The Free Money Experiment: Most People Decline Free Money!

Psst, wanna free £5 notes? That's the experiment that Tim Moss of loan price comparison website moneysupermarket.com ran in England one day. Surprisingly, he found that most people actually couldn't be bothered to claim free money!

Representatives from price comparison website, www.moneysupermarket.com wandered the streets this morning wearing sandwich boards offering a free £5 note to anyone who asked. Despite encountering over 1800 people, only 28 passers by bothered to take advantage of the offer.

The experiment also found a stark difference in the attitudes of men and women. On the streets of London and Manchester, all but 7 of the people who claimed the free cash were men and the research backed this up further. In a poll of 2000 people almost two thirds of women (64 per cent) said they would not claim the free fiver, compared to 41 per cent of money-shy men.

Additionally, the experiment found that Londoners were more reserved than their Manchester counterparts. Whilst just 1.2 per cent of people took advantage of the offer in London, this figure increased to 3.1 per cent on the streets of Manchester.

The research also found that the older the person, the less likely they would be to act on the free offer. Whilst some two thirds of under-twenties say they would claim the free cash, this steadily drops the older we get, declining to only a third (35 per cent) of over 70s who claim they would ask for a free fiver.

Link - via Arbroath


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It's the "too good to be true/nothing in life is free" pessimism/realism that keeps people away. They expect a 5-10 minute sales pitch with it, or realize it's a part of some social experiment or prank/reality show/website.

That plus the guy isn't a hot chick.
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This experiment is BADLY flawed and proves nothing.

Most people aren't going to 'claim their free money' for the same reason very few people click those "MILLIONTH VISITOR! CLICK HERE TO CLAIM YOUR FREE IPOD/XBOX/HDTV" pop-ups on the net.

Put simply, most people are going to assume that this 'free money offer' is just some form of marketing.

Most people who read the sign probably assumed they'd ask for their free money...then get a fifteen minute sales pitch and a 'five pounds off' voucher for some local business.

As for the people who DID ask for their money and actually expected to get real money... Those people are more than likely the same ones that send their life savings to that poor Nigerian businessman who needs help getting a hundred billion dollars out of the country
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if you wnat to actually do this experiment properly then you should try the less affluent areas of society, not the booming cities where a fiver means very little to most

instead of manchester try smaller towns and cities like huddersfield
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I wouldn't have taken the money, either. I probably wouldn't have had time to waste to find out the details. I would have assumed that there was a lot more to it, fine print, if you will. Like that the five dollar was free if you bought something, or subscribed to something, or did something. People don't generally hand out free money for nothing. I would have automatically assumed that it was a ploy to get my attention so that I would stop and entertain whatever sales pitch they were making, or be tricked into something they thought I wouldn't notice (like that the form I had to fill out to get the money really wanted me to sign up to be solicited to by tons of salespeople). So the skeptic in me would have definitely cost me five on that one.

The good news in this may be that people are being more cautious to guard themselves against scams. It's harder to lure people with the promise of free cash. People are wary of strangers with too good to be true offers.
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with all the nut-jobs and their signs about the coming apocalypse out there - not to mention the clothing store/restaurant advertisements that are in this same vein i doubt i would have read his sign. more likely seen he was wearing a hand lettered sign and steered clear. i really don't want to be roped in to somebody telling me about how jesus is an alien and controlled by the kgb, etc. etc.
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