Best Place to Lose Your Wallet

Accidents happen, but knowing our chances of seeing missing items returned has always been useful. Readers Digest magazine conducted a global experiment of sorts to investigate what would happen to wallets if lost in different areas of the globe.  What did they do? Readers Digest editors “accidentally” dropped over 1100 wallets filled with approximately 50$ in local currency, along with contact numbers and family pictures in big cities and small towns around the U.S, in Asia, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Latin America. The wallets were left in telephone booths, in front of office buildings, car parks, restaurants, and even houses of worship.  Malaysia a 20 yr old fruit seller in Kajang, had the wallet returned to the owner. Chiang Mai, Thailand a mother with two children in tow hastily stuffed the wallet into her baggy pants. London, UK at the entrance to Fulham Palace, once the residence of the Bishops of London, a woman had her son jump out of the car and snatch the wallet off the street.  Few wallets dropped in Italy were returned, in Lausanne, Switzerland only two wallets were returned (one by an Albanian restaurant owner).  In the Hague, of the wallets that were never seen again, one had been dropped before the international court of justice. In Norway and Denmark every single wallet was returned. The best place to lose your wallet in the U.S. was Seattle, Washington with a return rate totaling 9 out of 10. In Canada, Toronto turned out to be the least honest location in the survey.   Reader’s Digest described their study as a real-life test of integrity, rather than a rigorous scientific study.  They observed that often people who looked like they could use the money felt compelled to return it, while affluent people did not.

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