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Coffee shop tests cops’ honesty

CEBU, Philippines—Not only is this coffee shop in Cebu City cost-efficient, it also tests the honesty of customers, who are mostly police officers.

There are no waiters or even cashiers at Noy Honesto Coffee Shop inside the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) in the city’s Sitio Sudlon in Barangay (village) Lahug.

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Clients can choose from different types of bread, local delicacies, coffee sachets, instant noodles, candies, soda and other food items, compute their purchase, drop the payment into a plastic jar and collect the change.

“Being honest nowadays is taken for granted and this coffee shop is like a beginner’s exercise to practice honesty,” said Senior Supt. Noel Gillamac, police provincial director.

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Since it opened on Jan. 15, shop operations have been smooth. “We have not recorded any discrepancy (between items sold and cash in the jar),” Gillamac said. “Sometimes, there is an extra P5. Maybe, the customer decided to leave the change.”

The small enterprise with integrity and innovation as brand values has inspired detainees of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) to open their own Noy Honesto Coffee Shop on Jan. 28.

Lito Granada, the jail’s mayor de mayores and head of the inmates’ cooperative, said the members wanted to teach honesty among prison personnel and visitors while earning additional income for the group.

On the first day of operation of the shop—actually an extension of the cooperative’s canteen—it earned about P400, Granada said. The shop also sells bread from CPDRC bakeshop.

Gillamac said he was inspired by the Honesty Coffee Shop in Batanes, an unmanned store that trusts customers to pay the right amount. That shop has been operating for almost 20 years and is a tourist attraction in the country’s northernmost province.

The CPPO Cooperative put up the capital.

Gillamac appointed PO1 Devie Silva as store manager and PO1 Marjorie Bero as finance officer, but their job is to conduct a daily inventory and replenish supplies.

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It is self-service at Noy Honesto Coffee Shop. Customers pick up the items they want to purchase and even make their own coffee from a selection of sachets.

The shop also sells Cebu’s popular delicacies, such as Argao town’s torta, a star-shaped cake that uses coconut wine as leavening; and bukarilyo, sweetened coconut strips from Carcar City.

Customers can also buy the bread baked by CPDRC inmates.

Prices are listed on a piece of paper posted on the wall. A plastic container is placed on a table where customers drop their payment and collect the change if they don’t have an exact amount.

Policemen can eat their snacks during break on the two bar tables or even hang out in the shop.

SPO1 Wilson Salinas, who is assigned to the CPPO’s administration department, noted the convenience of having a coffee shop inside the police headquarters. The nearest bakeshop is 300 meters away.

“We don’t have to go outside (the headquarters) to get food,” Salinas said.

The cafeteria is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. At the CPDRC, the shop is open 24 hours. Inventory is done at night.

CPDRC consultant Marco Toral sought Gillamac’s permission to replicate the CPPO shop at the provincial jail.

So far, both coffee shops have proven that honesty is still the best policy—even among policemen and jail personnel.

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TAGS: coffee shop, honesty, honesty store, Noel Gillamac, Noy Honesto coffee shop, values
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