The Isle of Harris still uses honesty boxes as one of its main methods of payment – with the Outer Hebrides islands shocking tourists turning up expecting to have to pay conventionally
As much of the world turns to online shopping, this Scottish island is “stepping back in time” with its honesty boxes.
The Isle of Harris, located in the Outer Hebrides, has shocked tourists for still using honesty boxes as one of its main methods of payment.
The tiny island is home to about 2,000 people and has been relying on tourism to survive in modern times.
Tourists have described it as “stepping back in time” as dotted across the largely rural landscape are self-made structures, selling everything from cakes, fudge and even homemade mustard.
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 home grown 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.
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!”
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.
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However it’s not just eateries that use this method of collecting pay.
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.
However 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.