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Mapping The (Dis)Honesty Of The World

Tyler Durden's picture


Reader's Digest wanted to know how honest world cities are, so it “lost” 192 wallets in 16 cities - that’s 12 wallets in each city - to see how many would be returned. Each wallet contained $50 equivalent of local currency, as well as a name, phone number, family photo, coupons, and business cards. The results, as IBTimes' Lisa Mahapatra illustrates are perhaps surprising. The US ranked well (with 8/12 wallets returned) but the troubled regions of Europe (Spain and Portugal) came a dismal last with only 2 and 1 wallets returned respectively.


The Wallet Experiment


by lisamahapatra.
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Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:21 | 4004420 Scarlett
Scarlett's picture

Moving to Mumbai and marrying a gold-rich Indian...

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:32 | 4004451 VD
VD's picture

but when you go to pick up the wallet you get gang-raped in Mumbai. 

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:43 | 4004461 Pladizow
Pladizow's picture

If you drop your wallet in San Francisco, kick it all the way home!

OK, wallets were returned, but did they contain everything?

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:50 | 4004496 SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

"Reader's Digest wanted to know how honest world cities are, so it “lost” 12 wallets at each of the 12 federal reserve banks to see how many would be returned.

Each wallet contained $5 equivalent of local currency, as well as a name, phone number, and a 5-gram bar of gold bullion.

The results are perhaps surprising. The St Louis branch fared well (with 2/12 wallets returned) but the troubled regions (NYFed and SFFed) came a dismal last with 0 wallets returned.

Most surprising though -- somehow all of the 5-gram bars went missing."

I am shocked -- SHOCKED -- that this could happen.


Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:08 | 4004537 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



Do people still carry wallets? 

  • Benchmade Mini Dejavoo
  • Rohrbaugh R9 Magazine
  • Phone
  • Money Clip with Cash, DL, CHL, and CC
Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:17 | 4004549 AssFire
AssFire's picture

They don't mentioned that 7 of the "returned" wallets in NYC were actually found...

 shoved up dead guy's asses.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:16 | 4004554 boogerbently
boogerbently's picture

No Asian countries represented......for obvious reasons.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:28 | 4004576 nmewn
nmewn's picture

They're having an "event" right now...everythings dropping like a rock. Wallets are a dime a dozen & everywhere.

Deh To Lo, they'll get back to us on their honesty ;-)

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:31 | 4004588 Pool Shark
Pool Shark's picture



Good thing they didn't try this in Washington DC; not only would the wallets not have been returned, but the credit cards would have been maxed-out...



Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:36 | 4004595 Jack's Digestib...
Jack's Digestible Ideas's picture

What a good "experiment". Nevermind the fact that Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Phillipines & Australia weren't represented, and between North and South America, only two cities were used in the study. Groundbreaking reporting right here (/sarc if only this wasn't what passes as good journalism in our Brave New World).

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:22 | 4004647 TeamDepends
TeamDepends's picture

And just who is this "Reader's Digest"?  Sure, they dropped these 12 wallets in these cities as reported then are honest about what happened next?  Somebody is out 50 Yankee Dollars per each non-returned unit.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:29 | 4004675 BigJim
BigJim's picture

Look, people, those 4 wallets that weren't returned were rehypothecated several thousand times and then used to short GLD. Fucking Readers Digest.

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 00:11 | 4004710 gmrpeabody
gmrpeabody's picture

I have a new found respect for NYC...

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 00:30 | 4004720 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Yes, Carlos Danger doesn't always return wallets.  But when he does, he does so on Zero Hedge.  He returns them right in to the Danger zone.  Right into.  

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 06:56 | 4004871 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture




Vote for Carlos Danger......and you'll never have to deal with that nagging sense of shame again!

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:30 | 4004680 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

Somebody may also be out 50 yankee dollars on the returned ones as well. They didn't say what was missing from the returned ones, did they?

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:40 | 4004690 TeamDepends
TeamDepends's picture

Like the cut of your jib, andrew.  As you have probably pieced together by now, this is clearly a clever ruse to slip a wallet-nuke into one of the afore mentioned cities.  We need to work backwards people, time is of the essence!

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 00:37 | 4004727 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

No worries.  The NSA is on the stolen wallets.  And everyone who comments on them. 

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 07:43 | 4004937 KidHorn
KidHorn's picture

I'm pretty sure Mumbai is in asia.

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 09:59 | 4005280 czardas
czardas's picture

Jack - I thought the same thing.  How representative are these large cities of the countries?  New York is about as foreign to the US as Bombay and the dirth of data on non-Western culture (where corruption is institutionalize) makes this "survey" suspect.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:37 | 4004598 knukles
knukles's picture

Did the one fabricated from foreskins get returned in Tel aviv?

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 06:57 | 4004888 Mentaliusanything
Mentaliusanything's picture

Could be a very valueable wallet... some day

I for one had no choice in the matter, and I'm not from the 7 tribes

should I add sarc on/ off

It worries me ........

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 07:55 | 4004954 Bobbyrib
Bobbyrib's picture

"That's strange, the woman maxing out your credit card looks exactly like the former Speaker of the House."

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 00:09 | 4004706 buttmint
buttmint's picture

booger...good observation on your part, re: NO Asian cities represented. Ahem, a found wallet would be viewed at "Buddah doing good for them" and yes, you are quite right, they would order up some Sangsom and Coca Cola and have a helluva party.

This experiment oughta be repeated with $1k in the wallet in $20s and $10s. Hmmm?

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 02:59 | 4004813 Uchtdorf
Uchtdorf's picture

When did the UN Security Council decide that India was no longer an Asian country?

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 03:44 | 4004829 daemon
daemon's picture

"No Asian countries represented......for obvious reasons."

India is an asian country.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:20 | 4004561 Lmo Mutton
Lmo Mutton's picture

What is 1 magazine going to do for you when Aexis and his "ELF" weapon come calling?

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:31 | 4004585 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture




I like those odds much better than having just my cock in my hand.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:41 | 4004604 Jack's Digestib...
Jack's Digestible Ideas's picture

I'm going to take a stab in the dark: Driver's License, Concealed Handgun License, Credit Cards.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:12 | 4004649 U4 eee aaa
U4 eee aaa's picture

Drop your wallet at the fed. The good news is you get your wallet back with all the currency. The bad news is that by the time you get it back the currency is worthless

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 04:25 | 4004842 NoClueSneaker
NoClueSneaker's picture

Dear Mr. Sheep ...

We have found your wallet . After lot of hard work we finally identified you and your adress .

For our effort we take small fee of $174,42 and you'll have your wallet in no time.

Sincerely yours,

Dowie Loot & Cheetham






Mon, 09/30/2013 - 03:11 | 4004820 sodbuster
sodbuster's picture

Safely Graze- 

>"Reader's Digest wanted to know how honest world cities are, so it “lost” 12 wallets at each of the 12 federal reserve banks to see how many would be returned.

Each wallet contained $5 equivalent of local currency, as well as a name, phone number, and a 5-gram bar of gold bullion.<

Actually, all of the wallets were returned from the fed reserve banks- the gold was gone, but the wallets were stuffed with FRNs, with a note attached-"Please spend"


Mon, 09/30/2013 - 08:25 | 4005004 Hail Spode
Hail Spode's picture

How about ""Reader's Digest wanted to know how honest world cities are, so it “lost” 12 wallets at each of the 12 federal reserve banks to see how many would be returned.

Each wallet contained $5 equivalent of local currency, as well as a name, phone number, and a 5-gram bar of gold bullion.

The results are perhaps surprising.   Each federal reserve bank stole all the money and the gold and then rehypothicated it to near infinity so that it shows up on their books as a multi-billion dollar "asset"".

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 09:38 | 4005200 Mike Hunt Hurts
Mike Hunt Hurts's picture

I found 4 of the "lost" New York wallets

$200.00 richer Bitches

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 14:25 | 4006396 mickeyman
mickeyman's picture

The worst was China, where not only were none of the wallets returned, but someone stole the investigators' wallets as well.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:23 | 4004421 prains
prains's picture

Goes to show you there are decent people out there.....NYC who would of thought 8 out of 12 not me, impressive and Moscow as well. The shocker Zurich, Switzerland 4 out of 12 what a bunch of mopes and Mumbai with 9 was a wow!

Too bad Canada didn't get the test, but they would have done it in Toronto and it would have they usually do at most things

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:37 | 4004462 Xibalba
Xibalba's picture

They must've not been in Queens

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:47 | 4004483 e_goldstein
e_goldstein's picture

or lower Manhattan.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:39 | 4004467 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Apparently they ran out of funding for the wallet experiment before they got to China, Australia & Africa too ;-)

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:51 | 4004497 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Chinese citizenism duplicity led to the return of wallets as part of combination platter, stir fried in spicy ginger sauce with onions, panda toes, and straw mushrooms.

Welcome to an AnAnonymystical world. I would suggest to forget this in time.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:31 | 4004644 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

They were funded up to whatever point and result they wanted.  There's usually an agenda behind them that may not be obvious.  These "studies" are later quoted as science and fact to make whatever point needed.

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 06:33 | 4004879 malikai
malikai's picture

I found a cellphone in a cab in Beijing once. Before my wife could get a word in edgewise, I told the driver and gave him the phone. My wife was pissed.

She said to me: "Not only did you just give a free phone to the driver, but there will now be no chance that the phone gets back to its owner. You should have kept your mouth shut and we could have returned it ourselves. Then you could have been a model citizen today. Now you're just an idiot."

She's cruel sometimes, but I guess that's what it takes to get through my thick skull.

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 07:00 | 4004889 nmewn
nmewn's picture

I found a wallet myself not to long ago (no money in it, on the side of the road).

The first thing I did was look for ID. It was a young black womans but from another town. The only phone numbers (on business cards) were to a loan officer at a bank and UF, probably for an employment app.

No luck, they didn't know her.

Well now I'm stuck with a

I go to the local cop shop to turn it in. Nope, has to be the county cops. I'm like you gotta be kidding me. So I call them. They have to set up an appointment for a "Field Technician" to meet me. They're getting on my last Good Sumaritan nerve by now and I tell them so.

So, she finally arrives, late...I give her the wallet and she wants to know where I found it...which is fine...then she wants my information, cuz, ya know, thieves always return stolen/found wallets and make appoinments to return them to the cops...and wait for them to arrive...late.

I give it to her, yeah she's just doing her job...zombie. And I'm free of the wallet from hell.

The owner called me (I had left my cell number with the bank loan officer I found on the business card) about two months later asking if I had found her wallet. I said yeah and told her what agency had it now. Apparently the cops just tossed it in a drawer somewhere and never tried to find her.

I guess she got it telling the aggravation she went through though when she went

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:44 | 4004476 SuccorMoney
SuccorMoney's picture

Isn't Zurich a banking capital?  But so is New York, so I don't know.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:51 | 4004503 Whatta
Whatta's picture

We stayed at a hotel near the soccer stadium in Zurich...on game night. They probably dropped the wallet near that drunk and rowdy crowd and they bought more soccer hooligan beers with the money!!

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:21 | 4004564 stacking12321
stacking12321's picture

i was surprised at the low rank of zurich.

zurichers seem honest, friendly, and helpful, at least when i was there.

though, it could be a fluke, 12 data points isn't a lot.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:27 | 4004674 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

Yeah, but the concentration of bankers is much higher in Zurich.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:53 | 4004698 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

The Swiss are really cheap... It's more of a matter of the cost of their time vs. ROI. Nothing personal, it's just business.

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 04:27 | 4004845 Acet
Acet's picture

Or putting things another way:

- If they came back for the wallets they would probably find it in the same place as they left them, or in a nearby trash can

By the way, did they actually contact some kind of local authority to try and find the wallet or did they just passivelly waited for it to get to them?


Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:58 | 4004523 merizobeach
merizobeach's picture

"who would of thought" [sic]

Please see the article that Tyler ran a few days ago about record low verbal scores.  ;-)

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:49 | 4004620 Jack's Digestib...
Jack&#039;s Digestible Ideas's picture

If they did this "experiment" in Canada, they would have had 14/12 wallets returned.

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 01:34 | 4004769 U4 eee aaa
U4 eee aaa's picture

Of the four that weren't returned in NY:

They were taken by bankers, put on reserve in their fractional reserve banks and turned into 500K worth of loans. They would tell you that you should not complain because they are stimulating the economy with your money and thus keeping you in a job

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:24 | 4004426 Arius
Arius's picture

did they try DC ?

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:28 | 4004432 Croesus
Croesus's picture

@ Arius:

They forgot to add HUGE red dots over Washington D.C., New York City, The City (London), and Tel Aviv.


Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:29 | 4004435 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

It would have been zero out of 12 if they dropped them over at Treasury. They would have thought they were just trying to help pay down the national debt while they shoved the fifties into their back pocket.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:27 | 4004444 Van Halen
Van Halen's picture

They tried DC but the numbers came back -12/12. So the puzzled statisticians had to scratch that one.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:39 | 4004465 Richard Chesler
Richard Chesler's picture

As they say in DC, you didn't steal that.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:28 | 4004448 vintageyz
vintageyz's picture

They already have our wallets.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:51 | 4004494 Son of Captain Nemo
Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Probably not a good reason to as if it's returned Obama shows up to tell you "you didn't really own that"...

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:24 | 4004427 sunnydays
sunnydays's picture

Switzerland?  Amazing, about the richest place on Earth and they kept the majority of the wallets.  Those who run the banks of the world live there, so really is there no wonder they will even steal $50 from a wallet, since they steal from everyone in the world every day by the billions.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:26 | 4004439 prains
prains's picture

Yes the places where $50 still means something is pretty evident, Zurich is a real shocker, unbelievable asshat capital of the world

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:23 | 4004568 stacking12321
stacking12321's picture

no, you're interpreting it wrong. they saw the $50 and basically considered it an empty wallet, so they threw it away, so it wouldn't litter their fine city.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:26 | 4004671 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

If anything is surprising, it is that 4 were actually returned in Zurich. It is a city of Bankers, after all.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:25 | 4004430 lewy14
lewy14's picture

Twelve wallets per city is grossly insufficient. You'd need thirty to fifty, and even then carefully randomize over the geography and demographics of the city.

File under "plural anecdote". Not data.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:28 | 4004445 prains
prains's picture

random....yes......interesting......even more so

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:26 | 4004572 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Correct, this was not good statistical sampling.  But, even anecdotal evidence like this reveals something.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:41 | 4004593 knukles
knukles's picture

Beats the shit outta BLS statistics.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:25 | 4004434 Van Halen
Van Halen's picture

The four unreturned wallets in NYC were found by bankers.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:26 | 4004438 jballz
jballz's picture


so... what if the wallets had $500?


Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:32 | 4004455 mofreedom
mofreedom's picture

give it to obangies mother inlaw to smoke crack with.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:44 | 4004610 knukles
knukles's picture

Isn't she the one living with them?  One of my crazy buds noted that they'd not seen the kiddies in a while so he drew the conclusion they were boiled in a big pot in the rosegarden and eaten at a parteeeee.

Just repeatin' what he suggested.
Then again, he's a bit off....

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 00:57 | 4004742 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

So..Your honesty has a price? I have lost my wallet twice. Both times it came back with the Cash and the response, when offered a reward, "If I wanted your cash then I'd have kept it."

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:26 | 4004440 wisehiney
wisehiney's picture

That was before oBUMMERcare.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:28 | 4004441 Al Huxley
Al Huxley's picture

When I was in Portugal (Lisbon specifically) you had to verify that the price on restaurant bill matched the price on the menu, that the change given to you at a restaurant or store of any kind was correct for the amount given and the price of the items purchased - if there was a way they could scam you then they would use it.  Never experienced anything like it, and that was in 1992.  So not sure their low rank has anything to do with the current financial situation of the country.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:40 | 4004468 Arius
Arius's picture

interesting, thanks for sharing.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:50 | 4004499 adr
adr's picture

Um, that's called the dumb tourist processing fee.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:01 | 4004532 merizobeach
merizobeach's picture

"tourist discount"

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:11 | 4004648 Al Huxley
Al Huxley's picture

Never had it happen me anywhere else in Europe.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:18 | 4004658 U4 eee aaa
U4 eee aaa's picture

Sounds like theft to me

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:24 | 4004665 BigJim
BigJim's picture

 Um, that's called the dumb tourist processing fee.

Yes, because only a dumb tourist would go back there. Talk about killing the goose....

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:20 | 4004563 Broomer
Broomer's picture

Their low rank *is the cause* of the current financial situation.

I'm speaking this from Brazil (4/12). This country is full of corruption.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:30 | 4004449 Van Halen
Van Halen's picture

Newsflash: Obama just gave a speech where he stated that 0/12 is actually not a loss but a gain of 12 wallets... and $1000.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:51 | 4004502 macholatte
macholatte's picture

not a loss but a gain of 12 wallets...


saved or created wallets

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:55 | 4004509 jim249
jim249's picture

That is $600. 12 x 50

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:28 | 4004673 buyingsterling
buyingsterling's picture

All the gains are bigger with Obama math.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:40 | 4004469 holdbuysell
holdbuysell's picture

Did Jamie Dimon find one? And?

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:49 | 4004487 e_goldstein
e_goldstein's picture

...that's why he's richer than you.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:32 | 4004683 RaceToTheBottom
RaceToTheBottom's picture

His retort when accused of thieving was "Hey it is just part of the bailout"

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:42 | 4004471 SuccorMoney
SuccorMoney's picture

How do you say,bless you, Finns, in Finnish?

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:39 | 4004600 James
James's picture
How do you say,bless you, Finns, in Finnish? Terveydeksi
Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:42 | 4004474 holdbuysell
holdbuysell's picture

Reminds me of a joke I heard long time ago:

How was copper wire invented?

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:49 | 4004489 adr
adr's picture

Two large nosed people got in a fight over a penny.

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 00:07 | 4004704 ThirdWorldDude
ThirdWorldDude's picture

A 1%-er tried to smuggle a penny through a TSA checkpoint in his rectum. Upon discovery, it took TSA half an hour and a pair of tweezers to pull the penny out... 

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:35 | 4004676 buyingsterling
buyingsterling's picture

Who told the gorilla he couldn't go to the ballet?

The people in charge of the ballet.

(hat tip Louie C.K.)

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:46 | 4004478 ThorAss
ThorAss's picture

Dishonesty of the World? Must be like the World Series ... One city in N. America, one in S. America, one in Asia, none in Australasia, and none in Africa with all the rest in Europe? (Yes, Moscow is in Europe and bananas are fruits, get over it!)

Should have been called the relative honesty of European cities with 3 control norms.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:11 | 4004548 toadold
toadold's picture

I  would have liked to see a some  of the cities from Japan.  Say Nagasaki vs. Tokyo vs. Osaka. vs. Saphoro.

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 06:07 | 4004874 Big Brother
Big Brother's picture

Based upon my experience in working with Japanese, the cities would have been on par with the Finns.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:46 | 4004482 Vendetta
Vendetta's picture

Give the people a break they couldn't afford to get the wallets back to the national lost and found.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:48 | 4004486 adr
adr's picture

My dad lost his wallet in NYC. It was returned with everything in it, including credit cards.

A week later $2800 in unauthorized charges appeared on his credit cards.

So while you might get the wallet back, it doesn't mean it wasn't misused. Criminals will return wallets and purses. If they are returned the owner might not cancel their credit cards, thinking everything is ok. If a wallet or purse is stolen and isn't found the first thing people do is make calls to their banks.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:49 | 4004492 Magnum
Magnum's picture

In Thailand it is not even possible that any wallet would be returned, the entire country and people do not know the concept of "lost and found" even at a children's school there is no such thing as lost and found.  Finders keepers, ALWAYS.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:42 | 4004609 Tinky
Tinky's picture

On a very different note, I recall once, many years ago, when I was trekking in the Annapurna region of Nepal. A fellow trekker left his Rolex at a well along the trail. He didn't realize it, and six hours later a Sherpa caught up with us to return it. He wasn't even heading in our direction, and was very reluctant to take a reward! I don't know how many years worth of salary the watch might have been worth to him, but it was astounding.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:49 | 4004621 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

He probably had no concept of what it was worth. A watch is a watch to him.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:51 | 4004623 Tinky
Tinky's picture

You are quite wrong. The explanation is both simpler, and much deeper than that.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:25 | 4004670 BigJim
BigJim's picture

He liked hiking?

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 01:06 | 4004750 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

It seems that many miss the point of the grander scheme at play. Usually the simple concept is an expression of the deepest understanding. (F=ma; E=mc2


He was not "wrong". He might be unelightened, however.

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 01:53 | 4004782 chindit13
chindit13's picture

I had a guy steal my sunglasses in India (it was a street shoe-shine guy who was pestering me to have my sandals polished, and while doing that pickpocketed a jet-lagged me). I happened to see a local constable just as the guy was running off with my glasses, and a few minutes later I was being chauffeured around the city on the back of a 125 cc police mo-ped, stopping at each and every street shoe-shine shop looking for the perp.  Of course we didn't find him, but the cop picked up about 20,000 rupees in "tributes" along the way from citizens.  In the end I felt obliged to "pay for gas" for his bag run.

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 09:11 | 4005144 Baldrick
Baldrick's picture

That's bullshit. I was at a Thai market in Bangkok a few years ago and dropped a wad of cash and an older woman chased me down and gave it back.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:16 | 4004495 Cabreado
Cabreado's picture

Maybe the bigger issue is that we've devolved to the point where we're encouraged, and find it fine, to make judgements about "how honest are cities" from the results of dropping 12 wallets.


Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:57 | 4004627 stacking12321
stacking12321's picture

it's readers digest, FFS!

fluff entertainment, dont read so much into it.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:25 | 4004666 Cabreado
Cabreado's picture

Underneath the fluff there is nearly always non-fluff to be had.

Other than that, rating "honesty" is not fluff by any means.
You have noticed, maybe, that false ratings of honesty is how we got here.



Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:59 | 4004702 stacking12321
stacking12321's picture


rating honesty is not fluff, in and of itself.

but, readers digest is fluff in whatever it attempts, including rating honesty

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:50 | 4004498 thewayitis
thewayitis's picture



  It also depends WHERE in the city you drop it......Such as in New York (Central Park VS 42nd Street) ....


 Big waste of time and $$$.....   Better off sent to homelesss shelters IMO



Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:52 | 4004501 jim249
jim249's picture

I would hope that the people who returned the wallets were given the $50.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:53 | 4004506 Whatta
Whatta's picture

They got a subscription to Readers Digest!

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 01:08 | 4004755 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

There are far better rewards that Fifty Lousy Dollars.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:54 | 4004507 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

The four wallets that weren't returned in New York City were dropped in front of the JPM headquaters.


Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:54 | 4004511 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

But did they try to drop one at a central bank?!

They would take this "wallet loot" and convert it into interest bearing "loan loot," and then into title in real property as they repossess the "loan loot's" collateral, and then into "bail-out loot" from their government puppets who stole the loot from the wallet victim in the first place.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:56 | 4004517 blindman
blindman's picture

Bap Kennedy (& Steve Earle) - Angel is the Devil
this here might explain the secret to the
"success" of the federal reserve bank.
it's longevity and survival in the light of it's own
self inflicted defacement or debasement.
Feelin' Good - Levon Helm

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 21:57 | 4004526 are we there yet
are we there yet's picture

I just flew back today from Warsaw Poland. I found them to be very nice people. Glad to see that they rank well on this test. Also they kept their own currency and do not use the euro Despite being in NATO.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:08 | 4004545 W74
W74's picture

My people, my people.  I expected them to rank higher.  Perhaps several of the wallets were simply not found.

A lot of surprize at India actually.  Rest of the world, not so much.  I notice they didn't drop anything on the entire African continent, or in China.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:22 | 4004567 Broomer
Broomer's picture

It may be nothing sinister; only no Reader's Digest magazines sold in those places.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:34 | 4004682 Vuke
Vuke's picture

W74, in Africa I had a young fellow chase me for half a mile to return my change for a newspaper I had bought.  Judge not, lest ye be judged.

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 07:38 | 4004934 verum quod lies
verum quod lies's picture

It is rather amusing to watch the dance around the 800lb. gorilla. The issue with cities like Berlin or Prague, where many/most of the people picking up the wallet are probably not native to that country and/or not representative of the general population and hence not representative of that culture in a control group sense, should be obvious. If they had actually dropped wallets in places like your typical African hellhole (e.g., Monrovia, Port au Prince,  or Detroit), most people would be surprised if any were returned by the locals, especially if they were African where the exercise itself wouldn't even make sense to them.

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 08:19 | 4004996 exodus11
exodus11's picture

Non-natives and the natives are problems in Prague. The word "honesty" doesn't exist in the Czech vocabulary. Never did. Never will.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:57 | 4004533 Zer0head
Zer0head's picture

so the dude (Prem Watsa) who wants to take BlackBerry private - he owns 10% of Blackberry and is known as Canada's Warren Buffet (LOL)

is the same dude who signed off on the $55 million exit clause for BlackBerry's CEO Mr. Thorsten Heins, that's the  same Thorsten Heins that was negotiating with the dude who owns 10% of the company and who signed off on his $55 million dollar change of control exit/parachute  clause




Mon, 09/30/2013 - 07:18 | 4004903 Mentaliusanything
Mentaliusanything's picture

Please do not get upset over that, Downunder they form a consortium.bribe the polies, get a tunnel goingand walk away with the kitchen sink.  lots to learn on skimming down here.  Even the Reserve centrail bank stinks in Australia..... heard it here first.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:38 | 4004601 Xploregon
Xploregon's picture

As a first generation American/Suomalainen (Finlander in Finnish)...and for all the raindeer manure I've been subjected to for years over my heritage, may I just, na, na, na, nayaaaaaaaaa!

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:19 | 4004643 moonstears
moonstears's picture

American too(not Finnish descended, though), but agree you have the right to gloat your Finn genes here, Xplor...and you may be a hell of a rifle shot, too(think Simo Hayha).

Honest and deadly?

By the way if they'd dropped the USA one in the midwest or rural south, we'd have likely had even better numbers. JMO. Still, way to go NYC!

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 01:17 | 4004759 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

I think that if that happened in San Diego, CA or the Pacific Northwest, or Salt Lake City that the numbers would be as high as the Midwest and Deep South.


Actually I am disappointed that the numbers in NYC were not higher as I would expect 11 out of 12 from most anywhere in the USA. I expect that Canada would have been 12 out of 12.


Just because we have pukes running our Government it does not mean that we are all a bunch of psychopaths. It means that far too many are far too trusting (a sign of honesty actually) and far too ignorant.


Doug Casey calls it the 80/20 Rule and I tend to agree from my anecdotal experiences.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:09 | 4004645 stacking12321
stacking12321's picture

it still doesn't make up for the fact that your country unleashed ancient lake trolls upon the world:

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:40 | 4004602 Judge Crater
Judge Crater's picture

The four New York City wallets that were not returned were turned over to the police, who are above the law.  $50 more for the precinct beer fund. 

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:02 | 4004624 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

The article didn't say - was the cash still in the returned wallets?  I always take any cash and postage stamps before mailing found wallets back to their owners. Losing the cash is their just penalty for losing the wallet, but I always send the cards and other crap back - after handling the wallet with gloves and placing it in a fingerprint-free envelope.

I haven't found a wallet in over 20 years - since I was in college. College campuses seem to be where most wallets get lost.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:06 | 4004640 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

What a douche. 

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 01:05 | 4004749 Hengist
Hengist's picture

You remind me of a guy I went to college with, I had just found an old man dead in the street (heart attack) and went to seek help at the local student union about a hundred yards away, the guy in question asked me whether I had looked for his wallet for the cash.  I'm sure he must be senior management somewhere by now.

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 01:23 | 4004763 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

Remind me not to ever enter a business deal with you, andrewp111.


If you can identify the owner of the property then the property does not belong to you. That is called STEALING. So you are a thief? What a puke. Thieves will be crucified, nailed to actual crosses during the next reset.


Thieves were those whom were crucified with Christ. Notice He did not take down the repentant thief that He forgave. That thief still suffered the Physical Consequences for his actions.


Enjoy the penalty andrewp111. You earned it.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 22:58 | 4004628 delacroix
delacroix's picture

I met 2 guys from alberta last year in san juan del sur nicaragua. they told me that a few nights prior, they had been drinking for several hours in a local bar. while the were walking back to their hostel they saw 2 guys following them. they started walking faster. the followers walked faster too, and started yelling something. the canadian guys didn't speak spanish, and got a little scared and started running. since they were kinda drunk, the guys following caught up to them within a block. when they were face to face, they could see that one of the guys was holding out a wallet, that they had left on the bar. on another note, a security guy at a club on the lake in granada lifted my wallet a few days earlier.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:01 | 4004629 socalbeach
socalbeach's picture

If they had tried that stunt in L.A., 0/12 would have been returned. And there would have been 8 attempted home invasion robberies within a week.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:06 | 4004635 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

What a pointless f@cking article due to the sample size and lack of randomization.  These kind of worthless (and meaningless) ones are exactly the kind you see way too often in the popular press because general public knows next to nothing about even the most basic statistics and most journalists are math-retarded. 

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 06:43 | 4004882 Smiddywesson
Smiddywesson's picture

Yes, but we all know the point of the article was to get the dinosaur MSM mag to pay for their vacation.  So I guess the "study" made sense to someone.

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:15 | 4004653 BullyBearish
BullyBearish's picture

Poof...there goes the Greek!

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 23:53 | 4004697 CharmaChameleon
CharmaChameleon's picture

So how is it, precisely, that one knows any of the unreturned wallets were found? I'd say that's kind of germane to the experiment's validity.

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 01:39 | 4004773 U4 eee aaa
U4 eee aaa's picture

They probably dropped them in high traffic areas. They also could have gone back the next day and checked the location

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 00:11 | 4004708 Runs-With_Toast
Runs-With_Toast's picture

The poor Africans dont even have wallets

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 00:37 | 4004729 malek
malek's picture

They should have tried this in Greece 10+ years ago, I'm sure they'd gotten 12 wallets back.

Nowadays unfortunately I wouldn't expect it to still be the same...

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 00:56 | 4004743 Hengist
Hengist's picture

What everyone has missed is that some lucky journalist convinced their editor to go on all expenses trip around the world and lose these wallets. 

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 01:01 | 4004745 draghithebearslayer
draghithebearslayer's picture

do the same experiment in seoul, south korea, and i bet none will be returned, as local culture deems such decent act as idiocy.

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 01:33 | 4004767 trader1
trader1's picture

true story.

i once lost my wallet in the basel sbb train station.  <was in too much of a rush trying to pay my ticket and make the train.  thought i had slipped the wallet into my coat pocket, but alas....>

following a brief heart-dropping feeling, i called the lost and found after realizing it's not in the coat pocket while halfway through my trip to locarno.  i described the wallet and its contents, but the gentleman said: "sorry, but it seems that the person who returned the wallet took your cash."  well, it was less than 50 francs and all the more important stuff was still there.  a finder's fee, i guess.

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 01:38 | 4004772 U4 eee aaa
U4 eee aaa's picture

What they didn't tell you is that they also dropped a wallet in the halls of congress. A congressman picked it up and gave it to a staffer to send back to you intact. You'll get you wallet back but, unfortunately, it will take about twelve years to get through all the bureaucracy.

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 01:44 | 4004779 chindit13
chindit13's picture

Call me a cynic, but I'd be surprised if in an article written by Lisa Mahapatra, Mumbai didn't come out smelling like roses.

Also, you'll know it's really bad in the world when people return the money....but keep the wallet.

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 01:45 | 4004781 U4 eee aaa
U4 eee aaa's picture

A friend of mine who just happens to have a brother as a cop found a wallet with something like $1,500 in it. She gave it to her brother to return on his advice(you'll see why) so he hunted down the guy and told him the wallet was found. The guy claimed he had about $1000 more in the wallet than was found in it so the brother had to tell him he found the wallet and that he was a police officer. The guy changed his story. Apparently, people with large sums of money found in their wallets (usually Asian because they like to carry lots of cash, not trying to be racial here) will often tell police there was more money in the wallet and then file a complaint against the person who turned in the wallet.

maybe that is why some people take the cash and chuck the wallet

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