On the last Saturday before Christmas, I participated in the Old Town Auburn Farmers' Market for the first time in several months. During the fall soccer season, our friends Matt and Callie Urner sold our meat and yarn at the market. December 22 gave me a chance to catch up with friends and customers who I had not seen for quite some time - I had a great day! As usual, the last Saturday before Christmas was a busy one at the market - despite the cold and rainy weather.
The following Monday, I went to the bank to make my deposit. I discovered, among the half-dozen or so checks that I had received, a check with no name, address or bank information on it. I couldn't decipher the signature, and I had no memory of who had written it. I'd been so busy talking with folks that I hadn't paid any attention to it at the market. While it was only a $30 check, I was annoyed with myself for failing to catch the problem at the time.
We've been selling products at the farmers' market in Auburn for more than 10 years, and we've always taken checks. Before we started accepting credit cards with my smart phone this year, we even let customers send us checks if they didn't have enough cash at the market to make a purchase. In all that time, we've never received a bad check - until now.
I find myself upset that somebody stiffed us - again, $30 isn't much, but the idea of knowingly taking something without paying for it is aggravating. Had this person told me that he (or she) didn't have the money to make a purchase, I'd have tried to help out - that's one of the things I love about the Auburn farmers' market - it's a community.
Going forward, I'll probably be more careful about checking the information on the checks I receive from somebody I don't know - at least for a few more weeks. Ultimately, however, I choose to trust the people who I do business with - even if it means that a stranger might take advantage of this trust now and then.