A bookstore with no cashier desk and no working staff was opened to the public in a busy city square in Nanjing, Jiangsu province last Saturday and actually managed to cover costs with its “pay what you will” policy.
Honesty Bookshop, located on Xinjiekou Street in the city’s Baixia district, is relatively small and consists of four bookshelves holding around 1,500 titles, wokeji.com reports. As it “runs on trust”, no staff members are around to watch customers, who purchase books by dropping money into a lockbox on their own free will.
According to one of the organizers of the experiment, they sold over 300 books on the store’s opening day and the money put into the box was “basically” the right amount.
The news has been greatly welcomed in light of similar experiments in China which saw much less positive results.
In June, a company set up self-checkout markets in Beijing and Hangzhou in an attempt to gauge customers’ honesty. The Hangzhou store alone sold 16,700 yuan in goods on its opening day but only received 13,700 yuan, resulting in 3,000 yuan of losses.
In 2013, we reported that a businessman from Fuzhou opened a restaurant with a “pay if you want” policy in a bid to confront China’s “moral crisis”. The business lost around 10,000 yuan in its first month alone.
By Maggie Wong