No staff. No security. This shop turns a profit with an honesty box


The farm stall is open, but no one is home. A first-time visitor walks in and glances around, feeling a little awkward. Deciding that the staff on duty must be out for a breath of air, he takes his time choosing from the shop’s enticing fresh produce before resting an elbow on the front counter. Puzzled by the slow service, he notices an ice-cream tub staring up at him, requesting payment for his goods and wishing him good day. A childish desire to sneak out flickers and fizzles, before he drops in a grinning blue Madiba and walks out with a smile to match on his face.

This scenario plays out at Pucketty Farm day in and day out, as customers are wowed by the trust placed in them by the establishment’s owners. Morwen Bezuidenhout and her husband started the project after moving to Underberg 25 years ago. From its humble beginnings as a thatch kiosk, their farm stall has grown into a community favourite. The shop’s rapid expansion is what pushed the Bezuidenhouts out from behind the counter to attend to more work. The subsequent use of the honesty policy is yet to let them down.

It’s just one element of the experience of spending an afternoon in the eclectic store, which might well see you purchase your apple pie in the presence of a nosy chicken or stray guinea pig. “It’s built within us to want to be honest,” says Bezuidenhout. “In South Africa we really need to trust each other more.” The success of this system is a refreshing testament to human goodness.