Over yonder on Very Josie's Blog she posed a question that I thought was going to be quick and easy but I found out I wanted to write more about.
It's a simple question. You make some purchases from a store and then when you get home and go over your receipt you notice that they forgot to charge you for something. What do you do? Score one for the good guys? Go back and pay?
Everyone is out for themselves and we are all being ripped off by outrageous prices anyways. It was not my mistake, I didn't hide the item. They failed to ring it up, I'll accept it as a discount on my purchase.
This is the way I want to react. However, it's not that simple in my mind any longer.
When I was young. Shit yeah, I'll take advantage of anything thrown my way. I'll even create an advantage if possible. I was young, dumb and none of it was my problem.
One big example of this was a local (non-chain) comic shop that I used to frequent when I lived in Punxsutawney. It was run but a couple of guys who I wasn't a big fan of but I really didn't hold anything against them. They sold stuff that I really liked and made it so that I didn't have to go to a bigger city in order to buy it. Beavis and Butt-Head comics, collectible cards and the like.
At the time I was into collecting Ren and Stimpy cards and so I went through a lot of the loose cards that they had figuring out which cards I needed to complete my set and which cards I just wanted doubles of because they were cool. After about 30 minutes or so I came up to the register with about 60 cards fully intending on purchasing them.
The clerk (one of the owners) went through the cards and looked up the values for them and after a few minutes he came back to me with a price and I said "sounds good to me man."
Next thing you know his register popped open and he handed me the money that he quoted me and put the cards under his register.
My teenage brain gave myself a series of hi-fives because I just pulled off the ultimate heist. I just sold this guys own cards back to himself and got to leave the store with money - which I would just come back and buy the cards I wanted on another day anyways.
A few years later in life in the same town they opened up a Sheetz Gas Station - and if you have never been to one you are missing out. They are the greatest place in the world and they serve some really damned good food. I am particularly fond of the chilly cheese dogs that they used to sell pretty damned cheap. In fact, I almost lived off of them for a summer and for FREE. Their mistake, my gain.
What had happened was, I would order my food and then stand around with my ticket waiting for them to call my number. When they did I would go up to them with my cash in hand and my ticket, they would hand me my food and then turn around and walk away. I was not one to complain so I left with my food happy as a hooker getting a tip.
My mistake was that I was evidently was supposed to go pay for my food in between the ordering and the collecting process. Their mistake was to assume that I knew that. I did not and thus I got a lot of free food. :)
However, I have now worked in retail for the past decade and I understand how every lost/broke/stolen/missing item affects the whole ecosystem. I have worked in big box retail where small disappearances don't mean a whole lot but they do add up over time. I have worked in small chain's as well where every penny counts.
When I get older one of my goals in life is to open up a small retail store that caters to people like me and with that in mind I really don't want people ripping me off in any way what-so-ever.
So, back to my original thought process way at the top of this page, If I were in a situation where I got home with "extra" product that I had not paid for I would rectify the situation.
I would either go back to the store to pay for the item or I would call up their support line and let them know what happened and then ask them how they would like me to pay for the item. I'd offer over the phone via bank card.
I feel that is the right thing to do for myself and hope that I receive a lot of good karma for it in the future.
This is really the way my parents raised me and it is how I shall carry on.
One last story to the last point that I just made.
My parents were eating at a local restaurant (big chain) and after their meal they were enjoying a few cups of coffee before leaving.
Someone ended up calling a bomb threat into the place and so the management team went around to everyone and told them all that they would have to leave at this very moment because a situation had come up.
So my mom tells me that the next day she pulled out the bill (they had already received it and just had not paid yet) and wrote the check out, with tip, and sent it into the place with a note explaining that it was not paid for because the place had to be evacuated.
I made fun of her to no end for this at the time telling her she should have taken her free lunch.
Now, I look back on that situation and hope that if I am ever confronted with something similar I will make the same decision that she did.
I know this was a lot to read so I thank anyone who actually made it the whole way through and hope that it all made some sort of sense because I cannot be bothered to go back and proof read.