How honest are you?

Last fall I was with my oldest grandson.  He had spent the night as Jason and Nikki had a baseball tournament.  It was also the weekend of my granddaughters birthday.  I wanted to take Bailey to get him a new pair of shoes and wanted to let him pick out his own gift for Trinity.  It was pouring rain and it felt more like October than late August.  We went shopping and got everything done but were at a very high risk of barely getting there on time.  We were both hungry so I stopped at McDonald’s.  Even just going through the drive through, I got drenched.  Bailey ordered a Happy Meal with chicken nuggets.  So, we are just starting for home and he said “grandma, there are no nuggets in there” so I asked him if it was okay with him if he just had my hamburger and he said it was.  We continued on our happy way.

Later at the party, I reached into my jeans because I felt something in there.  I never put things in my pants pockets and wondered why it felt funny.  I had shoved my change in there.  I took it out and there was $13 and some loose change and I just stood there with a weird feeling.  I had given her a $10 and she gave me change for a $20.  My immediate response was that of sadness that I didn’t count my change before I left.  I would never had taken that money.  I wouldn’t even have given it a second thought about keeping it and to this day, I feel bad for that cashier.  They are all just young kids trying to earn spending money.  I thought about going back but by then I even wondered if that young girl was working or if she’d get in trouble.  It was pouring rain and I was at my granddaughters birthday party.  I wasn’t going to leave.  Then I thought, I didn’t even get my chicken nuggets, I’m not going back.  Stupid rationale I know but I did feel bad.

But…….I still did feel bad.  Then later on, maybe two weeks later there was a special on the news about “honesty and giving back money if you were given to much change” and it so fit and I felt bad all over again.  It showed honesty and it showed terrible greed.  One man was given $5 to much change and he RAN out of the store and the TV camera’s were trying to talk to him and he literally ran to his car and wouldn’t talk to them.  I have tried for two hours to find that so you could see it but it was jut to long ago.  Here are what some people have to say on the subject.  Some people at the party acted like I won the lottery.

What would you do?

This entry was posted in choices, emotions, fairness, fast food, feelings, forgivness, honesty, people, respect, responsibility, thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to How honest are you?

  1. SKL says:

    Well, I pride myself on being an honest person, but I don’t think I’ve ever been asked to define honesty before.

    In the case you are describing, the clerk made a mistake. It was HER mistake and YOU are not at fault for not realizing it right away. If you had realized it in time to fix the problem right then and there, of course you should have done it. If not, the question is, is there a harm done that requires your action to undo it? The cashier is going to get in trouble for having miscounted the change, no matter what. McDonalds – are they going to suffer a loss? First of all, cashiers are just as likely to give back too little change as too much, and both are just as likely to go unnoticed until it’s too late, so it probably comes close to netting zero. Secondly, I promise that McDonalds has already budgeted for these types of errors, and reported them in their earnings, and even taken a tax deduction for them. Thirdly, would the kids at McD’s even know what to do if you took back the money? There isn’t a button on the register’s computer screen for that. Would it go back into McD’s coffers at all? And finally, when you’re talking about McD’s, your net $5 windfall creates about as much pain as a dry leaf landing on your arm. Less, actually. By the time you gave it back, you might end up spending more than $5 in gas money. Not to mention the health affects of the stress you are going through over this omission. Good Heavens. Give the money to charity – or if you consider it an “ill-gotten gain,” use it for something evil like paying taxes or a political contribution.

    Honesty to me is following these principles: be straightforward; give value for value; don’t take advantage of another’s vulnerabilities; own up to your mistakes; give each side a fair hearing before judging, acting, or reporting; don’t allow your statements of “fact” to be distorted by an agenda. Honesty isn’t a single act, but a mindset. You can be “honest” and still keep that $5 (just this once!).

  2. TiredMom says:

    We went to lowes one time to buy tile for our floor in our bathroom. The cashier rang up our purchases and told us our total was like 114$. I looked at all we had and asked her again if she was SURE she had rang up EVERYTHING. she looked at everythign we had and she said,”yep” so I paid her the money we owed her. Once we got home I looked at my receipt and she had only charged us for 2 tiles not 2 boxes of tiles. Our total would ahve been over 200$. I felt bad but I damn sure wasn’t driving 45 minutes back to the store when she said she was sure and I asked her to double check. Now if its somethign I notice while at the place I do the right thing..

  3. Eric says:

    I really like this question because I think I saw the same thing that joy did. More importantly I think yes it was the person at mcds fault and not your fault and if you would have noticed you would have givin it back. Think of it like this you find twenty dollars on the side walk would you put signs if you lost twenty dollars call this number. I think that the most important thing is that you have the conscious to know that it is wrong and that next time you might check. I saw a thing on dateline and they were giving to much money back to customers to see what they would do. There was this one guy who noticed but he paced back and forth for a while thinking about it and then finally went back up there and told her she had given him to much money. When they interviewed him and asked why it took him so long he said that he was a struggling single father and the money could have helped him but he couldn’t tell his kids not to steal when he did and that he had to set the example for his kids. I though that was awsome and what dateline did was great to they gave him a years worth of grociers free. I think that SKL definition of honesty was the best.

  4. TEssa says:

    You’re a good person Joy!! I like SKL’s def too! Honesty is a mindset and in the actions you take.

  5. Jane says:

    I am also a very honest person and would have given the money back without thought if I caught it right away. If it were in my “town,” if you call where I live a town, I would take it back but if I had to travel, I probably would have just been more careful in the future to count my change right then and there. I live an hour away from a McDonald’s and wouldn’t even consider taking it back. I agree with SKL that it’s probably in the budget for mistakes like this and it is no way a reflection on you.

  6. spillay says:

    Hi Joy. This is a very good question. No doubt, being given wrong change is a very common scenario. Sometimes you get more,… sometimes you get less. Due to the circumstances surrounding each occasion (eg. heavy rain in your case), it is always not possible to notice the “mistake” straightaway. So, the way I see it is…”OK. I’ve been given less/more change today. The cosmic will balance this “mistake” in its own way in due time. And because I trully believe this – I can move on with life without worrying about whether that makes me honest or not.”

    The other thing to remember is big businesses, such as McDonalds have “provisions” for these kind of mistakes made by their staff members. In fact, they expect these mistakes to happen – so they account for them. As for the staff concerned,….. she/he is only human and mistakes are bound to be made. Giving out the wrong change is just another learning experience for them,..which usually makes them more aware in the future. Just think of it this way – you had become a part of their learning process on this occasion 🙂

  7. Jennifer says:

    Joy,
    I don’t have to tell you about the clerk at McD’s….it seems that others have described it so well…totally not your fault.

    Like Jason said, you wouldn’t put up a sign if you found a $20 in the street.

    If I catch myself being given too much change, or like TiredMom said, not being charged for something during the transaction then I will certainly correct the situation. I’ll return the change, or make sure the correct items are charged.

    With that said though, I’ve also had the reverse happen on numerous occasions. When you drive home and discover the missing part of your McDonald’s order, the items missing from your shopping bag, or the things you WERE charged for or OVERCHARGED for but didn’t receive etc. Sometimes I’ll go back to the store if it’s a large ticket item, but most of the time I never do.

    I guess what I’m saying is you’d never see McDonald’s add money to your debit card after you leave because they realized they neglected to give you part of your order. 🙂

    I’m going to guess in the end everything comes out just about even.

    NOW…if I find a wallet in the street belonging to an actual person then I would definitely turn it in without question. I’ve had enough people over the years find things that belonged to me and return them that I would do the same.

  8. Joy says:

    Jennifer, that wasn’t Jason. WE GOT ANOTHER MAN on here….Hip, hip hooray!!! It’s my Navy nephew Eric.

  9. Joy says:

    Oh My God, I walked away and realized I just called Eric a man!!!! I think I need to go have a beer!!!

    Just kidding Eric, love ya 🙂

  10. SKL says:

    That is funny about men and blogging. Maybe it’s just the sites I frequent, but why do I see relatively fewer men out there?

    I am on an adoption forum where there are thousands of married women, hundreds of single women, a couple dozen married men – and only ONE single adoptive dad. Needless to say, all the single women are AFTER this guy without even knowing what he looks like. He has to protect himself constantly! Poor guy.

  11. Joy says:

    I think it’s because men are more nervous about talking about feelings and to give an opinion, it’s about what you think and how you feel.

  12. pam says:

    Good ?.I always double check everything.I live in a small town,have to drive somewhere for everything.If a mistake was made,I wont drive back.But if I am still there,I will be honest.

  13. Ali says:

    I don’t feel it’s cheating or stealing given the situation you described. You were getting rained on and were in a hurry and you didn’t even get your whole order. I wouldn’t feel bad if I were you. I also think McDonald’s accounts for mistakes like this. I would return the money if I was there and noticed. I may even hold on to it for the next time I went there but I wouldn’t make a special trip.

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