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Group says it's been planting those 'Open Me' money boxes around the world as part of a social experiment

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A group that says it's based in Rome says it has been placing small metal boxes with currency notes inside in cities around the world to see what people would do with money they didn't expect to get.

In a reply to our story about the boxes found in Boston and Cambridge, which brought the two cities' bomb squads to at least three locations yesterday, somebody who says they're part of the effort writes:

Sorry for causing all the trouble, we did not mean to! We are doing a social experiment all around the globe in which we are giving away money in these boxes. The goal of it is to find out what people do with money they would not have had. We are more than happy that people already donated the money to charity.

Amy Brown, who found one of the 3x5 boxes with a globe logo on a bench near Harvard Square on Friday, said she and her boyfriend planned to use the $50 bill she found to buy some margaritas and street corn at their favorite taqueria.

An Instagram page has photos of the boxes in Cologne, Milan, Rome and Auckland and Wellington, NZ, and says more will be revealed on Sept. 9.

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Comments

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How do the people conducting the experiment know what the people finding the money do with it? Are the finders requested to report it on a website or something? As someone who worked in market research for years, I doubt this experiment will yield very effective data.

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The goal of it is to find out what people do with money they would not have had.

Are the bills microchipped? How exactly do they track what people do with the found money? Even if the finder "did the right thing" by turning it into the local police, how is that tracked, especially if the person goes home to another town and turns it into the police department there? How do they know if a finder bought some margaritas and street corn, donated to charity, deposited it in the bank etc.?

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16

one of the articles I read says there is a note in the box - it's not just cash...

Apparently people will call the police and have it detonated.

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24

I highly doubt the average citizen can command a police officer to detonate a package per their whim.

If it has an instagram page it's probably not bona fide. Big publicity skews research results. My bet is this is yet another stealth marketing effort, or was until it soured. Or, to risk sounding even more cynical, it may just be cheap social media clickbait along the lines of innumerable kiss tests and similar contrived nonsense.

It's amazing that every child today can be running their own online PR campaign, but people still believe BS that something isn't a publicity stunt.

...On random acts of kindness.

Response: Paranoia and panic.

I'd say the US failed.

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17

I wouldn't be surprised if they did this expecting the police to be called, like before.

The group behind the lite brites knew for hours that the police in multiple cities were investigating and treating (until proven otherwise) that it might be a bomb and let it play for the free publicity. They tried to blame the police afterward and the hipsters joined in (because only losers didn't watch the cartoon network man) but they allowed it to grow and get worse. I hope these guys didn't. Any news on how they were treated in other countries - where bombings take place in public areas especially?

turned up some unexpected results, eh?

the cost of maintaining bomb squads, SWAT teams,and other militarizations of police somehow. What do you want them to do, only blow up bombs? Weirdos.

So who's funding this?