Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Ethics 101

I know everyone is probably just as tired of Christmas as I am.  That being said, I do have one little holiday story I've been meaning to share.

To protect myself, I will neither confirm nor deny the details.

Okay, so imagine it's Christmas Eve.  Mom hasn't finished her shopping yet, so she arms me with some cash and her list and I head out to London to get things done.  First stop, a very popular toy store in London.  I wander around the store and get what we need - a play kitchen with food, stocking stuffers, a Leapfrog toy, some other little stuff and a Wii.  The Wii was going to be a family gift.  Mom had been going back and forth trying to decide whether to get one or not and finally decided to bite the bullet.

So I grab what I need and head into the electronics department to collect the Wii.  Luckily, there's one left sitting the shelf.  Perfect.  I head up to the register to check out, the register in the electronics department.  As I hand the items over to the young cashier boy, I start into my usual routine in a store.  That is, I start rambling like a crazy person.  For some reason, I'm overly chatty with cashiers.  True story - a cashier at Chapters gave me some Hunger Games temporary tattoos the other day because I wouldn't stop talking about his Mockingjay pin.

Anyway, I'm babbling away to this kid as he scans the items.  Then he launches into the sales pitch for the extended warranty.  I figure why not, give me the 2 year warranty.  I don't usually buy into them, but I figure with Mom and the foster kids and grandkids, who knows what might happen.  At least this way if someone drop kicks it or throws up on it, we can get a new one.

So he rings everything up - "That'll be $201.47.  Wow!  You did really well!"

Of course I immediately know something is wrong.  The Wii was $150.  The warranty was $25.  The kitchen was $100, then there was all the little stuff.  I figured the kitchen must have rung up wrong, but didn't want to say anything.  Plus I was kind of in a fog with the whole shopping on Christmas Eve thing, so I just swipe my debit card and think I'll figure it out later.  He gets the little flyer about the extended warranty, grabs my receipt and stresses how important it is to keep the receipt because I'll need it if anything is ever wrong with the Wii.

I grab my receipt and book it out of the store.  No issues with any sensors or alarms.  Load the stuff in my car and sit down to look at the receipt.

You guys, he didn't scan the Wii.  He took off the security cable and didn't scan it.  At least, that's what he did if this is in fact a true story...

So I do what any other practical, educated, responsible 29 year-old would do.

I call my Mom.

"Mom, I just left the store."
"Oh, okay.  How did you make out?"
"I'm having a moral dilemma."
"What?  Why?"
"The kid didn't scan the Wii!  I kind of just stole a Wii!"
"What? - She starts imitating that IKEA commercial - Start the car!  Start the car!"
"Seriously, I'm sitting in the parking lot and I don't know what to do!  I just looked at the receipt and realized what happened!" (I proceed to tell my mom the whole rambling story)
"Well, you didn't really do anything wrong, it was his mistake.  And he even looked at the total, he should have realized something was off."
"I really don't want to go back in there.  But what if it comes off his pay?  They won't be able to track it or anything will they?"
"Honestly, I think it's fine.  You're the best Christmas Eve shopper ever!  You're doing this every year!"
"Okay, I'm just going to go.  There's no rule that says I had to check the receipt before leaving.  I could have just looked at home and then it would have been too late!"
"Just finish the list.  I think you're fine."

And that, my friends is how I kind of sort of stole a Wii this year at Christmas.

Or did I???


Rita said...

It was meant to go home with you...and if your religious...say a prayer and you'll be fine :)

Sara said...

Some how that happens to my mom at Christmas too...one year it was a dvd player and one time a digital camera. This year it was a Wii Game. It has even happened not at Christmas, she bought a patio set a couple of years ago and the only rang up 2 of the 6 chairs! I would have done the same thing - Merry Christmas to you!

Anonymous said...

As long as it was a big store, I would have done the same thing. My ethics only go so far as if it was a small independent store I would have gone back in. Happy xmas!

Dan Brown said...

I agree with serviceiscentral. If it was a big retailer, then don't sweat it. If it was an independent retailer, be honest. Yes, I'm using situational ethics. Sue me.

ashlie said...

Oh yes, it was a large, large retailer. They may or may not have a backwards "R" in their name.

Greg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg said...

While I certainly find no fault in your actions, I must say I probably would have said something as soon as I saw the total. Especially when, as you point out, it was so clearly off. If it had been $30 or so I might not have noticed one way or the other but when the total is off by $150 (assuming you didn't get the Wii on sale) I think I'd pick up on that pretty quick. You basically paid half of the value of your purchases :)

Good for you though. I'm sure either a) one missed Wii won't hurt their bottom line too much or b) the "I'm only here for seasonal work" employee won't suffer too much.

(I deleted my first post because I made an annoying typo that HAD to be fixed)