No reward for found cell phone: would you be put off?

Person A finds an iPhone in a taxi cab and takes it on his way to a party at a bar. About 20 minutes later Person B, the cell phone’s owner, calls the phone, and after a little bit of telephone tag Persons A and B get in touch. Person B goes to meet up with Person A outside of A’s bar. When they meet, Person B takes the phone, shakes hands, and says thank you. Person A asks if there will not be anything for his trouble. Person B says he would like to, but pleads poverty.

If you were Person A, would you be put off? If so, would you express your displeasure?

He said thank you, didn’t he? And I didn’t even go out of my way.

The idea of a reward wouldn’t have even crossed my mind. Person A was a bit of a jerk for mentioning it.

Rewards should have been negotiated ahead of time. I would give someone a 10 or 20 for their trouble if I had lost my phone and it was returned, but I have found and returned many lost items with no expectation of reward. The person who lost the phone was a bit of a dick, but the finder was being kind of mercenary.

Relying on the kindness or generosity of strangers is a chancy proposition.

I found a friggin’ wallet once and brought it to the person full of cash, credit cards, checks, everything. Got nothing for it. I have to admit I was a little disappointed (yeah, I’m a terrible person for not just doing it out of the goodness of my heart but I actually personally delivered it to the person’s residence).

I did find a i-phone, and when the owner called it I returned it to the place where they’d reported it missing. I would never have dreamt of asking for a reward.

If I were person A it would have never crossed my mind to ask for something for having returned the phone. I find this rude, even more so since A didn’t have to do anything special to return the phone, since they met at the bar where A was.
I don’t mean I wouldn’t have thought “ooh it would be nice to get a reward!”, but I never would have said it.

The reward should be depending on if you’re going to be evil or not. Evil? Then you just scored a free iPhone! Good? Returning it give you warm fuzzies for doing a good deed. I would return it.

Hmm. A prize for not stealing something that doesn’t belong to you? A reward for being thoughtful enough to not put an unknown person through the stress of losing something of great value to them on more than just a fiscal level? A gratuity for “doing unto others…?” What a concept! One might think that the good deed was reward enough.

Ok, I was just checking. I was Person B. From the first time I talked to the guy he sounded a little annoyed/belligerent. Then I misheard him the first time and went to 49th St. instead of 29th St. Not wanting to spend money on a second cab (my being broke was no lie), I told him I’d walk down and be there in 20 minutes. He got pretty upset at this and told me it shouldn’t take 20 minutes to go from 49th to 29th, and that he was the one doing *me *a favor, remember? Ok, I’ll take a cab. So I get there, call him, he raises his hand and I head over. Skinny Asian guy, late 20s, glasses, dress shirt. I said my thank yous and took back the phone. He seemed really perplexed by my attempt to shake his hand. The first thing he said to me (not counting “Hey”) was, “So, don’t I get something for my effort?” – and not in a friendly, half-joking way. Most of the time I’d love to, I tell him (truthfully), but I’m really damn broke at the moment. He curses me out and storms back into the bar, at one point uttering the phrase “after all the effort I put in.”

Obviously he was an asshole, but I just wanted to see if my asshole behavior set him off.

I don’t know, doesn’t that sound like you’re holding the phone for ransom? That seems like the worst option (short of just keeping it, of course), since there’s no way I’m going to risk telling him no. If someone had done that I’d definitely want to bring a couple of guys with me.

As my friend who was with me at the time said: “Hey, remember that time I had the chance to steal from you but didn’t? Well now YOU owe ME a favor!”

Good lord, what a tool. No, you don’t owe him anything. A little money would’ve been nice, but after his attitude, I wouldn’t have been inclined to be nice to him, either.

Letting you know where your phone was was his obligation. If he didn’t want to stay at the bar, he could’ve left it with the bartender. He only stayed around hoping he’d make money off of it.

to return something that is lost is part of the social contract. To want a reward is human, to ask is gauche. To offer is nice, but not required.
Here endeth the epistle.

I would never ask, but just saying: If he has an iPhone, he’s either not poor or really stupid.

Or the the phone and contract were purchased in happier financial times.

Or, as in this case, the phone and contract constituted a very thoughtful gift from another.

I think the guy who found the phone was the much bigger dick here. From his behaviour it really sounds like he was only doing it for a possible reward, as opposed to doing the right thing and thinking “a minor reward” would be nice.

Personally, if doing the right thing takes very little effort on my part, I don’t even remotely expect a reward and will likely refuse it. Now, if it takes some serious expenditure of time, physical effort, or actually cost me something, then a minor reward seems much more appropriate.

There have been times where I’ve been the good samaritan while being pretty poor. In those situations, when a reward has been offered, I’d usually suggest something like a FEW dollars so I could treat myself to a hamburger or snack or drink.

I think the phone owner maybe should have told the phone finder to give it to the bartender since it was going to take him some time to get back to the bar.

He was a jerk but hey, he was less of a jerk than a guy who would just steal an iPhone. But you didn’t do anything wrong, just feel bad for him that he spends his free time being a jerk and trying to squeeze money out of people.

No, it wasn’t you, that guy was an asshole. No reward. Why would there be a reward? That’s for kids, to reinforce what the right thing to do is. A kid finds your wallet, you toss him something for the effort.

An adult returning your phone, with virtually no effort expended? If he wasn’t a tool (and assuming he didn’t put me off by asking for a reward), I probably would have said something like, “Hey, thanks again. How about a round on me?” If someone had to take a cab to meet me, I’d more than cover the expense (or any situation where there wasn’t some non-trivial inconvenience, an offer to cover the effort is appropriate, though I wouldn’t accept it). But this circumstance? Frankly, I don’t get the stray comments in this thread that suggest (in a non-demanding way) that a little money would be nice. Again, why in the world would this warrant a reward? For what, exactly? What is he, twelve?

I wouldn’t expect a reward and I wouldn’t think to give one unless someone had inconvenienced themselves to return it. If I had some cash at the bar I probably would have bought the person a drink or appetizer.

A kid I would have thought of a small reward. What ever happened to just being nice for the sake of being happy?

This interaction is exactly why I would have taken it to the cop shop when I went by it. No waiting for or obligation to the person that lost it. Had it been in a store they would have gotten the phone to deal with.

Which is enforced by the criminal law, at least in Scotland. In other words, keeping something valuable that you find is actually theft and you could be charged with a criminal offence if found out.

Sure, but you could also ignore it and leave it where it is, or just dump it on the owner of the store/taxi/library where you found it. Actually tracking the person down and returning it if you can is what I would consider part of the social contract.

I’ve run down the street after a car when I found an card in the ATM, and then tracked the guy down by phone after he drove away too fast. I refused a reward, as it would ruin my superhero chops.