Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Walking the Walk

Today was just one of those odd days. Heck, this week has been one of those weeks, and it's only Tuesday (soon to be Wednesday).

So, here's the deal. A week and a half ago, I went to Target to get some things to continue working on the various home projects I have going. I got some more paint tray liners so I could maybe use one for primer, one for color, and have one to spare. Target has a 3-pack for about $2.75ish, so I get one...or so I thought.

Later in the week, when I was cleaning up my staging area, I noticed that I had inadvertently gotten 2 3-packs because they were stuck together. I checked my receipt, and saw that I'd only paid for one. Damn.

I went to a different Target earlier this week to return something else, and asked whether I needed to bring the extra 3-pack in, or if I could just pay for them. The cashier looked at me like I was nuts and told me that she didn't know, but that I should probably go back to the Target I'd gotten them from. Really? Well, OK.

Tonight I took the 2 3-packs plus my receipt to yet a different Target and explained what had happened. The nice lady looked at me, perplexed. I offered to pay for the extra set, considering I'd had them for a week, but it ended up that since I didn't actually want them, I could just give them back. As she was taking the one 3-pack to put into the returns cart, she looked at me oddly and said (kind of like I was a big dummy), "You know, most people wouldn't have even bothered to bring these back. Um, thanks for being honest."


I never know what to think about this kind of thing.

It was a mistake on both my and the original cashier's parts--mine for not being careful enough to make sure I had only one, and then not checking my receipt right away, and the cashier's for not making sure to ring up both. But two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, kind of like the saying goes.

Also, my kid was with me. What kind of example am I setting if I say, "Wooo! Their mistake!! I get to keep this for free!!!"? Is there some kind of dollar limit at which this becomes OK? (No) Am I that odd for returning it and offering to pay? (Apparently) Would I do it this way again? (Absolutely) Is this the kind of action that she'll remember and emulate herself? (More than likely)

The whole thing made me think about personal values and the moral grey area in a way I haven't for awhile, not in a meaningful way, anyhow. It was the right thing to do, though, and even as odd as the Target employee (and my husband, and a family friend) thought I was for doing it, I'm glad I did.

1 comment:

christie said...

I've had experiences like this myself, and it's like you say: What do we want our kids to take away from that situation? (I have gotten the funny look from my own husband, too.) Maybe no one would have known... but *I* would know if I didn't do the right thing. Quite frankly, my mother raised me better than that.

I do think that most people are more honest than we give them credit for... the sometimes-cheater gives all the rest of us a bad rep. Then again, maybe your cashier's response says something about *her*.