January 12, 2005
DuPont--- If a business Utopia exists, you'd expect to find a place a little neater, certainly with stepped up security. "There's thousands and thousands of dollars worth of stuff," says Reggie Portivent, manager of the Bargain Barn.
What many people would call junk sitting by a road, where about two thousand vehicles pass everyday, according to Georgia Department of Transportation estimates. It would seem his items are an easy target for thieves.
"There are more honest people in the world than you would think. Sure are," says Reggie with conviction.
It took him a while to come to the realization because when he first started his job two years ago, he just knew thieves would take everything away. He knows from experience. "That's exactly right," says Reggie.
The thieves didn't. In fact, he found just the opposite, finding notes and sometimes money from people who have stopped by and picked-up an item, a common occurrence.
One note said: "Dear Sir, I got the Radio Flyer. Enclosed is $15, plus two dollars for tax. They don't want to beat the taxman neither. If I have done anything you will not approve of, I will return and buy from you."
And, he hadn't opened the door for business yet. Reggie has an extensive customer list in a small plastic box that he opens occasionally and reads the bits of paper inside. "Canister set, colored, plastic, the 50s," says Reggie, reading one of the notes.
He has a want list with people waiting to pay when he finds what they want. "I done filled his order," says Reggie after reading another note. His store has just about everything imaginable, where you can spend hours just looking around.
But Reggie knows his limitations. "No way to keep up with all of this," says Reggie who has thousands of items to look after. He remembers just one item going missing out of all of this stuff. It was a refrigerator, and he took the loss rather philosophically, believing the thieves needed that refrigerator worse than he did.
"I always lock this lock. I don't know why I do that. It's a habit," says Reggie as he closed the big white door at the one time train depot. He has a habit of trusting people to pay, what some people might call an antiquated business philosophy that's not too old to work.
The community of Dupont has its own post office and sits midway between Valdosta and Homerville on highway 84.
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