Shelbyville Cafe allows customers to 'pay what they can' - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Shelbyville Cafe allows customers to 'pay what they can'

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The blackboard outside The Harvest Cafe in Shelbyville is a perplexing sight at first, but a welcome welcome message to many. The blackboard outside The Harvest Cafe in Shelbyville is a perplexing sight at first, but a welcome welcome message to many.

SHELBYVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Harvest Cafe in Shelbyville is like a lot of lunch spots, but Wednesdays are the busiest and that's mainly because of the price on the menu.

The menu is the same, but on this day, the prices are not set in stone.

"Today is actually pay what you can day," says owner Melinda Hardin.

On Wednesdays, the cafe lives by the economic principle: 'If everyone gives what they have, everyone gets what they need.' So whether it's a swipe of the credit card on the ipad or dropping money in the pail, what you pay is at your discretion.

"A lot of people come in and they are really eager to level the playing field and help us sort of do that for everybody in the community, so they'll pitch in a little bit more," Hardin says.

Hardin started 'pay what you can' Wednesdays in July and says they don't make a profit, but there are rewards.

"He saw the sign, the sandwich board outside and said...'that says pay what you can, like, I don't understand that'."

Hardin says she explained 'pay what you can' to the customer and was touched by what happened next.

"He pulled some change from his pocket and said well, what if I only have this to pay? I said, if that's what you can pay, that's what you can pay."

It is those kinds of stories that keep some customers coming back.

Missy Foley says even her young children are pitching in, hoping that paying a little extra will put food one someone else's table.

"Ally knows about it, they've been saving up some money, my son also has a little stash of money that he is bringing over. it is just something that we are doing for Christmas, we are trying to do little acts of kindness," Foley says.

It is the giving season, but Melinda Hardin says 'pay what you can' runs year round.

"As long as we're here," Hardin says, "it will be pay what you can Wednesday."

In addition to pay what you can Wednesdays, the cafe also has a pay it forward board and that's where customers can come in and by a meal or a cup of coffee for a friend, family member or even stranger.

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