July 11, 2011

the honor system

why don't honor systems work anymore? or do they, and people are just too afraid to trust them?

when i was in kennebunkport, i came across a parking lot and i had no idea where to put in my money to park. i was worried about getting a ticket if i didn't pay, but then thought that maybe since i was in a small town they didn't charge you...i really had no idea. then i looked to the far end of the parking lot and saw these:


i had never seen a parking lot with signs like this before. there is no one there to monitor, and no one there to enforce these prices. I was with my step dad and he told me that these had been in kennebunk for all of the 30 years he'd been going there. it was actually SO neat to me! so of course, we paid how much we should have for parking for the 2 hours. naturally, i wanted to see how reliable this system was so i asked a few store owners around the area and they said to me very confidently that it was a great system. everybody in the town respected the "honor parking" and visitors were so shocked by the simple idea that they respected it too.

what do you think of trying one of these in your city/town? i know that for me, it felt worse to think about not contributing to the honor system parking because i'd be breaking trust. in normal cities when you are monitored and have to pay, you're not breaking trust you're just trying to get away with breaking a law that can be solved with the punishment of a ticket.

humans are weird. we have a conscious. we have feelings. so maybe in the case of payments, the feeling that we are going against someones trust outweighs the regret (or lack there of) of breaking the law.