Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

One Sweet Day

Something in the Adirondacks blew me away while we were there.

No, it wasn't the gorgeous blue sky peppered with cotton balls for clouds...

Can you believe that it snowed the weekend before we got here? Unbelievable!

Nor was it the simple joy of walking through the forest on a summer day and practically drowning in all things bright and beautiful...

Stopping to smell the ... well, log.

Soft afternoon sunbeams creating light and shadows on maple leaves

Delicate apple blossoms coming out to say hello.

Nope, it wasn't the leisurely drive through mountain roads, past small villages and towns, along rushing rivers and streams...

Finally stopping to park. If only all parking lots could be like this.

Nor was it the beautiful lodge at South Meadow Farm that greeted us at the end of the lane...

Wouldn't you love to stay here? I would!

The source of inspiration for this entry was inside this non-descript little wooden hut, just quietly sitting there in the middle of the woods. It reminded me of the house of the 3 bears, the one that Goldilocks let herself into one fine day when the bears were out.

Should we go in?

Just like the house of the 3 bears, the hut was stocked with yummy deals (no nice chairs or comfy beds in here though!) In this case, it was gallons and gallons of pure Adirondack maple syrup, some of the best out there.

Sugarworks galore!

Just like the house of the 3 bears, there was no one around! This little store ran totally on an "honest system". You pick what you want, record your purchase in the log and make payment via cash, cheque or credit card (and help yourself to some change if you need to!)

We were quite taken by the trust that this farm owner had for visitors. Total strangers from all over the world who came across this quiet corner in the woods. The products were there for anyone to help themselves to. There were hundreds of dollars in cash lying around on the desk. There was a chance that visitors could leave a bad cheque, or fake their credit card details on the charge slip, or leave you a tenner or twenty short. Or simply just walk out with an armful of free stuff. But we were quite quite sure that no one did that, and were left wondering what made the "honest system" a success here, when in other places, it would be take a giant leap of human faith to trust fellow human beings to do the right thing.

Is it because you know that you're being trusted and thus would feel like a guilty immoral scumbag for taking more than you paid for? Or is it the fear of Big Brother watching in the form of security cameras that scares you? We put it down to the very simple explanation - that you want to live up to the trust that a complete stranger puts in you. And of course, that you know deep deep deep down in your heart that it's wrong to steal.

A system that runs on good ol' values - trust, honour and honesty.

The products that were up for offer were totally tantalising. Now, tell me that you wouldn't be tempted to get something for youself...

Shiny bottles of sweet, pure, natural maple syrup.

Jars of golden honey that Winnie the Pooh would die for (isn't Squeak Creek such a cute name?!)

Golden honey straws, fat with honey.

Freshly made pancake mix from local mills in tasty wholesome natural flavours.

Bottles of fruity jams and vegetable preserves chockful of natural goodness.

Red and green jelly that catches the sunlight! How pretty!

Chinese aren't the only ones who do strange things to eggs, like pickle them in horse piss to get black century eggs.

My folks totted up their purchases - syrup for the neightbours, candy for the office mates and relatives, and a little something for ourselves - left our cash in the basket and purchase details on the notepad, and off we went...

Doing the math with the little calculator from the self service station

My favourite lefties - Dad and Dan (sleeping in the car)

...while tucking into some sugary goodies from the store!

The best maple sugar candies I've ever tasted.
Golden, sparkley (really, no kidding), fragrant and totally melt-in-your-mouth. Mmmmm.

We aren't sure this 'honest system' would work back home. Sure, there are some small-scale ones going on in the office (help yourself to a packet drink and leave 60 cents in the box.) But would it work for an entire store? In a quiet location? Would people think it's stupid not to take advantage of a free-for-all situation? Or sneak in an extra honey stick or two into their purchase (it's only 20 cents each after all.) Would they help themselves when no one's watching? Like how Goldilocks sat on all the chairs, sampled all the bowls of porridge and messed up all the beds?

Do you think it would work? Share your thoughts!


olimomok said...

Can't believe there was 'hundreds of dollars' just lying around! I love the idea and those candies seriously look yum, but not sure if it'd really work anywhere else! You just need ONE bad apple to ruin things.

Yi Lin said...

Yeah, sad to say, I can just imagine Singaporeans saying "Wah lau, free ah. Stupid not to take!" Ironic how I would consider trying this if I ran a shop outside of home, but can't believe that my own people would step up to the trust.

The maple candies were really good. Not too sweet - didn't make my teeth fall out!

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