Heard about these pay-what-you-want restaurants? No prices, just pay what you think you should. It’s a fascinating experiment in psychology. According to the AP report about an outlet of the Panera Bread Co. restaurant operating under this model:

The pilot restaurant is run by a nonprofit foundation. If it can sustain itself financially, Panera will expand the model around the country within months. It all depends on whether customers will abide by the motto that hangs above the deli counter: “Take what you need, leave your fair share.”

How much would you pay in a place like this? My inclination would be to pay too much, not only because I tend to be slightly obsessive about fairness in situations like this, but also because I would feel pressured (by myself) to pay extra to make up for the people who didn’t pay their fair share. The logic would be that I wouldn’t want the idealists behind the pay-what-you-want scheme to be disappointed by the failure of humanity to be just.
On second thought, I wouldn’t go to this restaurant because of the new set up. Too much of a head game. I would pay too much, for the reason I just mentioned, but would then spend a postprandial hour or two afterward hating myself for being a chump.

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