Innovation That Matters

In China, students get half price meals if they say 'please'

Food & Drink

Chinese students receive a 50 percent discount on their meal, in return for saying their pleases and thank-yous.

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Money can’t buy manners, but Anhui Normal University in China is betting that a generous discount might. Students at the university in the city of Wuhu are being offered half price meals at the canteen in exchange for treating the staff with respect and politeness. In return for saying their pleases and thank-yous, students receive a 50 percent discount on their meal, reducing the price from CNY six — USD 1 — to three.

The scheme is part of a campus-wide effort to improve etiquette at the university, but has attracted criticism from commentators, who think politeness should be an expected standard, not something to be rewarded. We have seen university students rewarded in this way before, for good behavior such as not checking their phones during lectures or taking 10,000 steps. What other positive actions could be encouraged like this?



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