Sandwich Creamery in Sandwich, New Hampshire leaves a portion of their creamery open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with 2 coolers full of ice cream and a refrigerator filled with various cheeses. There is a sign that tells the prices of each of the various signs and there is a mail-slot where you donate the money. The whole operation is based completely on the honor system. Believing in such integrity adds to the culture that surrounds the creamery and what chiefly brings people back time after time.
I have countless stories of trips to the creamery at all hours of the day. The most common scenario was probably my friends and I in a packed car at 10:30pm making our way through the dark woods to get some delicious ice cream, while of course telling some sort of scary story along the way. After many trips we would even purposefully take another route to get lost and increase the adventure (which sometimes may have been at the expense of more concerned passengers in the car).
The creamery made simply buying ice cream more about the experience – with damn good ice cream as the commonality. The creamery promoted bonding with friends and family. Whenever you buy something, it should be about the experience as well as the product. Or rather, the experience should be the product. Basing the creamery on customer integrity is the core of the Sandwich experience. For high school kids growing up in New Hampshire it is an example of how things should be, with honesty and friendship held to the highest standard. That is the kind of place I grew up. Wouldn’t it be nice if more businesses were able to find a similar practice?