A puzzling dilemma, part 2

I know you must be dying to know what my friend’s friend did about the puzzle book she accidentally stole from the store last week. (If you are new to this blog, go here to see the story: http://tinyurl.com/yzu4jty.

Before I tell you, let me say that I was very impressed with the comments I received about what she should do. The results are 50/50. Some of you believe she should take the book back and pay, others said not to bother.

I’ve been pondering this moral dilemma. Honestly, I do not think it would be that big a deal if my friend’s friend did not take the book back. If she were my friend, I would not think any less of her if she chose to do nothing. Now, I would certainly feel differently if she had stolen it on purpose or if her actions hurt anyone, say, if the employee of the store lost his job or, if it was a small mom and pop store that would miss the dollar associated with that inventory.

Once I got to thinking about it, I realized that, for me, there are degrees of culpability. Do you remember back in the early 90s when the movie, “Indecent Proposal,” came out? Everyone had an opinion on whether it was wrong for Demi Moore to have sex with Robert Redford for a million dollars.  People debated the morality of being married and having sex outside the marriage. Some argued that it is a sin. Others said that since her husband agreed to it, that it was ok. So, I guess the first question is whether or not you believe there was a moral lapse on the part of this couple. Apparently, it would have been worse, if she did this behind Woody Harrelson’s back. And, what about the amount of money involved? I remember quite a few people saying they would have sex with Robert Redford for a million bucks. But, what if the amount was a lot less? Would they do it for $10,000? What if wasn’t Redford, but someone much more distasteful to the eyes? Would it take 2 million to do it then?

If there aren’t degrees of culpability, then one could argue that if a couple would do this for a million dollars, they would also do it for a dollar. 

So what does this have to do with my friend’s friend? Nothing, really. I’m told she carried the book into the store unnoticed, got in line and paid for it. No questions were asked, so she didn’t offer any explanations. It made her feel right, somehow. So I am told.


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 truth, 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.