06 October 2007

Social Engineering

When I was in Taiwan I was witness to one of the most impressive pieces of social engineering I have ever seen. The Chinese are renown for two things (amongst others) which are a penchant for gambling and a dislike for paper work and government taxes. So I was surprised in Taiwan to discover shop attendants almost forcing me to take the cash register receipt. Even in Australia, if I say bought bottle of water from a food place, they would not bother giving me a receipt. When I returned to my hostel, I asked about this unexpected behavior. It turned out, that the government had a problem. Small businesses would not record their cash flow. surprise! surprise! But they had very cleverly solved the problem. They issued government supplied cash registers. Every receipt is a lotter ticket in a national lottery. Once a month the prizes are drawn and the wining numbers published in a national news paper. As a foreigner I could not win a prize, so just before I left I gave my receipts to some locals I knew who could. I was mightly impressed and I can say that apart from the night food markets, I never ever made a purchase without getting a receipt.

"IMG_3600" by Doug Nienhuis [?]

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