Lee Leatherwood, a loan officer at First National Bank of Dublin, is a man with a lot of faith in humanity. He recently sold bales of hay for $5 a bale until he ran out. At the moment, he’s selling bundles of firewood at the same price until they run out, too.
Okay, so he’s a businessman selling stuff to customers. Nothing new there right? Well what’s unusual is that he simply pulled his trailer full of his wares into a vacant lot across from the bank on Hwy. 377, put up a $5 sign and a little blue plastic cash box, and let people take what they want and put the money in the box.
Nobody’s sitting there making change or guarding the cash box.
Asked if he’d lost anything doing it this way, Leatherwood says, “No I haven’t. I believe in people’s basic honesty and the way this has gone, everybody’s been straight with me. Things have been done this way by people in and around Dublin for a long time. We have good people here.”
He adds another example of doing business on the honor system: “For instance, there’s a fruit and vegetable stand out on the highway between here and DeLeon that I’ve heard has been there for around 50 years, and this is how they do it, too. Just take the produce you want and leave the money in a jar.”
He says that someone came by and told him he was helping restore his faith in humanity by doing business this way.
Leatherwood grins and says, “But I just told him, ‘You don’t have to restore what you never lost in the first place.’ I never lost mine. I expected this would go this way. In my family, we believe in service and trusting people. This is just an illustration of that.”
Leatherwood’s uncle, David, is perhaps the most visible in the family involved in public service; he’s currently serving as mayor of the city of Dublin, and other members of the Leatherwood family have served in various public service capacities in Dublin for decades.
“It just runs in the family. We like doing it. It’s good for the people of Dublin and it’s good for us, too,” Leatherwood said.
If you’re in the market for firewood at five bucks a bundle on the honor system, better hurry.
Leatherwood says, “What you see here is all there is. When this load is gone, I’ll be out of business on both hay and firewood for this season.”