Whenever I go to the wet market behind my apartment in Ho Chi Minh city, I always go to the same vendor. She’s a sweet old lady, with a toothy grin, who sits in a corner on the street by the private alleyway behind my building.
She’s an ordinary vendor selling the exact same vegetables as the dozen of other vendors around her. She recognizes me, but there are never any discounts. It’s just a pure money transaction; She hands over the vegetables, I hand over the cash.
The reason why I only frequent her stalls and none of the others is because she doesn’t try to rip me off seeing that I’m a foreigner.
She doesn’t raise the price, quote me a different price than that of the locals, or forcibly add more vegetables to the scale without asking. She simply smiles, shows me with her fingers how much to pay and hands me my bag. And for that, she’s earned my consistent business — because she’s honest.
Some of the other vendors who’ve ripped me off occasionally still motion at me to visit their stalls. They promise “local prices,” “good discounts,” or “sales” but my first impression has already been set; I’ve already branded them as dishonest.
Honesty goes a long way, both business and personal, in every relationship that will ever matter: friends, family, your significant other and even people you don’t know who might one day become your future ally.
You’ll gain benefits by being dishonest in the short term, but it’ll never compare to what you’ll gain by being honest in the long term. The value of the trust others place in you will be far beyond what can be measured.
As Amy Rees Anderson once said, “success will come and go, but integrity is forever.”