An honor system is an arrangement in which the parties involved are bound by the idea of honor and honesty as transactions are completed. The observance of such values comes into play because the individual seller or business does not actively participate in ensuring that the correct amount is paid by the customer. Instead, the customer takes on the burden of determining how much he will be paying, depending on what he knows the value of the goods to be. There is a difference between the total honor system and other types of honor systems, however. Under a total honor system, those who commit violations are not caught or persecuted. More often, though, and especially in the business setting, methods for checking on individuals are set in place. Checks are usually random, so everyone is aware that anyone can be caught committing a violation.
Honesty bars and honor system wine bars both operate their businesses using this idea. In such locations, the setup is such that patrons are allowed to determine how much they have drunk and pay the appropriate amount before they leave. Some supermarkets have also employed a similar strategy. They have made barcode scanners available to shoppers, which allow them to scan their own items and then pay for the total amount reflected at machines installed by the supermarket exits.
While it may seem as though there is a risk that customers will violate the honor system, it appears that there hasn’t been a significant rise in cases of theft, and such establishments do not seem to be in any danger of losing money. In fact, the system seems to be working well, especially since this means that the business no longer has to hire as many personnel, thus helping them save money.