Just how honest is M’boro? We ask city’s stallholders

ACROSS Maryborough, stallholders are counting on the honesty of strangers.

In just about every main street in the city, stalls containing a variety of fruit and vegetables, or stacks of firewood give those passing by the chance to pick up a bargain.

But for some, even $2 is too much.

Scott Barkle with the fruit and vegetables stall outside his home in Tinana.
Scott Barkle with the fruit and vegetables stall outside his home in Tinana. Carlie Walker

Tinana's Scott Barkle has a fruit and vegetable stall outside his home, managed by his partner.

They set up surveillance cameras to try to ward off those who would simply take the produce, rather than throwing a bit of change into the honesty box.

Mr Barkle said people enjoyed visiting the stall for fresh fruit and vegetables, including pineapples, sweet potatoes and zucchinis, and they got plenty of business.

There were also those who did the wrong thing.

One time, the entire fruit stall was stolen by some young men who left the produce lying on the ground.

They broke into the honesty box a little way down the road.

The raid on the honesty box earned the men a grand total of $9, Mr Barkle said.

The colourful fruit and vegetables stall in Alice St, Maryborough.
The colourful fruit and vegetables stall in Alice St, Maryborough.

In Alice St, a colourful fruit and vegetable stall offers onions, tomatoes, beans and more.

Trish Saunders' daughter runs the stall, travelling to farms across the region to buy produce to sell.

She said 95 per cent of people were honest when it came to putting money in the box.

It had taken people a little while to adjust to a recent price increase of 50c, Ms Saunders said, but it was necessary because of how far her daughter had to travel to stock the stall.

Ms Saunders said business was slow during the pandemic lockdown when everyone was staying at home.

"If they did come, they got lots so they didn't have to go out again," she said.

"A lot of people came and got stuff for their neighbours."

The note outside a home selling wood on Saltwater Creek Rd.
The note outside a home selling wood on Saltwater Creek Rd.

On Saltwater Creek Rd, a big display of firewood is offered to passers-by.

Max Clarke stocks the stall at his daughter's home.

About a year ago, he noticed people were becoming more dishonest.

He wrote a few notes to post at the stall, encouraging people to do the right thing.

Now, he says, the majority are pretty good.

"It must make them think," he said.

One frustration remains.

Like clockwork, seven bags of firewood get taken with no payment, about every three weeks.

"It's been happening for about 12 months," Mr Clarke said.

He's thought about installing cameras but thinks it wouldn't stop people from doing the wrong thing.

The pineapple stall outside the home of Granville's Janene Slattery.
The pineapple stall outside the home of Granville's Janene Slattery.

In Odessa St Granville, Janene Slattery had run out of pineapples.

She sells them from a stand outside her home.

Ms Slattery does it for her brother-in-law, who owns a farm in Takura.

She first started running the stall about 12 months ago and, to her frustration, she found people, mainly kids, weren't being honest when taking the fruit.

Now she finds she has regulars who look out for her and tell her when people aren't doing the right thing.

These days it's a lot better and most people are honest, she said.