Amazon Honor System and a random stranger yelling my name!

Every once in a while, something I experience on the web jars me. Someone choosing email as a way to share sad news, or completing a shopping experience and feeling, oh, joyed at the pleasant time I just had. These things remind me of something offline. Something, er, human.

Today, I was wandering around reading and catching up, following trails from here to there, when it happened. “Hey, Craig N Bryant!”. I think to myself, who is this guy? Do I know you? The guy says, “Yes, I’m the guy from I thought you might appreciate me tracking you down randomly here, on this site. It’s so good to see you again. Hey, uh, can I have some money?”

I realize it’s to support a pretty useful and popular (check out the stats) service, but why yell my name? Clicking through to read about this “honor system”, it explains to me all about, uh, not a lot. Honor? I don’t know what they’re talking about. But, alas, theres an ‘opt-out’. But what about ‘opting-in’, Amazon? I wish we could do that in the real world too. Next time some dude from the distant past leaps out at you from behind a shelf at Borders, just tell him to check your preferences.