24 of 30 Manilans returned ‘lost’ cell phones–global survey
MANILA, Philippines — Manilans are in a league with New Yorkers and Mumbai residents when it comes to looking for the rightful owner of a cellular phone found lying unattended in a busy public place.
This was the finding of the recent Readers’ Digest Global Courtesy Test — the second in as many years — about which the widely read publication was quick to describe as “informal” and “not scientific.”
In this year’s test, researches intentionally left 30 brand new, mid-priced cell phones with available credits or “load” in public areas like restaurants and commuter trains in 32 cities around the world.
The researchers then called up the “lost” phone to see whether finders would pick up and agree to return it; find the owner later by trying the preset numbers on the phone; or keep the gadget for themselves.
In Manila, Readers’ Digest researchers recovered 24 of the 30 cell phones, compared with 29 recoveries in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and 13 each in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which tied at 31st rank.
“What we found out surprised and intrigued us,” said Conrad Kiechel, RD’s Editorial Director. “Despite the temptation that people must have felt to keep the phones, and the fact that the test imposed on everyone’s time, the average return rate was a remarkable 68 percent, or about two thirds of the 30 phones we dropped in each city.”
Besting 31 other cities was the smallest of all test locations, Ljubljana with a population of some 267,000.
Still, honest people in metropolises like Toronto,Canada (28 returned), Seoul, South Korea (27 recovered), and Stockholm,Sweden (26 given back) took time from their busy days to “do the right thing.”
According to Readers’ Digest, age did not matter when it came to honesty even if, in many countries, people believed younger people would behave worse than their elders.
Still, many of those who returned were adults accompanied by children, who were keen on making a good example when confronted with such a dilemma.
Also, the study found that “women were slightly more likely to return phones than were men.”
Further, the researches found that all over the world, the most common reason people gave for returning a phone was that they too had once lost an item of value and didn’t want others to suffer as they had.