch” - Scott McNealy former Sun Microsystems CEO. Pretty common to hear that when I worked there in the 90s.

Wife worked there then, too. Too bad the dot-com bust ate their lunch.

JohnAnnArbor said...

The perils of misunderstanding an idiom; in this case, "eat our lunch."

Left Bank of the Charles said...

There's also the phrase, "having your lunch handed to you." That seems to have the same sense as "someone eating your lunch" of being outperformed, but with the person who outperformed you being gracious enough to hand you the lunch you had hoped to earn yourself, rather than eating it.

Might these two phrases be from the same origin? I will offer that they share their origin with the phrase "pork barrel":

"The term was further popularized by a 1919 article by Chester Collins Maxey in the National Municipal Review, which reported on certain legislative acts known to members of Congress as "pork barrel bills". He claimed that the phrase originated in a pre-Civil War practice of giving slaves a barrel of salt pork as a reward and requiring them to compete among themselves to get their share of the handout."

Char Char Binks said...

Did she drink their milkshake? I'm pretty sure Pelosi is no longer capable of eating solid food.

Jim at said...

Could somebody point to me just exactly what the House Democrats did to secure this deal? Who was their negotiator? When did these meetings take place?

And IF they had anything to do with it, why didn't they do it before now?

Bilwick said...

As one of the biggest State fellators on the scene today, the "lunch" Pelosi really wants to eat is, of course, individual liberty.

Kirk Parker said...

C'mon Crack, you know words can change their meeting over time, don't you?

"Educated" now means "completed our indoctrination course".