What to do when no one’s watching

Oct 10, 2008 by

When I lived in Hawaii, I loved coming upon different tropical flower and craft stands in the rain forests — all which stood unattended, save for a simple metal box that accepted payment via the honor system.  A few weeks ago, I wandered by a vintage sidewalk sale, whose cashier was a hat box that stated, “Leave a nice money.” These instances make me very happy — knowing that there are others too who believe that there is underlying good in human nature.

From yoel herzberg‘s Flickr photostream, this bookstore in Neve Tzedek in Tel Aviv operates on the same delightful honor system.  A tin can and a door slot are the cashier, while the lady who owns the home and shop stops in to only leave poems and quotes on her door.  In this sense, this is a beautiful “store without a key.”

May this weekend be filled with unexpected surprises about the human spirit!

P.S.  I apologize for the quick postings this week, as I’ve been working on a shoot, but I shall have fun goodies to share next week!

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  1. Grace this is wonderful. In my neighborhood, there is a house that put clay pots on the sidewalk for sales with honest system. It’s nice to wondering around and discovering pleasant moments like this one. It’s pretty chilly here today. A perfect Fall weather. Happy weekend to you.

  2. Wow – that’s a beautiful picture! I don’t think it’s a complete honor system there, look at the cat that stands at guard!

    How have you been? I hope life is well even though this recent market turmoil might affect everyone.

  3. What a sweet story, and a gorgeous photo. I want to visit!

  4. Amy

    What a sweet retreat from all the current chaos… we really needed this beautiful post, Grace! Thank you, dear friend! :~)

  5. Hi Grace,
    thank you for saying hello on my blog.

    Wow your post is so inspirational. I love that, an unattended little selling spot where people can be on an honor system. That’s very poetic for sure. I want to live in a place with people like that :)


  6. What a great idea. This is still the same system that rules among locals in a province in the Philippines called Batanes, the Ivatans (local residents) believe in the same principles. Tourists who visit the island may eat and drink in an eatery and pay what they think is the just amount for their meal. I don’t live in an Island lol! I live in a high rise in Manila and I am thinking this would be a great idea to resell my old fashion Magazines, I will just leave them in the mailroom with a tin can beside it so my neighbors may just grab a magazine an drop there pennies in the can!
    Thank you Grace for putting up this amazing website, it is so inspiring, makes me want to leave the office now and run to the nearest flea market. I will redecorate my flat and hopefully post photos soon! Cheers to all * Neilkriss*

  7. i love that idea. i wish we could find more little shops or spots like that. before we had our own avocado tree we would walk around the block to a home that had a table set up on the edge of their lawn with a basket full of avocados and a large bowl for people to pay. i was so happy to finally meet the woman who did this one morning and have a chat with her. maybe i will give it a go this year.

  8. Grace

    Thank you all for sharing your wonderful stories, which made me very happy :) It’s so wonderful to know that the human spirit and goodwill still exist — there is good in humanity, and with more stories like this, perhaps the good will continue to grow.

    I’m inspired to create my own booth / honor system in my front yard…will keep you updated on how it goes :)

  9. I love this story and that things like it are possible.

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