Ian Kemmish

I wonder if any newspaper will be brave enough to try a micropayments system with a "would you like to pay this journalist" box at the bottom of each page?


I still find it hard to believe that this is a viable business model. I feel like people are just too cheap (myself included).

I do like Ian's idea though.

Chris in Baltimore

Poster 1 suggested the idea I was thinking of (and have suggested previously): pay-as-you-wish would be a great way to get people to accept paying for online news by making it a fun and empowering experience. It would also allow editors and managers to see which of their reporters/opinion writers are actually generating valuable content (after controlling for all the obvious factors that would affect payment).


Most restaurants charge less for the same or similar portions during the lunch shifts anyway. If the food is any good, this may be a great loss leader (to sell drinks, etc.) as well as introducing more people to the restaurant for return trips during dinner hours.


I think readers should be able to levy fines on journalists.


This concept gives the diner a sense of empowerment. That is a good thing. The problem I see is that this sign seems misleading. Can you pay what you want for appetizers and desserts too? Probably not.
I applaud anyone with the guts to leave the pricing to customers, but this sign looks like there are strings attached.
I'd rather pay retail than be mislead by a trendy version of bait-and-switch.

I think restaurants should focus on eliminating our tipping culture. I know that the Linkery enjoyed some great press when they took that controversial leap. The next few restaurants to do this will be trend setting and well covered by the press. Caution: Read the article before judging the owner's decision.


This is NPR's business model and it works pretty well, sans the fundraising week aka the week of pleading listeners to contribute. I wonder if paying per instance you get something (paying immediately after lunch) will make it easier to people to cough up the dough rather than once or twice a year reminding them of their consumption throughout the year.

Eileen M. Wyatt

Note that Mattel's experience was that a special-interest group gamed the system. While I think computer-geek Barbie is adorable (and long overdue), she was not the result of a groundswell of interest among little girls.

I'm tempted to go to the Wrigley Mansion for lunch this Saturday just so I can question the staff about the logic of this pay-as-you-like move.


this is a good advertising strategy ,but considering customers nowadays who are always on the lookout for something cheap or the freebies this may not be viable...add: " only on weekdays."..and should be on a first come first serve basis......

mauricia in taiwan


I bet they do just fine. People go to lunch in groups, and there is social pressure to not look cheap. I'm sure there are plenty who overpay as a show of wealth.

Are they located in an area that lower income workers will have trouble getting to in their lunch hour? Or do they have a decor that would make someone in blue collar uniform uncomfortable? That's probably all the safeguard they need.


Perhaps we should set up our Tax system this way so Buffet would pay more since he feels so guilty his assistant pays a higher marginal rate than him;)


@Chris (post 3) -- That's an interesting concept. While anyone who blogs knows that tabloid stories generate the most hits, what kind of material would generate the most cash? Sure, we all love to look at Tiger Woods' stories for free, but would we pay for it? I doubt it. But would we chuck over cash for quality writing? Hmmm.

Chris in Baltimore

@girard31- I bet that right now, with the only metric available being hits, the Tiger Woods story looks more valuable than the in-depth report on financial reform. But people would probably be ashamed of themselves for reading about Woods but proud about getting through the difficult piece, and so if there were a little voluntary donation button at the bottom of each article they'd pay for the latter but not the former, giving editors a useful counterweight to the hit metric. Editors (at the Times at least) already exercise judgement in not just going for the silly hit-generators; this gives them something to back up their intuitions with. (And it would tell them which of their writers can write a comprehensible story on financial reform.)

I bet it would be especially useful in deciding whose "news analysis" and opinion pieces to publish. A lot of people might click on them because the subject matter seems interesting, only to find that the treatment is superficial or glib. Or they might click to find that they agree wholeheartedly with what is written, in which case they might enjoy endorsing the piece with a small payment.



Well, a similar restaurant exists in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. The owners say that they receive very few customers who do not pay at all. Most of them pay a fair price, probably out of social pressure or out of the urge to appear fair.

Laurence Leff

I proposed a more general way that the society can run this way, two types of money--we use the first to reward businesses for satisfying us and to reward government agencies and charities for doing good things of which we approve.

We use the other type to constrain demand, whether it be for the top physicians services, trips on full aircraft or goods such as food, energy and materials that have a high variable cost of production.


Here are links about other businesses who are offering
to work for free or what one can pay:


I recall reading in the Wall Street JOuranl about a consulting firm that told its clients to simply pay them what they think the work they did for them is worth.

Mary Jones

@Thom #6,
This particular pay what you think is fair, is not what you describe as a bait-and-switch.
They don't even offer appetizers or desserts. So you can't get gouged on those items.

This is the link for their website to their lunch menu (and a few more details about the current pricing)



It is noble idea, but it wouldn't last for sure because of the overall moral condition in US


Interesting concept - - If Microsoft were to adopt this scheme, would that mean they pay us for all the time and trouble we spend with their buggy and inefficient "plug-no-play Software?


These people are way behind with the times.....

Check out Lentil As Anything based in Melbourne, Australia http://www.lentilasanything.com/
Their philosophy goes way beyond simply eating.


I should also point out that, yes, my wife and I both pay when we eat there