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Cashier-less Jozi shop relies on people’s honesty

Honest Box store


In our
modern society it’s becoming increasingly harder to trust others, especially
considering the high crime rate in South Africa.

Who, then,
would allow perfect strangers to manage your income?

Honesty Box
Retail in Melville, Johannesburg, is doing just that. This tiny food shop is an
experiment in integrity.

This pop-up
stall in Melville’s 27 Boxes shopping centre sells fruit and veg as well as
other food items – but there’s no cashier or staff on the premises.

Siggi
Nonhono (32), manager of The Munching Mongoose, an online food-delivery company
that’s behind this quirky little shop, tells YOU they decided to open the
pop-up because of their trust in South Africans’ inherent honesty. The result
is this social experiment in ubuntu.

“We dreamt
of a South Africa where you can walk down the street and come across a bucket
with avos for sale. Next to the avos would be a small honesty box where you’d
deposit your money, then take your avo – without anyone having to man the
stand,” he explains.

“This type
of thing is a reality overseas, so why can’t we do it too?”

Honesty
Box, which opened early in May, displays the price of each item next to it.
Shoppers pay for what they take by putting cash in an honesty envelope, or by
using SnapScan. It’s as simple as that.

Though the
pop-up hasn’t exactly been swamped with shoppers, there were a few regular
customers who’d come back with friends.

Did they
never fear being robbed?

“Not
really,” Siggi says. “I must admit the centre is quiet – but mostly we believe
the average South African to be honest and sincere.”

There was
one customer who took a jar of jam that cost R80 and only paid R10 for it. “But
we want to believe they paid with what they had rather than simply stealing
it,” Siggi says.

Initially
the shop was only going to be open during May but thanks to its success its
management decided to keep it operational until the end of June.

Honest Box store

Siggi hopes
the experiment will have a snowball effect in SA. As the shop’s motto says, its
owners are “faceless but not faithless”.

Pictures: Supplied



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