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As Honest As The Rest of Us

September 2, 2010

An enterprising reporter for Toronto’s The Star “loaned” 5 credit cards to 5 different homeless people to see what they’d buy and whether they’d bring the cards back as asked. In the process, he got to know the five people who accepted his offer and then reported on what he learned.

It’s striking to me (though I realize I should not be surprised) that so many of the homeless he made the offer to were fairly honest and not interested in taking advantage. Though many of them bought liquor, none of them attempted to buy something ridiculously pricie (even though they wouldn’t have been able to, since the cards all had very low limits–though they didn’t know that). And all but one returned the cards just as they promised. I wonder if you made the same offer to five random, non-homeless people if they’d be as honest.

Here’s the tally (in brief) of what each person did with their borrowed card (LCBO refers to the Canadian government-run liquor stores):

Card 1: $50, handed to Jason. Spends $8.69 at McDonald’s. Returns card.

Card 2: $50, to Mark. Spends $21.64 at The Corner Place restaurant. Doesn’t return. Later spends $15.50 at the LCBO.

Card 3: $75, to Joanne. Card is stolen. Over two days, $24.95 spent at McDonald’s, $38.35 at the LCBO.

Card 4: $50, to Al. Card unreturned. Balance remains at $50

Card 5: $75. Laurie buys $74.61 worth of food, phone minutes and cigarettes at a gas station convenience store. Returns card.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Murray permalink
    September 2, 2010 5:02 pm

    What’s next?

    Sticking pins in them to see if they say “ouch”?

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