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Simpler Times: An I.O.U. in Mapleton, Oregon

July 20th, 2012 by Alison · 4 Comments · books

It’s summertime, and sun, light and food are abundant. Abundance makes the world feel more safe and expansive. I love this about summer: it can send us back to simpler times, when the extension of trust was more common. I had trust extended to me yesterday, and it made me smile from my face down to my toes.

Yesterday morning I was driving back from the Oregon coast, coming off a three day work trip. I was elated because my meetings had gone very well, I’d gotten to hike on the Oregon dunes, look at seals in the wild, donate blood in the Coos Bay fire station when two adorable girls dressed up as blood drops coaxed me in, and also go running on the Bandon beach. (Really, what more could a person ask for?)

In the tiny town of Mapleton, where highway 126 meets the Siuslaw River, I stopped at a small, lovely cafe/bookstore called Alpha-Bit where I used the restroom, browsed and then chose two books to buy. They came to $17 and as usual, I was carrying little cash.

“Uh, we actually don’t take those,” the tall, bearded young man said at the counter when I handed him my Working Assets credit card. I could see he meant cards in general. “We do take checks and I.O.U.’s, and the fellow at the market has an ATM.”

I didn’t have any checks with me and ATM’s charge those irritating fees, but most of all, I was intrigued to be offered an I.O.U.  He meant I could simply promise to pay. So I took him up on it. I gave him my business card, wrote my home phone number on the back along with “I.O.U $17″, and took down the store’s address.

I walked out into the warm summer sunshine with my two books and the exquisite feeling of being trusted. My check, with a handwritten thank-you note, are now waiting for the postman to pick up from my mail-slot.

Soon, I’ll post about the abundance of energy that  our new solar panels have been producing — on sunny days, more than twice the amount of energy our home uses. Summertime is dizzyingly abundant.

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • Dana Whitson

    IOUs?! That’s just too cool!

  • Alison

    I agree, Dana! Maybe you should suggest this method of payment to one of your merchants in Oro Valley . . .

    • Dana Whitson

      Would he have lost a sale if he hadn’t offered the IOU?…or would you have gone to the ATM?
      IOUs probably work out better in a small town where word gets around more re the locals.

      This is an idea that probably has better success being offered from the merchant rather than suggested by the customer…only guessing here, of course! Can’t hurt to suggest it though!!

      • Alison

        If he hadn’t offered me the IOU, I’d have used the ATM, so he wouldn’t have lost the sale . . . but I wouldn’t then have been inspired to blog about their cool store. I agree that the merchant needs to offer the IOU; if the IOU idea came from the customer it probably wouldn’t fly, unless they already knew you. Which is what is so rewarding, i.e. people knowing each other, and extending trust — whether or not they know each other already.

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