Talk Talk, a British phone and broadband provider, has hired a team of 20 ex-pickpockets to put money into Londoners pockets on the sly. They call it Put-Pocketing, the act of secretly putting money into someone’s pocket without them noticing.
The video below illustrates the game. On the tube or on the street, money – ranging from a £5 to a £20 note – is placed in the pocket with an attached note from the project sponsors, TalkTalk.
Former pickpocket and now “Head of Put-Pocketing”, Chris Fitch, said: “It feels good to give something back for a change – and Britons certainly need it in the current economic climate. Every time I put money back in someones pocket I feel less guilty about the fact I spent many years taking it out. Put-Pocketing is just as much of a challenge, and requires all the same stealth and skills.”
Mark Schmid of TalkTalk said “with so many scams out there, Britons have become very sceptical of companies giving money away so we have turned to Put-Pocketing to give something back. Whilst unconventional, we dont think anyone is going to mind finding a crisp £20 in their pocket courtesy of the activity.”
Put-Pockets are given a specific ID to show to public if caught in the act, and have plain-clothed minders who will intervene to calm and explain the situation if spotted. In addition, the Metropolitan police have been briefed on the activity so Put-Pockets aren’t arrested. However, to date, no-one has been caught red-handed.
The Put-Pocketing initiative has been piloted in London since July 1st, and will continue until the end of August before being rolled out nationwide to major UK cities. (Talk Talk blog)