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Found Money: what would you do?
Old 03-05-2017, 08:36 AM   #1
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Found Money: what would you do?

Was working at an outdoor art fair yesterday and a cop working the show brought me $2 that someone had given him to put in lost & found. This show was packed - over 6000 through the gate. The $2 was naked - no envelope, no wallet, just 2 $1 bills. I was surprised that someone would turn it in, but it made me start thinking:

If I find a quarter on the ground I pick it up and pocket it. If I find $100 I would be looking for someone else to be responsible for it: lost and found. $5? probably going in my pocket after calling out to anyone nearby to ask if it was theirs. This all assumes there is no one nearby who might obviously have been recently using money - not seeing it near the line for fresh squeezed orange juice. This suggests to me that my morality is not fixed, but; shall we say, pragmatic. Makes me wonder if someone who makes $1,000,000/year has a similar but different threshold and a $100 find is de minimus and goes in their pocket.

So what are your moral dollar limits? Where, between "Finders keepers, losers weepers" and "If it's not mine it is someone else's and goes to lost and found" do you fall?
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Old 03-05-2017, 08:40 AM   #2
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It depends where it is found. A room, a field, side of the road? What it's in. A bag, an envelope, a suitcase, by itself. That all plays into my decision.
$5 in a wallet is different than $5 in a field.
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Old 03-05-2017, 08:43 AM   #3
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Conversely, if you were the 'loser', how much of a loss would it take for you to go to the Lost & Found to see if someone had turned it in?
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Old 03-05-2017, 08:48 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by COcheesehead View Post
It depends where it is found. A room, a field, side of the road?
+1

I'd pocket $100 found in a field (that wasn't obviously someone's private property) or along the side of the road with no moral qualms. If I found $100 on the ground next to a car in a parking lot, definitely wouldn't pocket it and would try to locate the owner of the car to return it. But if I couldn't locate the person in a reasonable amount of time, I'd probably keep the $100. As for $1 or $2, I wouldn't lose any sleep over pocketing that amount of lost money unless I saw it fall directly out of someone's hand.

EDIT TO ADD: On second thought, if I couldn't locate the car's owner, I might try something like sticking the $100 under the windshield wiper as inconspicuously as possible, or sliding it into the little gap along the edge of the driver's side door.
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Old 03-05-2017, 08:53 AM   #5
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I don't know the answer but I'm pretty sure it was me that lost the $2. I'll PM my account and routing number so you can return it.
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Old 03-05-2017, 08:58 AM   #6
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Absolutely lots of variables that can be suggested - a buck blowing across a deserted field will probably be treated differently than a buck laying at the feet of the lady at the front of the teller line in the bank. Lets assume naked cash and thousands of people around you on a sunny afternoon. I don't know how handy the cop was to turn over the $2, so how much effort was expended to turn in the money.

Shoot, these are pretend dollars you are being asked to find, so create your own scenario to react too.
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Old 03-05-2017, 08:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
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on the ground next to a car in a parking lot
Years back, on the Natchez Trace in a deserted parking lot, we found a cell phone.......called the last number dialed and told them we had it......shortly after that had a call back from the owners, (they had more than one phone).....we were heading south, and the owners were heading north, so we waited for them at the next pull in... no muss, no fuss.

Cash money is a little more difficult.
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:07 AM   #8
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I found a $50 bill in a shopping center parking lot, there was nobody around, and I wondered should I pin it up on the message board where people post ads ? .... yeah right like nobody would steal it.

So I pocketed it.

I also found a purse in a shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot with no cars around it. So I picked it up, it had many hundreds of dollars in it, and the bank book showed a large amount like $70,000 in the checking account. This person could afford to lose the money, so I took it home....... and looked up the owner, and phoned them asking if they lost anything.. they came and got it right away !
I had thought of turning it into lost and found, but frankly didn't trust the workers to not steal from it.
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:13 AM   #9
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For me, depends to on how easily returnable is the money.

If I found a loose $20 bill on the ground, no one around I'd have no problem pocketing the money. But once I found a purse, with over $100 and the person's id and credit cards in a parking lot. I called the person saying I found the purse, and then returned it to the lost and found of the store she was shopping at.

Now, if I found a briefcase full of 100 dollar bills, I'd run and leave as is and don't want to get rubbed out .
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:15 AM   #10
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I found a wallet on a city street once. I took it to the police station and turned it in. A few hours later the owner called and accused me of stealing the money that was inside when he lost it. Next time I'll drop any found wallet in a mail box - after I steal the money.
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:17 AM   #11
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Since our cat died in 2010, any found money goes into her donation fund which will eventually be donated to the SPCA and/or local shelter. At last count the total was over $325.

Edit to add: Obviously, if the owner can be identified, we make every effort to return anything found to the owner. I did not think it was necessary to say this, but . . . whatever.
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:24 AM   #12
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If it's a wallet, it gets turned in. If it's found cash where there's a chance the owner could be found, it gets turned in. If there's no way to determine who's it is I would pick it up and keep it... unless it was a large duffle bag with bound bills. Then I'd take it to a police station... probably.
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:33 AM   #13
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If I find unidentified money, I leave my card at the nearest lost and found and ask anyone inquiring to call me and identify the lost item(s). I do not tell them the amount or location.

I have had items claimed but also unclaimed.
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:42 AM   #14
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A few years ago, I found a wallet on the floor in a stall of the men's room at New York's Penn Station. I was waiting for the stall so I was sure it belonged to the man who had just left it. I picked it up and chased him down and gave it to him. He was thankful.


Back in the 1990s, at my old office, I found an automated transit fare card outside the security door to enter our floor. I took it although it wasn't for the train system I used at the time. I left a note outside the door saying I had found "an automated fare card" without identifying the train system. A coworker from the other side of my floor came to my desk and correctly identified the type of card, so I gave it back to him.


Back in 2008 I had a few instances of finding money in empty areas. One was aboard a PATH train (like a subway) on my way to work (before I ERed). There was a wad of small bills surrounding a MetroCard (automated fare card), probably left by a passenger who had just left the train. Nobody came back to the train looking for it. Another time was a few small bills on the sidewalk in front of my apartment building, again nobody around. And again in the same year someone left an unused LIRR train ticket used as a bookmark in a library book my dad was reading. It was worth about $7 toward my next trip on the train.


Pretty good stretch for finding stuff, huh?
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:00 AM   #15
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Some 50 yrs ago, I found a wallet washed up on the shore of a lake. The ID was readable to the point of name and address. I called information (free back then) and got a phone number. I called the number. He came and picked up the wallet. It had a few bills that could barely make out the denomination, his Driver's License and a few other personal ID's. This was in the 60's before credit cards were common so no cards. He had lost it fishing a few years earlier, and had since replaced all the ID's. The money was partly decayed and not worth trying to replace. I think the owner gave me 5 bucks for my honesty and efforts.

Today I would recognize the deterioration and just throw it away.

Up to a fiver I wouldn't think twice about. Above that. I would certainly look around to see if the rightful owner could be identified. above $20 I'd go out of my way to turning it in to someone depending on the situation at hand.

On a similar note, my DS misplaced his IPhone-6 2 days ago. He retraced his steps and did not find it. When he got home, he found thru some computer app, that it was 30 miles away on a road he hadn't traveled. He went looking for it and did not see it laying where the app said it should be. Last night the police traced it to a building in a nearby town and together, they went to recover it. But they did not find it the building, in spite of the ping it was sending. They suspected that the guy who found it and took it, found it was locked and unusable so he may have thrown it up on the roof. Evidently, not everyone is as honest as most of us are here
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:10 AM   #16
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Once, in a laundromat in Parker, AZ, found a thin plastic billfold with a driver's lic & some cash, (can't recall how much, maybe $20); mailed it to the address in SoCal.......later received a 'thank you' reply from the woman's daughter.....her mom no longer drove very much, and hadn't noticed it was missing.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:28 AM   #17
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About one year ago, while walking our fur child, I found $60 (3x$20) in a common parking area. It was a bit breezy and I had to chase down the bills so, wasn't quite sure where they came from.

Placed an add on the app 'NextDoor' asking if anyone had "lost something of value" near on XXX Street. Got one response regarding a diamond ring. So, placed a hand written sign with my phone #, near the location, saying the same thing. Got a call 2 days later from someone who correctly identified the cash. His wife had just come from the ATM & lost $300 from her coat pocket. She'd later found $180 of it but, the remainder was gone. With the $60 I returned to them, she was out only $60 when it was all said and done.

I got a 'thank you' and a hug...probably worth the $60.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:36 AM   #18
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A few weekends ago was out yard saleing. Had a list of 21 sales in this development. At one I found 4 good quality used wallets - bought them all as I was trying to find the best wallet for my use. One was a big passport wallet (?) with room for 11 cards, multiple side pocket slots. That evening as I was going through the wallets trying them out with my card, cash and paper load I found $75 Euros in one of the pockets of the passport type wallet - a $50, $20 and $5 in funny money I've only read about. Not Thai Bhat though - Euros have definite value, about $83.

I tried to convince myself that I had bought the wallets and thus the Euros. I tried to tell myself I wasn't going to go to all 21 places looking for the owner. Lasted through the troubled night. Next morning I did some deduction. I knew what side of the street that sale had been on. I knew it had been in the upper area of the development. I knew the driveway orientation to the house. That got the # of possibilities down to about four, and using Google street view made choosing the right place easy.

Took the 75 Euros back - the woman didn't really know what they were or how to convert them, said she had gotten the wallets from a girlfriend who had them from her father, some Hollywood director. Would have bothered me to keep the bills and the story was worth more than the money. Very nice wallets too - I scored anyway.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:42 AM   #19
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Perhaps I'm wrong, but I'd guess 99%+ ER patrons would return wallet.

I've lost mine 2 times in recent past and got back wallet and all cash both times.

On a further aside, I think most here would also ask themselves (if they won a huge lottery and were already set for life) how they could best use it to benefit others. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are the norm, not anomalies.
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Old 03-05-2017, 12:23 PM   #20
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I found a wallet on top of the toilet paper dispenser in a restroom. This was at our city run Natatorium. There was $112 in cash, a driver's license and a Medicare card.

This happened just a few weeks after DH lost his job. For about 1/2 a second it occurred to me that it would be very easy to pocket the cash and drop the wallet in the trash bin. But I'm not like that, I could never accept that I was a person who would behave like that. I took the wallet directly to the Customer Service desk and asked for the supervisor. He took me in the back area and we counted out the cash and listed the wallet contents and he gave me a receipt. He said he would contact the owner. I never heard from him or the wallet owner so I hope he followed through. I guess he could have kept the cash and said it was turned in with the cash already gone.

I know I did the right thing. I have seen the owner (her pic was on the driver's license) and I've never said anything to her. I have had a wallet stolen before and I know how awful it felt. I just wanted her to feel whole again.

Another time I was coming out of the post office and another car was parked behind me (parallel parking). A man was standing between our cars and said, "Hey is this your $20?". I knew I didn't have a $20 bill with me and I said, "Nope, not mine". When I got in my car and drove away I got a feeling that this could have been a scam of some sort. Maybe I'm just too careful. If it wasn't a scam then I hope he took the $20 and enjoyed it. It wasn't mine.
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