#68 The Honor System

I grew up riding shotgun a lot.

My dad was a teacher so summers were spent fiddling with the radio dial as we dropped my mom off to work, took my sister to swimming lessons, and waited in bank lineups.

Since bank machines weren’t invented yet those lineups were long and slow ordeals — filling out wispy-thin slips of paper, winding through velvet ropes, inch by inch, minute by minute. That might be why I could probably give a police sketch artist a vivid description of what a bank inside looks like – down to the sharp straight-cornered counters, giant unhinged vault door behind the tellers with deadbolts the side of shaving cream cans, and paper box of foil-wrapped mint chocolates on the counter with a change box for a veteran’s donation.

I don’t remember wondering how the veterans got into the mint chocolate business but I was curious why their little chocolates sat out in the open where anybody could grab them. I mean, you just took some chocolate and dropped a quarter in the paper box and that was that.

Little did I realize then that The Honor System really is great for at least three big reasons:

1. Pennies from heaven. Bars on windows, vending machine glass, and locked store shelves cost cash. Just imagine a world where we didn’t need systems in place to check for trust – no jail bars on pharmacy windows, security cameras outside corner stores, or endless steams of receipt tape. The Honor System skips the locks in favor of trust … and we all save, including our pal The Environment.

2. Hit the fast lane. Since The Honor System relies on trust on both sides it moves us a lot faster than our clogged-up cattle pen security checks, body scans, and baggage inspections.

3. Embracing our humanity. Sure, there are some bad eggs out there, but most people won’t snag a big bag of cashews from the bulk bin without paying. So The Honor System lets us display our honor and lets our moral compasses guide us without all the red and green lights.

So let’s hear it today for The Honor System. Let’s hear it for “Pay what you can” night at the Comedy Club, $2 Friday Jeans Day buckets at the office, wooden shelves of peaches on the side of the country road…. and little boxes of mint chocolates everywhere.

Hey, no offense Buddy, Metric, or Solar.

But The Honor System’s got you beat.


Photos from: here, here, and here

26 thoughts on “#68 The Honor System

  1. )*( A flower booth on a farm, where beautiful fresh cut bouquets are available, spring through fall. We’ve been told by the owners, they were able to put their kids through college on the honor system manned flower booth… Awesome~.~

    1. Where was it? I saw one of those last year in a public park in Zurich and it blew my mind! You could cut your own flowers with the pruning shears left in the booth. There was a price list with prices for each flower, and you put money in a box after making your bouquet.

  2. You had me, right until you said that the honor system is better than the buddy system! I’m a camp counselor so, “Take a buddy” is one of my most oft spoken sentences! I love the buddy system!! It rocks. All of a sudden just because you have another kid with you you can venture so much further! But I do agree, the honor system is right up there with the buddy system in awesome!!!

  3. My mom gets honour system eggs from a nearby farm. You just put your $1.50 in the bucket, and take your dozen and a half eggs. Even better if you bring them back your old egg cartons. I don’t even tell mom how much the free range eggs cost me at the grocery store.

  4. I wish I had faith in humanity … but after seeing what happened on Black Friday and when the new Jordans came out, I grow sadder for this generation. The Honor System does rule, though.

    1. In Happiness-One Day at a Time, I just read, Jan.17th.
      “Our preoccupations should lead us to action.”- Karen Horney
      By contributing to make this world better, we at least take a step in the right direction; are one step closer to the ‘what we wish to see’ and our actions have a powerful effect on a better world today and tomorrow.”
      Similar to Ghandi’s quote: “Be the changes you want to see.” Keep faith.
      “And the world, will be a better place….”and the world will be a better place…”
      (Man, can’t seem to get out of here without a song! LOL:)

  5. Wonderful organic produce at the ‘honor system’ vegetable stand down the road. Everything is conveniently bagged in $1 and $2 quantities.

  6. An outdoor theatre, with plays year-round has surprise days set aside for this each season and the money is donated to charity. It’s reported more money is made than an ordinary ticket fee, same number of people show!

  7. I live in Iowa.
    Along our roads it is often corn ,tomatoes,
    and zuchinni. Sometimes the zuchinni is
    actually free, there is so much of it.
    What a simpler society with the honor system.

    1. WOW! FREE Zuchini! I have a wonderful recipe for a sweet chutney which is delicious on omellettes smokie/hot dogs, and well, anything you like a sweet chutney/relish over! Will trade recipe for zuchini;) kidding… if you want, you can have the recipe for FREE!

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