While listening to Glenn Beck this morning (my guilty indulgence while at work), I heard a story that made me wonder what in the world is wrong with people. There was a gas station out in California that had a defective pump that was only charging $1 per gallon of gas. Nobody bothered to alert the store (and how they didn’t realize that something was wrong when people were only getting $16 and $18 worth of gas, I don’t know) and so this went on for I don’t know how long. When it was finally discovered that the pump price was wrong the store owner had lost $21,000 in revenue. Can you imagine?! I’m sure that the people who were pumping gas felt like they were sticking it to the oil company (Mobile, Shell, Chevron, etc), but that’s not how it works. The oil company had already been paid for the gas that was in the ground at the station. It was the owner of the station who was having to absorb the loss. Just the thought of it makes me sick.

What upsets me even more, though, is the fact that NONE of these people felt like they should bring this problem to the attention of the store. Did their parents not teach them the difference between right and wrong? Were they not constantly reminded of the Golden Rule? When I was growing up my mother was constantly telling me, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I heard it so often that I cringed when she would start to say it. Just like I would when she would start singing, “Buckle up for safety, always buckle up!” Anyway, my parents raised me to do the right thing. My sister used to tell me that I was a goody two-shoes and that I was Miss Perfect, but I was just trying to live by the code that my parents had instilled in me.

I actually had my own little moral dilemma this past summer. I had done some shopping at one of the chain drug stores and I managed to do really well. I bought a lot of stuff and didn’t have to pay too much due to coupons. I was excited! Until I took a closer look at my receipt. The pharmacist had cashed me out and he had credited my order too much for one of the coupons. Instead of $1.50 off, he put in $15. Now, I used to work for this drug store when I was in high school and they hadn’t treated me very well. I also knew this pharmacist and what a jerk he could be, so on one hand I felt that it was their fault and I should take advantage of their mistake. After all, were they really going to miss the difference? The voice in my head had barely finished that sentence before the voice of Reason was shouting, “Of course they are going to miss the difference! When the drawer comes up short at the end of the day somebody is going to be written up and possibly lose their job.” I knew what I had to do. The next day after work I stopped by the store (despite the fact that it was out of my way) and talked to the manager. I told her what had happened and that I wanted to make it right and pay the extra that I owed. She had never been in this situation before so she had to call up somebody to ask them how she would do that. They had never heard of anybody doing that before, either. It’s not hard to do the right thing. More people should try it.

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1 Response to Morality

  1. Jamie says:

    It does amaze me on a regular basis how little people understand about how things work. I read a great line in "No He Can't" that flat out says "Businesses don't pay taxes. They either pass the cost on to consumers or they go out of business." You can't punish or scam a business or corporate entity by abusing the people you have access to. All you'll end up doing is beating on someone just like you who's struggling to get by and doing the best they can. Much better to take your advice and just do the right thing!

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