I was on my way to Merton Abbey Mills the other day when I spotted a curiosity parked besides the bandstand. There, in all its red and shinning glory stood a smiley faced old London bus. Lovingly named Trusty, the gutted bus is in fact a travelling pop-up shop called the Honesty Shop. Aside from being inside a bus, the honesty shop is unique in other ways well, such as the fact that it is probably the only shop you will ever find unattended.
In the Honesty Shop, pay is self-administered. Each item has a price and code number on it, and to pay, you take one of the provided envelopes, and write down the product code and price, then put the money inside before posting it inside the letterbox at the front. Ten percent of their profits then goes to one of the many charities they support, including Macmillan Cancer Support, Dogs Trust, the Stroke Association, and Action for Children.
Trusty the Bus is fifty years old and, like The Beatles, started out in Liverpool and headed down to London. Inside, I saw an array of cute & quirky gifts for the home & garden. My favourites were the £15 animal beanie hats, which included the designs of a zebra, ladybird, and a lobster. There were also handmade knitted dolls, honey lip salves, mug cosies, and what at first I thought were a pair of giant knitting needles, but actually turned out to be a luxury washing line.
Since Trusty the Bus is only going to pop-up around your area on the off chance, The Honesty Shop also sells its products online, which now allows you for the first time to choose which charity your donation goes to.