A puzzling dilemma

I’d like your opinion on this little hypothetical story:

Let’s say one morning, you discover that you are about out of toothpaste and toilet paper and you decide you must make a trip to the store. You make a list of a handful of other cleaning products and paper goods that you are low on, dress as warm as you can as it is a frigid cold day and off you go.

This is not the book in question, although it looks quite similar.

After you check out, get the whole way across the parking lot, and empty the cart of your purchases in your trunk, you discover a puzzle book at the bottom of the cart that you had selected inside the store, but never gave to the cashier to ring up.

It registers in your mind that you had picked out this little puzzle book upon entering the store because it was on sale for one dollar. And, you know you didn’t pay for it.

You want the book, but you really don’t want to walk back across the lot into the store, to wait in line again to pay the cashier one measly dollar (with your credit card, no less, because you have no cash on you).

So, you throw it in your trunk and bring it home with the rest of your stuff.

Later, you contemplate what your actions really say about you.

So, what do you do? Do you take the book back to the store tomorrow, tell a little lie, like, “When I got home, I discovered this item wasn’t on my receipt?” (Gosh, you wouldn’t tell the , would you?) and pay the dollar OR just forget about it?

By the way, this story is not about me. This happened to a friend of a friend.


7 thoughts on “A puzzling dilemma

  1. Tell your “friend” to tell their “friend” to solve all the Sudoku Puzzles in the book. Leave a dollar in the book as a “bookmark”. Then return it to the shelf when nobody’s looking. That way you, I mean your “friend’s friend”, didn’t “steal” the Sudoku Book you, I mean your “friend’s friend”, only “borrowed” it. For a dollar.

  2. Cindy,

    This hypothetical situation is quite a test of our principles. What if the price had been only 25 cents? What if it had been just a penny?

    Whatever the price, I would know that I owe the store that amount, and I would have to find a way to pay it back. For $1, I might walk right back into the store immediately after discovering it (and then either pay for the book or put it back), or I might deal with it later.

    Carl Ingalls (@Carl_Ingalls on Twitter)

  3. A couple of Christmas’s ago, Kara and I had been shopping in Target. It’s easy to throw down big bucks in there because Target is my favorite discount store. Anyway, when we got to the car there was a sheet of Christmas labels on the bottom of my cart which I had not paid for. Yes, I kept them and, in fact, used them this year for packages! I am basically an honest person but I guess I have a little crook in me.

    When I was in sixth grade I stayed at a friend’s house and we went to the local grocery store and stole a bag of cinnamon hearts. I never felt so guilty!! And never intentionally stole again!

  4. I think I’d feel a bit guilty about keeping the puzzle book. While drinking that bottle of Jack and munching on those chips I’d also lifted.

    So you’ve embarked on this life of crime… destined to end up riddled with bullets on some side road in Louisiana; or the victim of a lunch mob somewhere (similar to a lynch mob, only hungrier).

  5. Hey there Cindy;

    Great scenario. It’s been said that “Integrity and honesty is what you do when no one is watching.” So, I would go back inside the store and buy the book right then. I also have another saying I tell people – You can never go wrong by doing what’s right.

    Have a great day!
    Dr. Rus

  6. Sure it was a friend of a friend…..If i were the friend i’d walk back across the parking lot and pay the cashier as well as pick up a lotto ticket. Karma will surely reward you for going the extra mile to do the right thing!

  7. I’d like to say that I would walk back and pay for it but honestly, I’d prolly just consider it collateral damage since it was only a dollar and forget about it.

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