Does the honesty system still hold true in today’s society, or is it another bastion of the past that has been thrown into the irrelevant basket, along with most of our manners and regard for other people?

Unfortunately, I think the latter is the case, if my recent experience is anything to go by. Standing back from the counter to allow other customers to inspect the merchandise, but still clearly waiting to be served, was my position at the local pie shop. Shoppers to the left and right in deep conversation, and two workers serving filling orders, I waited for my turn. The much anticipated “Who was next?” came from behind the counter. No sooner had I lunged onto the front foot to place my order, than one of the shoppers I had allowed in front of me to inspect the merchandise barged in and proceeded to say “That’s me”.

When the girl asked “What can I get you?” my suggestion from the back – that some manners might be good – was totally ignored. Even a huff and puff from me registered no response from Mrs Barged-in. In fact, the girl who served me seemed annoyed that I was annoyed. No wonder some places have numbered tickets. Mind you, it seems ridiculous taking a ticket when you are the only one in line.

Another interesting predicament occurred on the same shopping trip. Yes, I do lead a James Bond type life don’t I? I purchased one item for $11 from a busy shop (not a major chain) and paid cash, which I rarely do these days. The change I was given was for a $20, but I had paid with a $50 note. I pointed this out and the assistant immediately said: “Yes, you did”, and adjusted the change. She gave me back $10 too much, which I immediately handed back.

I have told several friends and workmates the story since and almost all have said I should have pocketed the extra $10, a Monopoly-bank-error-in-your-favour moment.

Whether it’s my background working in my parents’ servos and cafes, knowing the grief when the till is short … or maybe I am just honest, I don’t know. I did it instinctively.

Have you found yourself in similar situations? And what has been your reaction?

If you have any news or events, let me know at kevin@howdypartnersmedia.