The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Twist wrench and grab


Photo: Home grown flowers

Photo: Home grown flowers

Considering that the gateside stand has been up and running for nearly nine months now, thefts from the stand have been low.

When they do happen it’s a shock. I spot that we have sold something and my heart lifts but when I open the cash box it is empty. Before the school holidays began some teenage boys on bikes started nicking stuff. As profits are quite low, this was depressing. But I scotched their game by working in the front garden around that time that they passed each day. They knew that I knew. After a while they just stared ahead and pedalled slowly by.

Sometimes people leave 2p for a pot of jam. The jar alone costs us 30p. Occasionally someone steals flowers to present to a loved one. I wonder what they would think if they knew that it was stolen?

Sales on the gateside stand have been really slow this month. But yesterday we had a good day and sold 9 jars of marmalade and chutney. Usually I bring the stand in at seven o’clock but as it was such a glorious and sunny evening I decided to leave it out just a bit longer. Perhaps I could tempt another passer by?

And I did. Someone nicked the cash box and all the takings.

At first I couldn’t work out how they had taken it. The bicycle lock that slips through the handle was still locked. Then I spotted the handle – it had been wrenched off the cash box and left neatly on the top of the stand.

Some village newcomers are suspected of stealing stuff from the village shop and a whole day’s batch of bread and cakes were recently stolen from outside the shop. It’s delivered in the early hours of the morning so no one saw the culprits. In a small old fashioned community it’s a shock when trust is broken – I should have been more vigilant.

This morning I ordered a much sturdier cash box from Amazon. I was so angry that it was tempting to order a stun gun too. The handle of the new box is bolted to the lid.  I’ll clear the cash box regularly from now on. I’m not going to be beaten by these thugs.

  Leave a reply


  1. Michelle from Oregon

    Fiona, maybe you should consider putting up an open letter on the stand, and tell the person who took the cashbox exactly how you feel.
    You never can tell, maybe they will come back around and see it. If they are stupid and cowardly enough to steal from a gateside stand, chances are they will probably try hitting you again.
    All I hope is that it was someone who needed the money more than you, and not a common jerk!

  2. Natasha

    how horrid!!

    Its happened a few times at our local ice-cream/dairy store that runs on an honesty system (where you fetch your own change out of the cash drawer!) but they have put a few stern signs up that seem to have discouraged it (about karma etc) xxxxxx

  3. Fiona you must be feeling so sad tonight. After all your hard work, someone has betrayed your trust. I wonder how they are feeling tonight? Let’s hope they have some kind of conscience although I wouldn’t bank on it. I suppose it is a case of we live and learn. I too hope the new box will thwart any more theft. Just remember there are more good folks than bad out there.

  4. That is such a shame, but don’t give up we need people like you out there. Have you seen this post from huntergathercook.

  5. Felt compelled to comment and say what a real let down and disappointment – you must feel really angry..! I hope the new box will thwart them! I regularly cycle past two gateside veg stands on my way to work and cannot belive that anyone would stoop to taking the entire cash box…

  6. Rae Mond

    how horrible!
    If you believe in karma they will pay in some way for this, if they’re not already doing so.
    For them to stoop to stealing from their neighbours they must be very unhappy.
    It’s not much comfort, I’m not suggesting you should take comfort in the fact that these people are unhappy, you’re not that sort of person. But I find it makes it harder to stay angry with people when you pity them.

  7. So sad that people will do things like that.

    I love buying fresh produce/eggs etc from the roadside stands here in Somerset and I would never underpay or steal. On Saturday I even went back with 1p for someone because I only had 19p and we really needed some garlic.

    I hope that you don’t give up with the stand because of that person’s actions.

  8. Alchemilla

    I’m so sorry to hear it – the abuse of trust is vile.

  9. kimchapman

    JP and I were gutted to read this F as I bought 5 of the jars from your stand yesterday. Hope you catch the awful theif and PS we love your Apple Chilli jelly – I need more!

  10. The Sandwich Life

    oh man….I’m so sorry. How incredibly discouraging. I do believe in karma though…..

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