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Immortal Alps look down --
Whose bonnets touch the firmament --
Whose sandals touch the town --

Meek at whose everlasting feet
A myriad daisy play --
Which, Sir, are you and which am I
Upon an August day?

Emily Dickinson
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AM/PM Session - 12 June 2018 - Pay as you want

NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,057 Teacher
We read an article explaining how companies can still make money allowing customers to 'pay as they want':


An example: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-bristol-29540814

Vocabulary Top 5:

altruistic - feelings and behavior that show a desire to help other people and a lack of selfishness

smashed avocado - a piece of avocado broken into pieces (mashed) and served on top of toast

cater to - to provide what is wanted or needed by (someone or something)

undercut - to offer to sell things or work for a lower cost than (another person or company)

anchor - to connect (something) to a solid base : to hold (something) firmly in place

Have you ever seen a business where you can pay what you want?
If you opened a business, would you use this technique?


  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 1,929 ✭✭✭✭✭
    While thinking of the ' pay as you want ' concept, it occurred to me of the ' honesty boxes ', which are equally based on a honour system.

    It's a kind of commercial transaction in which all is implicit: the offerer/seller put a product into the unguarded boxes, at anyone's disposal to take/eat as welcome unhoped provisions.

    The users, needless to say, quite reasonably too, are supposed to lay down some money for such convenient service.

    The honesty boxes, I'm told, are largely used in the countryside: in particular are rather common to find in the villages in the rural areas of England.

    The local farmers or inhabitants put some products into these boxes, with the reasonable hope to raise some money, whose amount is left to the goodwill of the passersby who like to take advantage of such service.

    In this case though, either the seller or the goodhearted buyers never come face to face: the business is unmanned; the transaction is settled as it were a vendor machine's without a lock.

    Even more so, then, it's just buyers' honesty which plays a crucial role to make the thing work effectively.

    Maybe, this trade based on trust is more effective when operated in rural realities or, alternatively, among little local communities.

    When taking a trip in the countryside, people are supposed to get more relaxed; the woods, the fresh air, the silence, the stunning landscape and the slowed pace, all concur to regenerate you.

    Your cheating attitude, which is characteristic of people daily involved in the stressing rat race, loosens its grip on you, letting you reconciliate with the humankind.

    In local communities, on the other hand, you feel constantly under the public eye. You wouldn't ever dare taking the content of the honesty box without paying for it.

    The embarrassment of being caught in the act, would prove unbearable even to the most shameless guys.

    Henceforth you would be held a thief, frowned upon by the other villagers, eventually even ostracized from your homeplace.

    You don't want to run such a risk: on the contrary, I suppose, these concerns might set off kind of a honour's race to be the most lavish, zealous at leaving a larger amount of money: it would end up an escalation of good standards.

    In the case of towns and cities, though, I'm afraid the honesty boxes wouldn't stand any chances of success, most probably the opposite way round.

    There might be an high possibility the boxes themselves would disappear along with their content straightaway.

    The problem here is maybe that the large majority of customers, as in the restaurants adopting the ' pay as you want ' pricing, are anonymous people, except for the few known regulars.

    Anonymity works as a wind's gust which sweeps level your footmarks stamped on the sand.

    The more unlikely you get to be tracked, the more intimately lured you feel, to give enough rope to take advantage of any ordinary life's opportunities, even though it appears to be a slap in the face to your keeping up correct moral appearances.

    In a society where everything is strictly ruled, where you can't but comply to any laws, where every product/service appear to be linked to a perceived oversize bill, the mere idea of having something substantial for free is too appealing to resist.

    This idea is likely to turn the most respected business man into a mischievous sneaky guy:

    ' who knows.. maybe the restaurateur won't spot me while I'm paying less than the suggested price for the meal ... '.

    Another version of the ' pay as you wish ' restaurants, are the ones whose motto is ' all you can eat ', where, for a fixed price, you are sort of ' challenged ' to cram your stomach.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see shirts' buttons spring off the swollen, almost bursting with food bellies of the greedy wolves, the people taking on the challenge at the tables.


    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
  • NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,057 Teacher
    I think this honesty box is probably closer to what @Shiny03 was describing in the countryside too - although maybe the difference is whether there is a price displayed or not?

    It does depend a lot on the honesty of the person taking the goods though - and I agree @filauzio , I don't think it would work in big cities! I think at the end of the day, all the products would be gone... and probably the box with any money that was left, too.

    I think the 'all you can eat' concept is similar in the way they expect to profit from it - they charge the same price for everyone, but I think they are counting on some people not eating so much to make up for the ones who cram as much food as possible in. I have seen some of these places have time limits though, to prevent you having lunch and dinner for the price of one meal!
  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 1,929 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Yes, agree: I think in the case of the honesty boxes I mentioned, they didn't bear any suggested price displayed.

    I'm afraid in many cases, the hope that the ' all you can eat ' restaurants can profit, would end up in vain, @NatashaT, though.

    I suppose some people would struggle to fill their pockets with food too, in order not to miss the rare opportunity.

    Just like I used to do when serving during the mandatory year of draft.

    At breakfast, we were expected to help ourselves, as though it was kind of a buffet: we served ourselves a cup of milk/tea to go with one/two little packets of biscuits, butter and jam.

    However, we invariably crammed our pockets with plenty of such little packets... we probably forsaw and feared a lack of sugar during the imminent march. :D
    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
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