2 min read

pay what you can

Last night I went on a walk with Drew. As we walked past the back of pizza pizza I could smell the glorious scent and wondered who they would be making pizza for at that time. I wondered if there was someone that worked there we could see through the back door and we explained we were hungry but had no money would they make us a pizza? While this was going on internally I just looked at Drew and said “Isn’t it crazy that there are people in our country that cannot afford to eat?” I would like to think that anyone that I know with much would definitely share as soon as they see this person as another human. That is the key I guess, seeing them as another human. Trying to assume the best of them rather than the worst.

I started to think “why?!” Why can someone who is hungry not get a pizza with dough and other ingredients that they would likely be throwing away? The only answer I could think of would be that other people would exploit the generosity. Is that true? Yes, I am sure some would, so how could we compensate for the few that would exploit? This is why I believe that a solution that could be entertained would be a “pay what you can (pwyc)" model. I know that Panera was testing this a couple years back and had mentioned that the tests were successful. I wonder if these are successful because of the surprise and delight factor but I wonder how it would be used if it was a shop wide normalized process. I can see a lot of things that could go wrong here, where the more familiar it is the less likely people are going to be to overpay for their goods. Would having a high “suggested price” be a good idea? Would it be worth having no suggested price and let customers put their own value on products? I am really curious about all of this and I would love to test it.

I imagine if we saw someone come in, stand in line like the rest of us, order the same food as us that the person behind would think “Today I can afford to pay double or at least more for mine today.”

What would it look like if a city or a province put legislation out that items that are labelled as essential and cost less than 5 dollars to produce could not have enforceable prices. That they were required to be pwyc. I wonder if this would help those in need feel a little more dignity. Services are amazing but they seem quite removed and hidden because services attract the unattractive.

I am not sure how this would work logistically, but I just think that it is a little crazy that we have set a culture where it is better to throw away our food instead of give it to those who may have need.