What better time than the Holiday Season™ to wrestle with a consumer-related moral dilemma?  Let’s dive right in.

I shopped at the mall today—not my favorite activity.  But the Holiday Season™ waits for no one, and so I gave my credit card a workout.  At a department store I selected several items and prepared my credit card for further abuse.

A dim-looking young man welcomed me to the register and began scanning my items.  He had some trouble with his machinery, and the most expensive item failed to ring up, a detail he failed to notice.  When he was finished, he informed me that I owed him 25-something dollars—about a third of the true cost of my not-yet-purchased purchases. 

Any competent employee would have recognized that the items on the counter could not possibly cost only 25-something dollars.  But “competent” is not the word for this boy.  He had no clue.

I had to make a split-second decision: pretend to be equally clueless and walk out with a 50-something dollar item I had not paid for, or inform him of his error and cough up the money?

What do you think I did?  What would YOU do?






20 thoughts on “WWTRD?

  1. I think you told him, and I would tell him.  Once I got an extra $50 bill out of an ATM before there were very many ATMs.  It was from Bank One.  I tried to give it back and then they told me I had won the ATM giveaway!  Yay!

  2. You told him he missed something and were polite and non-judgemental at the time, and then fumed about the incompetance of this idiotic boy until you got home, and then were happy you had something to blog about. – Too on the nose?Tell me I’m wrong…

  3. In the middle of Holiday Shopping, I myself probably would not have noticed, even after I got home. By the same token, I probably would not have noticed if he had charged me twice.

  4. I am sure you told him and payed what you owed and enjoyed the sleep of the just this night. Not  the remotest doubt in my mind. I hope you’re having a good season. Your town has been in the news too much lately. Be well.

  5. Doesn’t anyone think I would grab the loot and scarper?  What have I done to convince you all I’m such a paragon of virtue?Damnit, you’re all right.  Macy’s ought to send me a reward of some sort, don’t you think? 

  6. Betting you pointed it out. I know I would of. Just like I would of pointed out an over charge if there was one.  btw I’m glad they will hire a dim person. It’s the snobs that get me.

  7. Dang it, I’m late and you’ve already answered.  But yes, my guess was that you were honest, because I would have been.  A buck or two is one thing, but you’d have felt guilty in this case.

  8. I’d have spent a few seconds trying to rationalize: (‘They owe me on all the inflated prices’) but to no avail. In the end, an example of simple honesty and concern, even for idiots, can change the world for the better. /And yes, the fact that you related the incident is a giveaway to the answer: thieves don’t often blog about their ill-gotten gains

  9. I have trouble with my machinery too, but I think it has to do with my age. You could have taken the item, sold it on eBay and given the money to refugees in Darfur, but I guess it’s probably easier to just let him know of his mistake.

  10. In today’s job market, I would’ve told him–it’s going to show up anyway, and jobs aren’t all that plentiful nowadays.  However, if he’d been an ass, a total slacker, and if I could think of at least 3 people who not only could do his job better, but actually NEEDED that job and would be ever so grateful, I just may let it slide.  I’m a horrible person–it depends on the sales clerk.As for what you did–I think you told him, and it may’ve been for the reason I gave (it’ll show up.)

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