You Know You’re In a Small Town When…

you walk into a store and walk out without paying.

I’m not talking about shoplifting or any other criminal activity.


Here’s the story

My wife was working late and needed to pick up a plaque for a departing airman in her squadron. She didn’t think that she could get to the engraver’s shop before he closed, but she needed it for the next day. That’s when she called me and asked me to run over there and pick up the engraved wooden plaque.

Things like this go along with being married to the Air Force.

I had to go to the supermarket anyway, so I stopped into the shop to pick it up. When I took out my debit card, the owner said, “I don’t take cards, but I know she needs this for tomorrow. Just take it and come by with cash when you can.”

Color me dumbfounded. This man had never seen me before in my life, and yet he’s telling me to take the merchandise and pay him later.

I took the plaque, went to the supermarket and asked for cash back. I immediately returned to the store and paid the man. on Saturday, the plaque was presented to the departing sergeant on time.

I was born and raised in NYC. Things like this just don’t happen there.

Got any small town anecdotes that big city folk just wouldn’t understand?


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4 thoughts on “You Know You’re In a Small Town When…

  1. I live in a small town–village really. One day last year, I was buying something at our local feed store and didn’t have enough money. The clerk–who knew me–said to drop off the rest later. She didn’t even write down how much I had left owing (but I did). I just walked out of the store with the items. At this same store a few years ago, I walked out with more than $300-worth of fencing equipment without paying because they didn’t accept my credit card. A few days later I returned to pay with cash.

    Last year, I filled up my tank at our local gas station, walked towards the door to pay when I realised I had forgotten my wallet. I went inside and explained to the clerk–who had worked there for a long time–and she wrote my name in a book and the amount, and said to pay when you’re in next. And off I went.

    Those are the benefits of living in a small town or being a regular customer at a store.


      • I’ve never lived in a big city before, but I wonder. If you are a regular customer at an establishment, does this sometimes happen regardless of the community size? I’m a creature of habit–aka loyal customer–so once I find a place I like to shop at (such as for gas), I always go there, so even if they see a thousand faces a day, eventually, they get to know me.

        I live in a country with the same population as the state of California, so maybe it’s easier here than there.


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