imag003I’ve been living in this city for many years now and I always thought that times have changed from the days when people left their doors and backyard gates unlocked while they bike around the neighborhood. The fear of people snatching your prized possessions while you’re not around and even the thought of that dreadful home invasion had kept many folks untrusting and even xenophobic of strangers. An acquaintance of mine “lost” her wallet on three occasions – left it at a university library, dropped it at a subway station and inadvertently left it at a video rental counter. On all ocassions she got her wallet back. Good Samaritans called her at home and informed her of the whereabouts of her precious wallet. I can also recall an instance when I saw a young woman totally despondent at the loss of her wallet, walking and sobbing all over the supermarket floor and pleading ” please people. If you found my wallet, keep the money but just return my id’s and credit cards” It was truly a heartbreaking sight. I wish I could help but I simply couldn’t. Good and bad happens. Not all wallets lost are found. We all familiar with the name of the game – finders keepers, losers weepers.

An interesting experiment was conducted by theΒ Toronto StarΒ to measure the level of honesty of society. It deliberately dropped 20 wallets that “contained $43.77, photo identification, baby pictures, receipts, a grocery list, a love note and an emergency contact number” wanting to find out how many finders would call in and return the wallets. What is so different about this test is it is done during a wicked recession when the economy is slow and people are worried about losing their jobs. So far 16 wallets have been returned. What is interesting to note is the experimenters actually recorded the precise places where the wallets were dropped. Methinks the drop spots chosen were a cross section of the economic demographics of the city. The testers are still waiting for calls on the 4 missing wallets. They may or may not come back. Even if they didn’t, 16 out of 20 ( 80%) return rate isn’t bad at all.

Many years ago I found a man’s wallet that contained no money but a bunch of ATM cards, credit cards and ID’s. I found that the man’s residence was at the suburbs, at least 45 minutes away from downtown where I found the wallet, close to the building where I worked. I went to a nearby drug store that had a post office outlet and mailed the wallet in a courier type envelop to the man’s home address. I didn’t put a return address. It cost me a little less than 5 bucks for my effort. The hassle the man will go through obtaining his cards from scratch would have been painful. 5 bucks won’t hurt me at all so I decided to help. Survey shows that women are more honest than men when finding wallets. Impressive but not quite consistent across the board. When it comes to telling one’s age, men are more honest than women πŸ™‚ Β What gives ? Dare to explain? Nah, whatever Β stats may say, honesty is always the best policy πŸ˜‰

Here’s a test done by Readers Digest in 2001 in many countries. The results are quite interesting.


images41Last month I attended a very unique marketing launch of a company that had been trying to get into a business relationship with us. The after office hours reception was held at the showroom of a luxury car company where invited guests from many companies were enjoined to participate in a raffle draw for a free 2 year lease on a luxury SUV courtesy of the host πŸ˜‰ Pretty ambitious launch considering that we are in a recession and companies are trimming expenses whenever they can. Darn, I didn’t win the raffle, duh. I know I won’t win. Since I was born on this earth I haven’t won any raffle big or small. When it comes to raffles, I’m the ultimate pessimist 😦

The company also hired had a pretty savvy magician who entertained guests with his tricks. At one point he barged into the group I was huddling with and asked one of the guys ” here’s a book. Open it and find a word, preferably the longest one you can find, keep it to yourself and I will guess the word.” After flipping a few pages of the book the guest said ” I have the word. Ready ? “. The magician replied “Hmmm.. what letter does it start with?” “It starts with m” replied the guest. The magician paused as if trying to guess the word, then wrote the word “mountainside” on a piece of paper. ” You’re darn right ! You guessed it. How did you do it? That’s incredible !” said the guest. I was thoroughly impressed too.

10 minutes later, one of the guests that witnessed the impressive word guessing trick in my group came to me and said ” hey, this guy did the same trick on the group over there and he guessed the word again ! Funny though – the word was the same – mountainside ! Could it be a coincidence? ” I laughed and replied “ buddy, I don’t think so. I don’t think he uses ESP or any sort of weird mind reading technique. He’s using a trick”. What do you think? Any ideas? I have one but will share once I hear from you hehe πŸ™‚


42 Responses

  1. 80% returned the wallet, wow, that’s really something! I agree that men are more honest when disclosing their age. Based on observation. But as to marital status, that’s another case. But really, the result of that test is very inspiring. Sana ganun din sa Pilipinas. =) Here in UAE, it’s so common that any belongings left unintentionally (or not) are returned to the owners. That’s why it’s almost scandalous whenever pickpocketing (rarely happens) gets on the news. Siguradong madedeport agad yung gumawa.

    • Yep, it’s quite alright. I guess it is inspiring to know that there are still honest people around.

      I wish they do a test on marital honesty – I’d like to know what the outcome is hehe πŸ™‚

  2. wow, honest society. I’m really surprised that women lie more about their age than men. Maybe we are more vain? haha.

    Magicians are incredible people. I can’t be a magician ever I think. My hands are too slow πŸ™‚

    • Women are more vain – is that your answer why women like about their age ? Guess what, it’s not cool to ask women about their age anymore so I guess, women have made great progress on the subject hehe πŸ™‚

      I tell you how fast this magician’s hand was – it’s like Manny Pacquiao’s hands πŸ˜‰

  3. hahaha…. i like the magicians part. i dont have an idea. it’s weird. have you watched the movie The Prestige”? that’s one of my favorite movie.

    • Dong – mysterious eh ? Darn, I need to watch that movie “The Prestige”. THey say it’s interesting. I’ll check when visit my bootleg DVD shop this Sat πŸ™‚

  4. sakin ang palaging nangyayari nabibigyan ako ng sobrang change pero symepre dahil mabait akong bata binabalik ko LOL nga pala have you seen my award for you?

    • Buti ka pa, may pagka anghel hehe πŸ™‚ Hey, I will visit your site soon. Thanks vm ! Nagbakasyon lang ako ng 2 days after Pacquiao’s victory .. LOL.

  5. At least the Philippines isn’t at the bottom of the list in that experiment done by Reader’s Digest. πŸ™‚ I remember once I was asked what I would do if I found the wallet of the person whom I hated. I was stomped and didn’t know what to say.

    So the guy asked by the magician isn’t an accomplice? Hypnotized into choosing “mountainside” perhaps? Well, I don’t know if I even believe in hypnotism but my brother claims he had been hypnotized into giving his cellphone to a lady. Having hosted children’s parties in college I had seen many magic tricks that really boggled my mind and made me even a little bit scared, but I haven’t witnessed hypnotism in action.

    • Finding the wallet of the person I totally hate ? Very likely it will end up in teh dumpster haha πŸ™‚

      I think he had an accomplice in the crowd and I think that’s when he guessed the name of the woman’s pet dog. Dang, I had the feeling the woman wasn’t a guest πŸ˜‰ I don’t think he used hypnotism but the trick is in the book methinks heh πŸ˜‰

  6. I haven’t had the opportunity to find something lost. I’m sure I’d do the “right” thing when the time comes.

    Age = danger zone. Dont even go there my friend.

    Magician? I thought they (the guesser and the guessees) are all in the “trick” or prank or what have you.

    I too have never won anything on a raffle. Oh no, I think I once won a tshirt from a sports mag back home, but when I called to collect my winnings I was told the time for collecting winnings had passed. What luck, eh?

    • Age=danger zone hehe…Amazing at how society can change and learn not to ask women such questions- it saves women from lying πŸ˜†

      Good you’ve won a Tshirt – me nada,zilch since birth ugh. I always had to work for things I desire. I think I’m due for a real big win – watch haha πŸ™‚

  7. If it’s not yours, return it, simplest form of honesty.

    About 17 years ago, my son found a lady’s handbag at Raley’s Supermarket in Benicia, California. I decided to bring home the bag with us, instead of giving it to the Store Mgr as recommended by my wife, son and daughter. When we got home, I looked for her driver’s license and got her name, and while browsing thru her wallet , there was $1,627.00 inside. I called her asap and husband was in my frontdoor in minutes. Money was for a trip to Israel. He gave me 50 bucks which I gave to my son. That was the only time I got in to the local newspaper for honesty. Two months later, I won over three grand in sports betting (karma?, maybe, hehe)
    Even now, I’ve always maintained that I made the right decision to bring the lady’s bag home. Had I given it to the Store Mgr? I’ll never know!

    This Honesty Survey ought to be done in Uganda or Rwanda, or any failed country; lost wallet 20 – returned 0. I don’t blame them, hehe….

    Most magics are a two people act except maybe the use of playing cards. Have two or three magic of my own but it’s not really magic, just use of quick hands.

    • Good for you bro. That news coverage of your honesty is tops – congrats πŸ˜‰

      The karma thing is true IMHO. What goes around comes around they say. You’re right – giving the bag to the store manager wasn’t a wise decision because you’ll never know if he will return it !

      Quick hands man – that’s the key ! Amazingly some people are blessed with deft hands πŸ™‚

  8. *Nice post πŸ™‚ 16 out of 20 is an amazing rate already! My friend from Guelph told me you can even leave your grocery bags on your porch/front door and no one would dare touch it.

    * Sadly, I do lie about my age…sometimes πŸ˜‰

    *Magicians are cool. I know a trick or two πŸ™‚

    • Provincial people in this country are definitely more honest than the urban folks. Out in the countryside, no one locks their car doors, kids play in the backyard unattended, doors are left open and not locked the whole day. The city, even in the suburban area is a little different.

      Sure we do lie about our age sometimes and I bet you men do it to hehe πŸ™‚

  9. I read the Readers Digest test and some people in Mexico consider the find a blessing or reward lol πŸ™‚ Seems that people have different ways of looking at this.

    Free 2 year lease? Driving a luxury SUV for free for two years is definitely cool. Lucky winner.

    • You are absolutely right. every man has his own convictions and religion in my opinion doesn’t have an overwhelming advantage when it comes to honesty as evidenced by the Mexican test.

      nope – if you won the luxury SUV, you have to foot the darn insurance which will be more expensive than regular cars for sure. If I won the car, the sales rep will be knocking on my door everyday and since we are in a recession, I can’t give her much. I’d also be paying 250 dollars a month for the bloody car insurance 😦 Know what, in retrospect, I’m thankful I didn’t win the damn car – it’s not worth the hassle. I already have 2 cars and don’t need another one. I am not chasing girls anyways πŸ˜† I’m not dying to drive a luxury SUV 😎

  10. So much for honesty buff; as they say. Like Billy Joel says, it ain’t everywhere.

    But mind you, there’s some kind of phenomenon here in the Philippines where every now and then, some taxi driver returns back bags full of cold cash, and of course, its big on the news.

    Now that’s really some mystery knowing how we always say many among us are crooks to the bone.

    • I remember that Bily Joel song – “Honesty is such a lonely word. Everyone is so untrue ”

      As I said in my response to Natez1, there are people with integrity, regardless of their religion or economic condition. To find a taxi driver returning thousands to its rightful owner is evidence of integrity deep in his soul. He can be religious or an atheist for all we know but he is honest.

  11. In these islands, an act of honesty such as returning a wallet is big news, even worthy of a mention on the evening news. It just shows you how low we’ve sunk in the honesty meter as a people…

    As for magic tricks, the only power I wish to have is the power to see into the future… so I can correctly write down the winning combination of the grand lottery, hehehe

    • People always expect the honesty meter to be pegged with economic condition but it is not always the case. I am surprised of Siwtzerland and Hongkong’s low score in the Readers Digest test.

      If you got that power I only need a small help from you bro. Just let me know the stock price of the 30 companies listed in the Dow Jones Industrial Average index a year from now and that would be more than enough for me haha :mrgreen:

  12. i lost about 10 phones in my life so far and of the 10, only two people returned my unit. i still believe we have an honest society; it’s our politicians who aren’t πŸ˜›

    on the magic trick, i believe that in that book, the word ‘mountainside’ is one of the longest word. He’s probably memorized all the long words in that book and the first letter would be giveaway. am i right? hahaha

    • I lost my office issued phone once and called it, only to be answered by a guy who was watching the NHL hockey game at the Air Canada center. We agreed to meet at the entrance of the pub he and his buddies were supposed to chill after the game. When I checked my cell, I found that he attempted to call some phone sex numbers LOL.. Good that I had the 1900 numbers barred from my cell πŸ™‚

      Good point. Methinks the trick is in the book too πŸ™‚

  13. I lost a lot of stuff (cellphones sa taxi and wallets), but NONE were ever returned to me. I guess Im on the other end of the statistics eh?

    • I was playing golf in the rain with some buddies once and my driver slipped from my hand and ended up on top of some tall trees πŸ™‚ It was at the 17th hole so when we finished the 18th hole I reported the incident to the pro shop. Two weeks later I came back to the club and lo and behold, they found my driver ! Maybe it was blown by the strong winds back to the fairway πŸ™‚

      I got an expensive driver back but I lost my Nautica golf umbrella ( fell from the cart) given to me by the wifey – darn I never got it back. I checked the golf pro shop many times but the finder decided to keep it it seems.

      I lost the cheap one but got back the expensive one – ironic indeed 😯

  14. […] bookmarks tagged sobbing TEST OF HONESTY saved by 6 others     kevda bookmarked on 05/09/09 | […]

  15. i wonder how the experiment will turn out if done here. in a rural and urban setting…

    • I say if it the wallet is dropped in a very economically depressed area in Pinas, the chances of it getting returned would be extremely low.

  16. Hmmm… Belgium score is quite bad… and the result of Switzerland is a total mystery to me… Switzerland being one of the richest countries in Europe… maybe they are already corrupted by all the illegal money in their banks? πŸ˜‰

    As for the magician… I think it is a matter of hypnotism.
    Some money changers in Malate-Ermita use the same techniques… they count the money, you count the money… it is correct…. you go home and count again and half of the money is missing.
    I witnessed it first hand with a Balikbayan friend who is now living in Belgium.

    • “maybe they are already corrupted by all the illegal money in their banks?”

      hahaha… that’s a funny statement about the Swiss. we don’t know – perhaps empathy isn’t very common in a country of very high standards of living, to each his own and selfishness may have taken over the people – just a thought though πŸ˜‰

      Man, hypnotism used in con games is very dangerous. I hope science can invent something to counteract someone hijacking our brains !

  17. On the magician’s guess the word trick.

    The trick lies in the book methinks. I had a brief glance at the book. It was paperbound – no titles on the cover. Looks like it was especially made. Perhaps there are only a handful of long words in them , repeatedly appearing every page, say 10 max and the magician has memorized them all. I was curious as to why he asked – what does the word start with ? πŸ™‚

    I bet you if I and asked to play this game, I will select a common, shorter word like ” house” or “again” and I’ll bet my house the magician wouldn’t come close to guessing it πŸ˜‰

    I also saw him asking people – think of a number between 1 and 1000 and I will guess it. He will ask the guest – what’s your number ? The guest replies 596 for instance and he shows him a piece of paper from the notepad he is holding, the number 596 written in pencil, barely legible ! Amazing ?

    Here’s what I think he did. The ring on his finger may have been made of graphite ( material like the pencil). I actually saw his hand move on the notepad – as the guest speaks his number, he was writing it on the notepad with his ring !

    Mind you he was a very good magician but as they say, when you do a magic trick, just do it once πŸ˜†

  18. “please people. If you found my wallet, keep the money but just return my id’s and credit cards”

    – I know where she’s coming from. it’s too much of a hassle to get those ids and cards once lost…

    • it is always prudent to have back up ATM and credit cards – in case you lose them all in your wallet it will be a real drag ! As for me, my wife is my back up hehe πŸ˜‰

  19. hmmm… the stat above is discouraging for us women. πŸ™‚
    anyway, i don’t know if people really hold this old adage true. maybe if the devil isn’t poking them. πŸ™‚

    • Given the stats, women are still way honest than men methinks because they seem to have more empathy than men. Just don’t bring in the age issue πŸ˜‰ Sure, the devil pokes us all the time and our reactions are different from each other .

  20. hahaha. i have just tested it and found that out to be true. women are really honest except for one thing – their age.

    • lol.. I think society has already admitted that.. if you recall I had a post about women and their age..This was the story… there’s this Pinay woman who got sick during a tour in Europe and she brought to the emergency room of a hospital. When the loud mouthed doc showed up 15 minutes later and asked her in a very loud manner – HOW OLD ARE YOU? – heard by everyone in the emergency room, she replied ” oh, I’m OK now. I feel a lot better ” hehehe.. risking your health over revealing your true age is some vanity eh? πŸ˜†

  21. wow! you’re honest. with my wallet, my concern would be my id’s. with my phone, my simcard. i had my number for 10years already. i don’t want to change it

    re magic. that means your friend thinks the same way as majority of the people. unless, mountainside is the only m word in that page

    • honestly not many people carry cash around here because we have ATM’s all over the place and most shops accept ATM and credit cards. At best, I carry no more than 20 bucks in my pocket seriously. So you’re right, losing cards is more serious 😦

      the magician’s book was a joke – that I can tell you πŸ™‚

  22. Funny, I was just into a conversation with my cousin complaining about most men not being honest to their partner.hehe! I don’t know how much of our population today still adhere on the “honesty as the best policy”. I even hear some people in financial difficulties praying that they may find money even when just loitering along the hallways.:D

    You did a very remarkable deed in returning the wallet without labeling your address on the envelope. My hat’s off to you bw. My cousin asked me if there are still men around who remain honest by all means, maybe i will tell her later that there’s someone like you still in this universe where morale and values have drifted slowly into oblivion. πŸ™‚

    • I might be wrong but honesty has many faces it seems. Sometimes the people who are terribly honest to their spouses are the worst crooks when it comes to money matters !

      Thanks for the flattery hehe πŸ™‚ Mailing the wallet wasn’t a big deal for me and I didn’t mind spending the 5 bucks. I didn’t put my name on the return address because you will never know if the owner may make a stink out of it and accuse me for stealing his wallet LOL πŸ™‚ I believe there are lots of dignified people left in this world. They may not look that friendly, noisy and chatty but dignified in their ways.

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