I heard about this from one of his students, and came up with the hypothesis that most college students (and adults in general) don't get nearly enough of a tangible reassurance that they are doing a good job. So I bought a pack of gold star stickers and started giving them out to people I saw who were doing good things. Decent service at a restaurant or cashier's window? Gold star. Picking up a piece of litter on the ground that isn't yours? Gold star. You get the idea. Every time, it was accepted more thankfully, and with more glee and excitement, than anything else I could imagine giving. The waitress I gold-starred jumped up and down, and put the star on her right temple. I recently found the sheet of gold stars in my drawer, and I think I may start carrying them around again.
This leads to my question, posed to the reading audience: what do you think of this phenomenon? Are people so starved for recognition that what they are doing is good and right that just a sticker could do all this? Is it nostalgia? What do you think?