Friday, May 14, 2010



HONOR SYSTEM


There's a local chain of discount stores in the northwest called Bi-Mart, where for $5.00 you can buy yourself a family membership. For life. Course you don't really need to show your card to get in through the gate, as the people that operate it know everyone that's a regular. Like me.

"Buzz" goes the button as soon as they see my face. Pushing the red half gate to the side I cross through to an alternate universe. The music, the items, the people that work there, the customers even, are from another era.

I love it.

When you are ready to tackle your gardening needs, Bi-Mart is the place to go. They have everything. Cheap. And what I love best is all the kinds of soil, mulch and manure are stacked on pallets in the parking lot, with an empty sample bag tacked up on the wall above the doors. Crudely made signs tell the cashiers the product code of each bag in big bold numbers so they can quickly glance and enter them into their cash registers.

"I'll take two bags of Steer Plus," I say.

"Just two?" the woman with hair from the 60's verifies.

"Yep, two will do it," I say, "didn't have quite enough as it turns out, need two more bags."

She rings me up, $2.19 times two, adds up everything else in my basket: Kleenex, toothpaste, sponges, laundry soap, a new nozzle for the hose, and prints me out my receipt.

That little piece of paper that nobody ever looks at again is all that keeps me from robbing Bi-Mart blind. From that point you go to your car, drive it around to the pallet of choice and take as many bags as you say you paid for.

Honor system.

Not enough has been made of a system that relies on honor.





14 comments:

jess said...

What a lovely snapshot. Makes me wish I had some gardening to do. ;)

Elizabeth said...

I didn't know where you were leading me, but I was into it and so pleasantly surprised at the end! Yes, I'll say to this, Yes.

Ask Me Anything said...

NNHBM of the honor system.

kario said...

Love Bi-Mart! I can still smell the concrete floors and hear that buzz as the gate opens to let you in, oh honored customer! Not many of 'em left these days.

Thanks for the walk down memory lane! (BTW, does Rojo like Bi-Mart, too?)

Wanda said...

amen

fullsoulahead.com said...

Very cool a place like that exists.

Deb Shucka said...

You know, I've never been in one. I'll be remedying that soon. I love this story.

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

I'm so going to miss Bi-Mart when I move. *sigh*

blackknightsbrood said...

Too cool. I love the BiMarts of our world. We seek them out and support them every chance we get.

deb said...

we don't have those stores here,
but we use honour anywhere.

courtneywrites said...

I really love this post.

drama mama said...

Shoot. All I have is Target.

Amber said...

Great last line. It really is what we as a country could stand to remember, imho.

:)

Me said...

Hear hear!