11 Mar, 2007
The Trust Experiment
Posted by andrea tomkins in: The Trust Experiment
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I’ve received a couple of emails and one phone call about the Honesty Project, which I have since decided to rename the Trust Experiment because I realized it’s a better fit for what it is all about. Thank you for your interest so far. I’m glad that you [insert big wide sweep of arms] are interested and supportive of my funny whims. :)
If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile you know that there are some kinds of things that really appeal to me, things like community, randomness, and human behaviour.
I am the type of person who thinks a lot. I ask myself a lot of questions. I do a lot of wondering. Sometimes those questions are answered but more often they are not. I wonder what makes people do the things they do, how we express ourselves, and how we can all be different in some ways but incredibly alike in others.
I’m not sure where the idea for the Trust Experiment came from. I haven’t seen anything like it before. It just came to me. If you are standing under a tree and a leaf happens to fall, do you reach out and try to catch it? I do. The Trust Experiment is one of those falling leaves.
Before I explain it I want to point out that some people will think the Experiment is a waste of time. I would like to say, for the record, that I don’t really care. I’m doing this for myself and for myself only. And I thought it might be cool to take a few other people (like you!) along for the ride and write about it here.
It could be a long project. It could be short. But that depends on a bunch of different things including: community, randomness, and human behaviour.
Ha. I just reread what I wrote. I’ve made it out to seem a lot bigger than it actually is.
The Trust Experiment = one old wallet which contains a ten dollar bill and a note. I will leave it in my favourite neighborhood coffeeshop, hopefully, if management is cool with the idea, it will reside at the Bridgehead on Richmond Road near the MEC.
Here’s what the note will say:
You have just stumbled upon the Trust Experiment.
I have put ten dollars in this wallet. It was deliberately left here on [date]. I will be checking it once a day to see if it’s still here. At the end of the experiment the money will be donated to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
Obviously, this experiment ends if the wallet or the money disappears. It might last a day or a month. I have no idea, but that’s what I’d like to find out.
If you’re reading this, please sign the bottom of this sheet to let me know when you were here. Although you are not required to do so you may add money to the wallet, but you must first accept the risk that comes with leaving cold hard cash out in the open. The question is: do you trust?
This experiment is being tracked at www.quietfish.com/notebook.
These are the questions I would like to answer:
- Will someone take the wallet? I’m hoping it can last at least 30 days.
- And what about the money? Will it disappear?
- Will anyone add any money?
- How many people will pick it up? Look inside? Sign the sheet?
- If the money is taken, who would take it? What were they thinking? (This would be pure speculation on my part, but still…)
- Regardless of the outcome, will be be fair to give it meaning? i.e. if the wallet goes missing on the first day can we chalk it up to bad luck or what?
edited to add: I was talking about this with someone yesterday and we debated the amount of “good” vs. “bad” people out there. Is it fair to say that the majority of us are “good” and wouldn’t take the wallet? Would you say 90% of us are “good” ? More? Less? Is it even fair to categorize people in this way? Do more “good” people hang out at my coffeeshop? Under what circumstances would someone take the wallet?
So, what do you think? What would you do if you saw the wallet? And would you consider hosting a Trust Experiment in your own neighborhood?
I am secretly hoping to be pleasantly surprised, but I think it’s best to go into this with no expectations whatsoever. That way I can’t be disappointed in the results.
Now all I need is an old wallet. Hmmm.
* * *
(pics taken on official start date: March 21, 2007):
View of the second wallet… taken on the afternoon of April 1.
Second wallet is still goin’. This was taken the morning of April 9.