Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In good company

Every morning we listen to Mike & Mike on the radio on the way to work. This morning, among other topics, they discussed how you would feel about the following:

1. A bank makes an error of $50,000 in your favor, and no one will ever know about you getting the money. Do you give it back?
2. A store rings up an expensive item incorrectly in your favor, do you alert them?
3. You seen an old lady drop en envelope that you find has $500 in it, do you return it to her?

Mike and Mike were talking about it and said that it would be a hard decision to make in each of them (they were assuming for the sake of argument that they were living from paycheck to paycheck and in general needed money.)

I can not see how these three issues are even close to each other, even for the money needing folk. Here is what I think in reverse order.
3. Obviously give the money back, while this isn't stealing form the old lady it basically is, and it is defiantly the right thing to do. The loss of $500 will directly effect a person.

2. This is a bit tougher, for me it would depend on what store I am at, how much I like them and what the circumstances are. If it is at a store that has crazy sales all the time I would just shrug it off as a deal that I happened to miss. If it was at a locally owned store I would ask about the price. Walmart often rings up produce wrong, and sometimes I point it out sometimes I don't (even when the error is not in my favor).

1. If this situation was occurring to me it would completely matter which bank it was at, if it was one that I think tries it's best to do well such as BOk here in Tulsa or Community 1st in Manhattan (KS) I would tell them. How ever if the bank is stupid like Commerce or if the bank just got a gift for the government for being irresponsible (see bailout) I would keep it. And I would think nothing of it.

You see here is where I differ than many, I do not think that we should treat businesses like people. Why should we give them the benefit of being responsible people, when they will have no such care back to us. They are out to "make a buck" usually at any cost to us, so why should we not be out to get as much from them as we can? Should the screwing not be a two way street?

I do however think that there are some companies out there that are trying their hardest to be good and treat their customers like people, and in those cases I will also try back to help them out. But Walmart, cell phone companies (besides T-Mobile), banks, and insurance companies, you are on your own. How much work would we have to go through to get $50,000 that an insurance company did not pay out when they were supposed to?

Note, however, that reporting errors on their part is different than stealing. Going into a bank that I don't like at taking $50,000 or shoplifting is NOT the same thing as giving back something that they gave me in error. Even if companies want us to think that it is.

On the same note Target has dropped a notch in the "I care about them" category. I got Nicole a fancy food scale for her birthday that turned out to not work correctly (it was very difficult to get it to "tare"). We tried to take it back last night to get a different one but they wouldn't let us return it without the receipt because it cost too much. What would they say if they wanted back something that they rang up for me wrong but I wouldn't give it back because it cost too much. They wouldn't be too happy about it I would figure.


B.E. Earl said...

I would give back the money to the old lady, tell the store about their mistake and keep the money from the bank only if there was no way they would ever find out about it.

Which they would, so basically I wouldn't keep that money either.

Braveharte said...

Walmart (at least here) won't take things back without a receipt anymore. I guess it's because people were shoplifting items from the store and immediately taking them to the returns desk. I watched a guy get arrested for trying to return a drill he shoplifted. The clerk figured it was stolen because it was like -10 outside and the drill's box wasn't cold. I think most stores require a receipt for returns now.

Ookami Snow said...

I don't doubt it. But offering a replacement should have been an acceptable option for me. We wouldn't have taken it because I think the design of the scale is flawed, but at least that would have been an option.

The Gare Bear said...

Honesty is always the best policy. I think it's a crime against yourself not to be honest even when it hurts you financially. Sometimes it hurts bigtime to be honest. Can't claim any halos for myself, but generally if you are honest you feel good about yourself and others whereas if you are less than honest you don't feel good -- which may, in some sense, take a few ticks off your heart as you age. Sure, God cares, but you should care about yourself too.