Several times a week, I take the backroads to the shopping center or gym and I pass by this lovely little roadside flower stand nestled at the foot of a curving gravel driveway.
This time of year, the buckets are full of dahlias. Gorgeous, juicy blooms in every color you can imagine—ruffled petals bursting with saffron, rose, red, yellow and cream.
Only $5 a bunch, paid by way of a metal toolbox with a slot in it.
That’s right, the honour system.
This little business has worked using this old fashioned, neighbourly method of payment for as long as I’ve known about it, which goes to show that there’s a still place for a basic transactional system based on trust.
I’ve never seen the gardener—the house sits well back from the road, concealed behind trees—even when I’ve pulled over to for a few minutes to linger over my choice. But I still feel better buying my flowers this way, on the honour system, as opposed to from a florist or corner grocery. It turns out, there’s a reason for that.
In an NPR article from The Salt, social psychologist Michael Cunningham says :
When you sell me something I want and trust me to pay you even when you’re not looking, you’ve made my life good in two ways….I get something delicious, and I also get a good feeling about myself. Both of those things make me feel good about the world— that I’m in a good place. And I also see you as a contributor to that good—as somebody I want to reward. It’s a win win.
I think Cunningham is right.
I’m delighted to buy flowers that I know have come straight out of someone’s garden. I feel good supporting this little business and I want the secret gardener—whoever they are—to know I appreciate what they do. I’m also happy they trust me to be honest about it.
I like to think (and hope) that the gardener has a host of regular customers, like me. A devoted following. By the by the end of the day, the flowers are always gone. The buckets are filled, as if by magic, by about 10 the next morning.
More flower cheer.