Belif, a cosmetic company made an experiment about honesty. They left 100 paper bags in subways containing wrapped gifts and GPS. And of course, they made sure that the subway trains have CCTVs (not all subway trains in Seoul have CCTVs). So what happened?
87 of the bags were returned either to their places or to the Lost & Found division of the Seoul Metro.
I’ve been living in Seoul for 11 years and I can say that this is a place where giving back found things is not rewarded ~ because it is not a rarity. It is natural for people to not keep what isn’t theirs.
In restaurants, people will leave their phones on the table and their purses on the chair when they go to the restroom. There is no fear of having their valuables taken from them.
At my son’s favorite waffle kiosk near his school, the tray containing the day’s sales is right in front of the store. Customers could get their own change when they don’t pay the exact amount. The seller can concentrate on making waffles without removing his vinyl gloves.
Almost every friend has an anecdote of how they had their lost things returned to them. Someone I know forgot his iPad at a sauna place and when he returned hours later, it was displayed at the counter with a sign that it was left there.
Another friend forgot her wallet on a bench at a subway station. When she came back after 30 minutes, it was still there.
I don’t care here that my bag is wide open. And most of the women here do the same.
Of course there are dishonest Seoulites, but I believe they are far outnumbered by the honest ones. 😀