Zaobao Reporter Tried Using Screenshots to Pay Hawkers & Over 60% of Hawkers Got ‘Cheated’


If you think Dee Kosh‘s the only one doing social experiments in Singapore, think again.

Because Zaobao, Singapore’s Chinese daily, recently conducted a social experiment of their own.

Every time you make a payment via an app, there’ll be a screen showing a “tick” or some sign of payment made as well as other relevant details.

This screen is there to help stall owners easily identify that a payment is made.

But what if, some unscrupulous individuals decided to take advantage of such a system?

That’s what Zaobao tried to find out with their latest video.

Zaobao Reporter Tried Using Screenshots to Pay Hawkers & Over 60% of Hawkers Didn’t Know

On 21 Oct 2020, Zaobao uploaded a social experiment of their own:

Why the Ridout Road Colonial Houses Saga is Actually NOT a Saga:

Do hawkers know if they’re getting cheated by screenshots?

Here’s what they did.

They went to a food centre and indicated that they want to pay with Nets Pay.

Image: Facebook

Then, instead of making a payment, they use a screenshot of a payment that was “collected” on the previous visit.


And It Worked Really Well

In total, the camera person and host tested it with six stalls.

Four out of the six of them let her walk away after glancing at her screenshot.

Image: Facebook

That’s a 66.67% success rate.

Image: Giphy

The two vigilant stall owners who caught her in the act only managed to do so because they were keeping an eye on the device which shows that a payment is captured.

Without confirmation, the stall owners kept the host from leaving.

The four owners who failed the test, however, had different reasons for not keeping an eye on the device.

One said that with the mask, her device can’t perform facial recognition, and it’s a hassle to unlock the phone when things get busy.

Another stall said that they do not understand “a single word” and find the cashless system complicated and hard to navigate.

One simply said he usually serves regular customers and the risk of cheats is relatively low.

Most, however, agree that the cashless system is the way to go (since technology has evolved), while one pointed out that with the Covid-19 pandemic, cashless is actually safer for everyone.


One thing for sure, though, is that we shouldn’t screenshot our way to a free meal because no matter how hard you’re working or struggling, you can be sure that these hardworking hawkers are struggling and working just as hard.

You can view Zaobao’s eye-opening video in full below: