Sunday, July 11, 2010


Of the readers who responded to an unscientific poll on my column's blog, 46 percent said that they would pay the full-menu price for items offered at the St. Louis Bread Co. in Clayton, Mo., which allows customers to donate whatever they can and believe is appropriate for the food they purchase. Another 46 percent said that they would pay more than the menu price to support the nonprofit foundation that runs the store. Only 2 percent said that they would pay as little as possible in an effort to get a good deal.

"There doesn't seem to be an option for `I'd pay what I thought the product was worth, which might be more or less than the menu price, depending on how good the bread is and how reasonable the menu prices are,'" writes Shmuel Ross of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Another reader seems to concur: "I'd pay what I felt the item was worth, but no more than the menu price."

Finally, a reader sees the whole experiment as doomed.

"This is why the communist states failed," that reader writes. "Having this method of payment makes one reluctant to pay at all. The true believers felt that they were getting the short end of the stick by paying for those who didn't pay."

Check out other opinions here, or post your own by clicking on "Comments" or "Post a comment" below.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business (Smith Kerr, 2006), is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to or to "The Right Thing," New York Times Syndicate, 630 Eighth Ave., 5th floor, New York, N.Y. 10018.

c.2010 The New York Times Syndicate (Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate)

1 comment:

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