Remote holiday spot has unusual rule allowing tourists to pay what they want for goods

A remote Scottish island has shocked tourists by setting up ‘honesty boxes’ that allow users to pay whatever they want for goods.

As most of the world shifts towards online shopping, the Isle of Harris, located in the Outer Hebrides, is “stepping back in time” with these honesty boxes.

The remote island is home to only about 2000 people and relies on tourism to sustain its economy in modern times, the Mirror reports.

Its largely rural landscape and remoteness have led many tourists to describe it as “stepping back in time” as the shops in the Isle of Harris sell everything from cakes, fudge and even homemade mustard in honesty boxes.



The Isle of Harris, in the Outer Hebrides

Croft 36, at Northton, is a family-run shop established in 2010, which sells homegrown fruit and vegetables, as well as bread and home-cooked meals to take away.

The business relies completely on customers paying the amount suggested for the items with cash.

Ayla Curwen on Google Reviews said: “Absolutely gorgeous little place, the food is so yummy and very reasonably priced. Not to mention the majority is homegrown and locally sourced.

“There are also plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options. The staff are so kind and friendly. A must when visiting Harris!”

The Cake Shed at Luskentyre is another business that relies on its customers paying fairly.



The island has shocked tourists with this honesty boxes
The island has shocked tourists with this honesty boxes

Every day the bakery fills their shed with freshly made cakes, scones and ground coffee, allowing customers to drop by and pick up delicacies until the shed is empty, or needs to be closed for the day.

Heidi Brailsford on Facebook said: “Drove past today and we couldn’t believe our eyes! A small shed filled with luscious cakes?

“Happily filled the honesty box with a few quid and came away with pudding for this evening. Absolutely delicious too.”

Lara Feakins added: “We stopped at the Cake Shed this morning and were not disappointed. We picked up the white chocolate and raspberry cupcakes and galaxy Rocky Road.

“We arrived at 10am on our way past to walk the dog, we were 3rd in the queue, seems to be very popular and rightly so! Perfect Saturday morning, flask of tea and a cake on one of the most beautiful beaches!”



A mustard shop on the island
A mustard shop on the island

Some of the honesty box sheds form part of the Eat Drink Hebridean Trail, a self-guided journey throughout the islands that includes the best food and drink places in the area.

However, it’s not just eateries that use this method of collecting payments.

The Isle of Harris Golf Club still relies on one for everything from green fees, to trolley rental and even buying golfing clothes.

Relying on the general public’s integrity doesn’t come without its pitfalls- in June 2021, the Daily Record reported that a thief had stolen a ‘large sum of money’ from a box at Huisinis, on Harris.

Although this appears to be the exception rather than the norm, with many local businesses still using the method to collect money for their wares.

The island is also famous for being the original home of Harris Tweed, the only fabric protected by its own act of Parliament, the Harris Tweed Act of 1993.

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