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What a Moral Dilemma
Old 06-05-2015, 09:05 PM   #1
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What a Moral Dilemma

I, as I am sure many of you, have had to make the decision whether or not we tell company that they have under-charged us. I've gone both ways, most of it happening at the grocery store with relatively small $ amounts. But today, I couldn't believe the $$$s involved.

We are in the process of doing some remodeling to our 'forever home' and engaged a local, family owned business to replace window treatments (blinds, silhouettes, custom drapes) after installing all new windows and getting rid of the old, sun damaged stuff. Total bill $9,300. Line items: 350, 970, 1,100, 1,450, 1,850, 2,800; all pre tax. Can you guess which one they forgot to input into QuickBooks... ...yep, $3,300 incl. tax!

I must admit, it took me a few nano seconds before I decided what I should do. But, I'm not sure I would have made the same decision if they had forgotten to bill one of the low end line items.

You?
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Old 06-05-2015, 09:22 PM   #2
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You done right...

Always take advantage of the opportunity to do right by others, regardless of how small or insignificant the gesture or deed.

In the Karma cafe there are no menus. You will get served what you deserve.
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Old 06-05-2015, 09:44 PM   #3
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My ability to fix the mistakes of others is related to how they had treated me to begin with....

IOW, if during a meal a wait staff was good etc. and made a mistake I would point it out... if they were going to get a bad tip because of bad service... I would not...


With small items at the store, if I cannot get it scanned in after a few tries I just put it in the bag... if it cost more than a dollar... I tell the person... since I do my own checkout most of the time I figure I am saving them more money in the long run...

With the dollars mentioned.... I would have pointed it out... or at least asked them about it...
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:01 PM   #4
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Why do you think this is a "moral dilemma"? The ethical choice is immediately obvious to everyone, including you. There's no "moral" argument that supports taking advantage of someone. Of course that's true got TP's examples too, but....
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:03 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
With small items at the store, if I cannot get it scanned in after a few tries I just put it in the bag... if it cost more than a dollar... I tell the person.
You steal the cheap items if they don't scan? Sure, there's little chance of getting caught (camera shows you tried, "I thought I heard a beep" . . .) but, c'mon.

Leaving it right there (or handing to the attendant with a comment) sends the message ("your scanner sucks") and drives it home (somebody has to restock the abandoned items). If I wanted the item so much that I wouldn't abandon it, then it seems right to pay for it.
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:39 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by candrew View Post
You done right...

Always take advantage of the opportunity to do right by others, regardless of how small or insignificant the gesture or deed.

In the Karma cafe there are no menus. You will get served what you deserve.
Indeed, once back in the 90's, I returned to my car in a university parking garage to see a satchel sitting on the ground next to it and no cars nearby. Lo and behold there was an expensive laptop in it. I took it home and looked around to see if there was any identifier. I found a business card and called the woman. She was so ecstatic that she asked to come right away and pick it up. Turns out it had all her family's small business records on it. She offered a reward but I turned it down.

Fast forward about 15 years and I didn't notice my wallet falling out of my pocket while getting into my car at the supermarket. I was already home when I noticed it missing and raced back to where I had parked. Nothing of course. But something told me to at least try asking at the supermarket and sure enough, someone had turned it in. I don't even think any cash was missing. So yeah, Karma seems real enough to me!
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Old 06-05-2015, 11:14 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by candrew View Post
You done right...

Always take advantage of the opportunity to do right by others, regardless of how small or insignificant the gesture or deed.

In the Karma cafe there are no menus. You will get served what you deserve.
In the past, before all my banking was online, I occasionally received too much money from a teller. I always brought it to their attention. Years later I heard that if they made a mistake, it came out of their pay. I didn't know that at the time - it's just the way I was raised. To do otherwise would be stealing.

A similar thing happens from time to time at the grocery store. Just yesterday the cashier didn't notice that I had a 24-pack of bottled water on the bottom of the cart, and she didn't ring it up. I told her and she was grateful. I don't know whether mistakes come out of a cashier's pay or not.

Obviously the OP was dealing with a much larger amount of money, but the principle is the same.

I firmly believe that you get back what you put into the world, one way or another. If nothing else, honesty is great for a good night's sleep.
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Old 06-06-2015, 12:17 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
You steal the cheap items if they don't scan? Sure, there's little chance of getting caught (camera shows you tried, "I thought I heard a beep" . . .) but, c'mon.

Leaving it right there (or handing to the attendant with a comment) sends the message ("your scanner sucks") and drives it home (somebody has to restock the abandoned items). If I wanted the item so much that I wouldn't abandon it, then it seems right to pay for it.
Well, it rarely happens... and when I have brought it up they take a bit of time to fix the problem... yep, I steal it... I want it which is why I was trying to buy it....

But I have seen some meat that has priced incorrectly.... by a big amount (maybe $20).... it actually scanned... I noticed and told them about it....

Yep, a small thief... but hey, we are all in some way or other... have you ever found that you had kept someone's pen before.... did you go back and give it to them?....

What if you did not catch the incorrect price on the meat above until you were home.... would you go back to the store and pay them the difference?? Probably not...

And say they did not put something you bought in your bag? Would you go back to the store demanding to get it? I have left this alone before figuring that it is not worth the time, gas and effort to get it unless it was a costly item.... does that make them a thief?

No moral dilemma IMO....
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Old 06-06-2015, 12:20 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Calico View Post
In the past, before all my banking was online, I occasionally received too much money from a teller. I always brought it to their attention. Years later I heard that if they made a mistake, it came out of their pay. I didn't know that at the time - it's just the way I was raised. To do otherwise would be stealing.

A similar thing happens from time to time at the grocery store. Just yesterday the cashier didn't notice that I had a 24-pack of bottled water on the bottom of the cart, and she didn't ring it up. I told her and she was grateful. I don't know whether mistakes come out of a cashier's pay or not.

Obviously the OP was dealing with a much larger amount of money, but the principle is the same.

I firmly believe that you get back what you put into the world, one way or another. If nothing else, honesty is great for a good night's sleep.


Unless you are talking a very long time ago, the lost money does not come out of their pay... however, if they have less money on a regular basis then they will be let go...
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Old 06-06-2015, 06:48 AM   #10
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Been there, done that. When I was a teenager I shoplifted a few things but not since. I have felt the occasional brief flash of temptation but the golden rule is firmly imbedded in my consciousnesses. It often brightens the day for the recipient of your fair play which is also satisfying.
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Old 06-06-2015, 08:16 AM   #11
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Okay give me some imput in this situation, I'm at the Red Card store and had some small items. I also have some of their gift cards they always pass out like candy when you buy things.

I had a bunch that had little amounts on them and was just wanting to zero them out and move on. Also had a VISA little rebate card. I run thru 2 or 3 small transactions just so I knew when the cards were empty and I could toss them. The cashier was really nice, midweek and no lines. After I got home and unloaded my stuff, I realized there was one bag with about 7 bucks worth of stuff that didn't show up on any receipt. She was ringing up and I was looking for gift cards, so I never noticed.

IF I noticed in line, I would have paid. I didn't want to go back and use the service counter because I was worried it would be a black mark for her and part of it was my doing with the multiple GC so I didn't go back to the store.
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Old 06-06-2015, 10:59 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Cricky View Post
Why do you think this is a "moral dilemma"? The ethical choice is immediately obvious to everyone, including you. There's no "moral" argument that supports taking advantage of someone. Of course that's true got TP's examples too, but....
Agreed. No dilemma here. What's right is right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calico View Post
In the past, before all my banking was online, I occasionally received too much money from a teller. I always brought it to their attention. Years later I heard that if they made a mistake, it came out of their pay. I didn't know that at the time - it's just the way I was raised. To do otherwise would be stealing.

A similar thing happens from time to time at the grocery store. Just yesterday the cashier didn't notice that I had a 24-pack of bottled water on the bottom of the cart, and she didn't ring it up. I told her and she was grateful. I don't know whether mistakes come out of a cashier's pay or not.

Obviously the OP was dealing with a much larger amount of money, but the principle is the same.

I firmly believe that you get back what you put into the world, one way or another. If nothing else, honesty is great for a good night's sleep.
I had a similar issue here in Mexico a few months ago. Went to the grocery store nearby and bought a couple of small items and paid with a large bill, for here anyway, a $500 peso note. I also gave the checkout girl a few coins so that I would get all bills for change. This flustered her as she didn't seem to understand why I was doing this or couldn't figure out the right change. Tried to explain it to her buy mi Espanol es muy mal and she spoke no English so we couldn't get on the same page. So she gives me my change and I head home where I soon realized she had gotten so flustered that she gave me back $400 pesos too much which is about $27. I went back over there and went to the service desk to explain what happened and give them the money back. The lady working the desk spoke a little English but she didn't understand what I was saying. Another gentleman walking by overheard what was going on and offered to help since he was fluent in both English and Spanish. He explained to her what happened and that I wanted to return the $400 pesos. He said she was confused because nobody had ever done that before. They went to the teller and closed her lane and did an audit of the drawer. Surprise, it was $400 short. I gave the money to the teller and she started crying. I had not noticed earlier that she was pregnant. I asked what was wrong and they said she was grateful because she could have been fired or had the money taken out of her paycheck and she couldn't afford either with the baby on the way. Keep in mind that minimum wage here is about $5 PER DAY so that was about a week's wages for her. Glad I realized the mistake and corrected it.
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Old 06-06-2015, 11:43 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
Well, it rarely happens... and when I have brought it up they take a bit of time to fix the problem... yep, I steal it... I want it which is why I was trying to buy it....

But I have seen some meat that has priced incorrectly.... by a big amount (maybe $20).... it actually scanned... I noticed and told them about it....

Yep, a small thief... but hey, we are all in some way or other... have you ever found that you had kept someone's pen before.... did you go back and give it to them?....

What if you did not catch the incorrect price on the meat above until you were home.... would you go back to the store and pay them the difference?? Probably not...

And say they did not put something you bought in your bag? Would you go back to the store demanding to get it? I have left this alone before figuring that it is not worth the time, gas and effort to get it unless it was a costly item.... does that make them a thief?

No moral dilemma IMO....
I'm with Texas Pride on this one. If I try to scan something (that's cheap) several times and it wont scan and the self serve cashier person is busy, its going in my bag. Its not my fault they use cheap equipment that doesnt work half the time. I'm not going to stand there and wait while the one self serve cashier person is busy with all the other self scan registers that aren't working well either. It probably saves Walmart money in the long run to lose $1 on my item instead of having the cashier be tied up again.
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Old 06-06-2015, 11:57 AM   #14
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... I gave the money to the teller and she started crying. I had not noticed earlier that she was pregnant. I asked what was wrong and they said she was grateful because she could have been fired or had the money taken out of her paycheck and she couldn't afford either with the baby on the way. Keep in mind that minimum wage here is about $5 PER DAY so that was about a week's wages for her. Glad I realized the mistake and corrected it.
Would be very bad karma if one cheated a poor inexperienced cashier. I am not religious, but would not be surprised if there's a special place in hell for such a person.
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Old 06-06-2015, 12:03 PM   #15
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The last time we were in SF, we had dinner at a French bistro. They undercharged our bill by missing one dish. When I pointed out the error to the waiter, he was surprised and said it usually went the other way, meaning the customers would argue about being overcharged.

I could have kept silent, and the mistake would not hurt the restaurant all that much, but it would not feel right. Both my wife and I agreed that it would be bad karma, and at least the experience would tell the waiter that not all people are cheaters.
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Old 06-06-2015, 12:08 PM   #16
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I'm with Texas Pride on this one. If I try to scan something (that's cheap) several times and it wont scan and the self serve cashier person is busy, its going in my bag. Its not my fault they use cheap equipment that doesnt work half the time. I'm not going to stand there and wait while the one self serve cashier person is busy with all the other self scan registers that aren't working well either. It probably saves Walmart money in the long run to lose $1 on my item instead of having the cashier be tied up again.
If I did that I would be paranoid. The stress wouldn't be worth it. I would just press the help button and scan my other items. If they kept me waiting for service way too long and I didn't have a cart full of shopping, I would cancel the transaction and leave empty handed. I might stop at customer service on the way out to let them know why.

Not quite a moral dilemma, but another shopping story:

About a year ago I bulk shopped with about 10 different coupons at my local drugstore. The nice lady at the checkout became totally confused. I guess her math skills were not great and she was having a bad day. As the queue behind me got longer, I tried to explain in simple terms, but she was now in a state of panic and couldn't process anything. She called the supervisor, who got another checkout line flowing and began methodically reviewing each transaction with the frazzled clerk. Being ER, I was not in a hurry and just behaved as calmly and pleasantly as possible, trying not to feed into the poor clerk's now full blown anxiety attack.

After 20 minutes of this the supervisor made an executive decision and rewarded my patience by doubling the rewards on all the coupons. I purchased almost $100 of goods for practically nothing. I saw the supervisor taking the anxious clerk off duty. I hope she took her to the staff room and gave her a strong cup of tea. I do wonder how long she lasted in that job.
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Old 06-06-2015, 12:16 PM   #17
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The last time we were in SF, we had dinner at a French bistro. They undercharged our bill by missing one dish. When I pointed out the error to the waiter, he was surprised and said it usually went the other way, meaning the customers would argue about being overcharged.

I could have kept silent, and the mistake would not hurt the restaurant all that much, but it would not feel right. Both my wife and I agreed that it would be bad karma, and at least the experience would tell the waiter that not all people are cheaters.
I play golf weekly and we have lunch afterwards. Recently I ordered fish tacos (mmm) with a bottle of sparkling water. The waiter forgot to put the beverage on my bill. When I brought it to his attention he checked with the manager, who said it would be on the house. We all felt good, and I will be a return customer. It pays to be honest.
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Old 06-06-2015, 12:19 PM   #18
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The last time we were in SF, we had dinner at a French bistro. They undercharged our bill by missing one dish. When I pointed out the error to the waiter, he was surprised and said it usually went the other way, meaning the customers would argue about being overcharged.

....
We had a similar experience a couple weeks ago when we took our visiting son to a high end tequila bar/restaurant, where our waiter was one of the bartenders. Check came out over $50 light--he missed a round of drinks (one of which was a tasting flight).

Great expression on his face when I asked him if he liked us so much that he comped that round. :-)
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Old 06-06-2015, 12:21 PM   #19
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If I did that I would be paranoid. The stress wouldn't be worth it. I would just press the help button and scan my other items. If they kept me waiting for service way too long and I didn't have a cart full of shopping, I would cancel the transaction and leave empty handed. I might stop at customer service on the way out to let them know why.

Not quite a moral dilemma, but another shopping story:

About a year ago I bulk shopped with about 10 different coupons at my local drugstore. The nice lady at the checkout became totally confused. I guess her math skills were not great and she was having a bad day. As the queue behind me got longer, I tried to explain in simple terms, but she was now in a state of panic and couldn't process anything. She called the supervisor, who got another checkout line flowing and began methodically reviewing each transaction with the frazzled clerk. Being ER, I was not in a hurry and just behaved as calmly and pleasantly as possible, trying not to feed into the poor clerk's now full blown anxiety attack.

After 20 minutes of this the supervisor made an executive decision and rewarded my patience by doubling the rewards on all the coupons. I purchased almost $100 of goods for practically nothing. I saw the supervisor taking the anxious clerk off duty. I hope she took her to the staff room and gave her a strong cup of tea. I do wonder how long she lasted in that job.
That's nice that you were so patient, as entering coupons should be SOP for anybody working at a grocery store. Hard to believe no one noticed she had issues before she got her own till.

Some people just aren't meant to work retail, my sister had her 3 granddaughters at a Build a Bear, the oldest one has a different Dad due to a high school romance gone wrong. They do not like alike, so it's pretty obvious. The bear assembler stated saying to the 6 year old, Are you sure your sisters, you don't look anything alike, is your
Dad the mailman and your Dad the UPS driver, gosh you look so different.

My DS immediately got the manager and said I want a different assistant, because she is making uncalled for personal remarks to the kids. The manager switched out the worker and then kept telling my sister the woman didn't know she was being offensive, but of course she would "talk to her" about the problem.
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Old 06-06-2015, 12:33 PM   #20
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You done right...

Always take advantage of the opportunity to do right by others, regardless of how small or insignificant the gesture or deed.

In the Karma cafe there are no menus. You will get served what you deserve.
+1

I just can't see taking money out of the mouths of the families of hard working tradesmen or waiters, who did what I paid for them to do and were probably too tired afterwards to get the charges right.

Now, if the job wasn't done right, I might have a bone to pick with them. But not pay them at all for services they genuinely provided? Where's the honor in that? That's just SO not me.
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