January 27, 2007

IT'S NOT THE HONESTY, BUT THE EFFORT, THAT SURPRISES:

Researcher is amazed by honest results of his private wallet test (Shane Graber, 01/07/2007, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH)

Paul Kinsella lost his wallet 100 times on the dot, all in the pursuit of knowledge. Call his study an exercise in vigilante research.

Kinsella wanted to know whether folks could be trusted, whether they're honest, upright citizens. So he took the research into his own hands.

He spent a month dropping wallets around town. He then tracked whether the finders would return the wallet and its contents -- $2.10 and a fake $50 gift certificate in each -- to the rightful owner.

And here's the good news: They did. Oh, how they did. By a 3-1 ratio, they did.


"They actually took the time to do it," said Kinsella, 35, a website designer.

Of the 100 "lost" wallets, 74 were returned to Kinsella.


There's an interview with Mr. Kinsella here and his website is WalletTest.com.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 27, 2007 6:23 PM
Comments

The average person understands the hassle of having to replace everything carried in a wallet. Especially the phot ID. Even if I were tempted to keep a substantial amount of money, I'd still drop the wallet in the nearest USPS mailbox.

Posted by: Pete at January 27, 2007 6:34 PM

The average person understands the hassle of having to replace everything carried in a wallet. Especially the photo ID. Even if I were tempted to keep a substantial amount of money, I'd still drop the wallet in the nearest USPS mailbox.

Posted by: Pete at January 27, 2007 6:36 PM

I keep wanting to make a pun about "selfish jeans," but what to do, what to do...

Posted by: Pontius at January 27, 2007 7:47 PM

It would be interesting to run this test in, say, Paris vs New York and compare results.

Posted by: Gideon at January 27, 2007 9:02 PM

Pete: I'm perverse - I return the money and throw away the id's.

Posted by: Mike Beversluis at January 27, 2007 9:22 PM

I found a roll of ten $100 bills in a Boston Market parking lot about 6 years ago. Turned the stash in to the local constabulary.

Posted by: ghostcat at January 27, 2007 10:26 PM

I had a great one twenty years ago. Was walking by a construction site and found one of those little silver change dispensers that vendors clip to their belts. It was pretty full. I'd sometimes seen a sandwich truck at the job site so I brought it up to the trailer. It was close to Christmas and the foreman gave me two bottles of the scotch they were giving as presents just for turning it in.

Posted by: oj at January 27, 2007 11:15 PM

I like your story better. Uncalculated and generously rewarded.

In my case, I actually found ELEVEN $100 bills, kept one as a "finders fee", and calculated (correctly) that I would get to keep the other ten after the requisite 30-day notice in a local newspaper-of-record. Given the part of town I found it in, the stash was most likely drug or prostitution money. No one filed a claim.

Posted by: ghostcat at January 27, 2007 11:35 PM

Back in 1965, I worked at the Minnesota State Fair cleaning up trash every night after it closed. I found $420 wrapped up in a roll with rubber bands. I quietly (as to not arouse suspicion of my coworkers), put it in my pocket, and kept working. I was making a $1 an hour. My full time regular job was paying $1.60. Whoever was walking around with that much money, didn't need it as much as me.

Posted by: AllenS at January 28, 2007 6:15 AM

tsk tsk.

Posted by: erp at January 28, 2007 8:34 AM

I lost my drivers license in Amsterdam in 2000. Whoever found it took the time to write a short note saying they hoped I got it back and mailed it to the U.S. I was really surprised to get that letter.

Posted by: Bartman at January 28, 2007 9:23 AM
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