Monday, June 11, 2018

An Honesty Bar - Here?

Yesterday afternoon was the monthly South Bay New Orleans Jazz Club do.  We went earlier than we usually do because I was going to be The Hot Dog Lady's assistant.  The club refreshments include them along with bakery goods ($1 a slice) and hot coffee $1 a cup)  It should be noted that all profits go to the club's coffers.

What doesn't go to the club is the Knights of Columbus bar take.  Except … the bar was closed.  Puzzling … the club president told me that the bartender was coming, just not now.  He would be there around 3:00 or so.  He was attending a family event.

"Meanwhile," said the Prez, "we'll be on the honor system.  Richie, I know you usually get a pitcher of beer, so go ahead and then just pay him when he shows up."  Richie demurred that the taps were faulty and belched gouts of beer and air accompanied by what would be very rude noises in a human.

Instead they settled on Budweiser in the bottle, empties to be carefully saved as an informal scoreboard and then handed over to the bartender along with the money and a tip.

This news - the help yourself bar - spread rapidly and several people did.  Since none of us had ever worked that bar, we had a merry time rummaging through the refrigerators.  "Who wanted a Coke?  Diet or not?"  I didn't get to see any more of the hilarity because I had to go back to the hot dog stand.  It was doing a good business.   As I rose from my barstool, I glanced at my watch and announced, "It's 3:15 and he's going to be here at 3:30 so you've got 15 minutes to empty the bar!"  I heard horrified gasps at the very idea and only a giggle or two from a couple of musicians who clearly were considering it.  They eyed the bar with a certain … predatory look.

I was surprised to see so many people reluctant to employ what seemed to be a very good system - keep the evidence and pay up.

I also have to report that when it was announced that the bartender was in, there was a veritable stampede to the bar!

I hadn't thought of an honesty bar since the last English manor house mystery, where guests gathered and drank from a measured bottle.  So I looked up honesty things and here are some of them.

Grocery self-checks.  It's so easy to slip in a small container of an exotic (and costly) spice or four bananas when it's three for a dollar (or whatever bananas go for) and so forth.

Loose goods such as dried mangos, apricots, peanuts where the buyer puts them in a plastic sack and labels it with the number item it is in the store records.

Roadside seasonal stands of fruits (cherries and strawberries come to mind) or vegetables and there is a jar for the money and the farmer is off somewhere else.

Prisons where trusted inmates are allowed into the fields on work jobs.

Education - that you won't page peek at another's work and the teacher leaves for lunch or a quick smoke break.

All the things you are morally required to be honest about.  Who knew?

No comments: