You Can Take Whatever You Want for Free, but Will You?

It has been a YouTube week for me and all started from a video taken by some Russian guy, who had found fruit and flower shops near the roads of Munich, Germany without any sellers in them. People should have weighed the products they wanted to buy and then pay its price to a special cash machine according to price-list near the machine. On the bottom of the price poster, it was written something like, “Be fair, pay what you have to.” And these words were the guard of the shops. The practice was said to be pretty widespread in Bayern.

First, I attributed this to people’s personal integrity (it was hard to believe that all residents of Bayern had integrity), but then I found another video on a social experiment conducted in Russia, where a bag of apples was left near one of the roads with a price-list near it and no one even approached the bag. One of the interviewees attributed his ignorance to the apples to the national mentality. He confessed that if he had seen the same thing in one of the European developed countries, he would have probably bought the apples, but in Russia such things are not commonly accepted and he cannot believe the honesty of such action.

It would be very controversial to attribute this difference to national integrity, and then another video came for help.

Here the 1 Russian TV was reporting about a resident of one of the villages in Khakassia, who was running a similar magazine, where people would come in, take whatever they need and leave the money in a special box. Those who did not have cash with them at the moment could leave a note with their names on it and pay for the goods later. The owner was saying that people are pleased with the fact that they are trusted and give the same attitude to you.

I think ‘trust’ and ‘trustworthiness’ are the main idea of such phenomena. Just an old box of apples somewhere near the street could not be trustworthy as compared to the big shop of flowers and fruits in Germany with special cash dispenser. If people did not see any trustworthiness in the box itself, they would not care whether they were being trusted or not. Of course, those who were fair in the shops of Munich and Khakassia were not perfect or always fair, but they were trusted and this made them trustworthy.

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