Saturday, July 25, 2009

Day 206.

I am grateful I did the right thing.

Thanks to my parents, who raised me with a good ethical head on my shoulders. Sometimes I want to forget I have ethics, and just do the most convenient thing for me. But then I think, "What would Clark do?"

This is in no way supposed to demean or undermine the popular phrase, "What would Jesus Do?" In fact, I am a fan of thinking that as well, and probably in a way they go hand in hand (not to idolize my dad, just saying Jesus would probably choose the ethical way as well, don't ya think?). But I think about my dad all because of a certain summer in high school when my best friend and I had our own lawn mowing "business" for a summer. It was such an easy job - and we made quite a lot of money doing it, while working only one-two days per week. It was sweet. But, I'll always remember that come March of the next year, my dad reminded me I had to claim those cash earnings on my tax return. WHAT?!?! I ended up forking over about $350 of my own money that month, and money I had already banked as MINE. It was a good lesson, and one I'll always remember. Do the right thing, no matter if no one will find out or not. I wasn't going to get audited, so what? It was still the right thing to do.

So, fast forward to today. I bought a doll for my daughter at my favorite boutique toy store here in the neighborhood. I love this toy store, and pretty much every toy we purchase comes from there. I am a loyal shopper.

The doll retailed for $34.99 and he charged me $15.99 for it (he typed in the wrong SKU number and it rang up as a doll's dress instead). I noticed the error as we were sitting outside the store having lunch in the courtyard. And I'll admit my humanness, I didn't want to tell them. I wanted to throw away the receipt and walk home and forget the error. On one hand I figured, it was their fault, so my luck, huh? But, as I said, I love this store. So why should I cheat them out of $20 that is theirs? It just wasn't fair, and it just wasn't ethical to not do the right thing.

So, I marched my kids and my enormous stroller back into the store and showed him the receipt. Without a word (seeming almost annoyed at ME) he took the receipt and went to the counter to check it out. Then, I heard him rudely call across the store, "Mam, $20.95."

I walked over to the counter, sure I would hear a "thank you so much for your honesty." or "My error, I'm sorry about that." or SOMETHING. But no, I gave him my credit card in silence and walked out. That was it.

I left the store feeling so sour. I wished with all my might I hadn't gone back in there to tell the truth. He didn't deserve my $20.95. And I was now pretty sure they didn't deserve my business at all.

I came home and immediately wrote the manager and owner letters telling them about my exchange. I just needed to tell someone, and I figured they should know that they had possibly just lost a loyal customer. And now, I do feel better. So, why am I grateful for doing the right thing?

Well, because even after that, I still know it was the right thing to do. Because Clark would have done it. And he probably wouldn't have even wanted them to thank him. You don't do the right thing to get credit, you just do it.


  1. Brava! I love your blog. Thanks for making HP a better place to live for us all.

  2. Stephanie Goss PittmanJuly 28, 2009 at 4:05 PM

    Love your blog!! I've had the same moral dilemma before and have been disappointed when the clerk is as rude as yours was. I give you lots of credit for knowing you did the right thing even when the outcome wasn't so satisfying.