Selbst Schneiden


Selbst Schneiden Stand

A common sight in our area of Germany are ‘Selbst Schneiden’ stands.  These are plots of flowers next to the road and normally adjacent to a larger farm field growing a crop.  One cuts the desired flowers and pays at an unattended cash box.  At a single stand there may be a patch of sunflowers, a separate patch of gladioli, a separate patch of iris, etc.  There is a price list based on the type of flowers taken, but the stand is completely unattended and on the honor system to pay for what is cut.  Often the cash box is welded to an oil drum filled with concrete in order to deter thieves.  Some stands even provide scissors for when the visitor isn’t carrying a cutting utensil.  Now that fall has arrived, pumpkin and squash stands are set up in a similar fashion.  The gourds are sorted by type with a sign showing the cost of different varieties.

I marvel over the entire concept because the cynical American in me says this would never work in the United States.  Either the produce and flowers would be taken without making payment or the entire stand would be vandalized.  Perhaps it works in small American communities.  Do any of my American friends have any experience with this?


8 thoughts on “Selbst Schneiden

  1. foodessen

    I agree with your thoughts on this not working. We also saw a show on tv here in Germany that showed people being caught not paying, so unfortunately this even happens here. From what I understand there are less stands like this than there used to be. But I love the them, especially when my husband brings me fresh cut Gladiolus!

    1. terrimoore65 Post author

      I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that here there are also people who take without paying. How were they caught? Was there a hidden camera? It’s an interesting study: how people behave when they think no one is watching… Good for your husband for bringing you fresh cut flowers! I need to work on my husband; 27 years hasn’t been long enough! LOL 😉

      1. foodessen

        It’s been a couple years since we watched the show but there were cameras and then somebody approached the person about it. Some denied it I remember that, I was thinking really, you are caught! It did surprise me when I saw the show and it saddens me a bit I guess.
        I have to say my husbands work took him near these fields. But he takes the time to stop which is great. 🙂

      2. terrimoore65 Post author

        Interesting that people would deny it when confronted. I suppose people are the same the world over: some honest, some not so much… 😦
        So perhaps the key is to change my husband’s route home from work! 😉

  2. travelsandtomes

    We lived briefly in a small Texas town, and there was a watermelon stand/field where the melons were left unattended with a cash cup. We got most of our watermelons there. The stand ran all summer long, so I assume the system worked–but it was a small, sleepy town.

  3. Pat Sullivan

    I think the outcome would be similar to the honor system used by the Friends of the Library bookstores here in the U.S. Often unattended, the stores or bookshelves rely on the honesty of the shopper to compute the cost and pay the appropriate amount into the cashbox. Having worked in those stores, I can tell you that unfortunately some folks steal like mad. Others meticulously write checks or stuff the box with the amount owed. It all comes down to what you do when no one is looking, who you are down deep. I wonder if there is some society somewhere on this planet where this theft wouldn’t happen.

    1. terrimoore65 Post author

      I bet it also makes a difference if one knows the person who owns the unattended stand; they are probably far more likely to pay. As you stated Pat, it comes down to character: what you do when no one is looking.


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