The other day, I had occasion to go to one of the big nationwide chain department stores. I don’t want to mention the name, but it ends in “mart”. I made my choices and proceeded to the checkout. A nice young person was the checker that I went through. My purchases came to $13.00. I gave the checker a $50.00 bill. The checker rang up the amount tended and the machine said that I should get $37.00 back in change. The checker put my $50.00 bill under the drawer as is the rule. The checker then got out a bill from under the drawer and three $5.00 bills and two $1.00 bills. $37.00. Instead of counting out the change as should have been done, the checker just handed the money to me along with the receipt and said the usual thankyou for shopping at ----mart and have a nice day. I had just wadded up the money and stuffed it in my pocket because the things I purchased were a big arm full. After I got the stuff loaded into the car, I drove home. When I got there, I got into my pocket and pulled out the change that I had gotten back. There were three $5.00 bills, two $1.00 bills and the $50.00 bill that I had given to the checker originally. In effect, I got the items I “purchased” plus I made $17.00 in the process.
My question to all of you is, would you have gone back to the store and told the checker what happened or would you have just kept the money, figuring that if the checker was in the check stand, he/she should have known what he/she was doing?
Take it back, cheezit. It’s not your money, and it’s mean to take advantage of somebody else’s mistake.
Well, since you asked, I would take it back. Don’t checkers have to make up any shortages in the till? It’s stealing, no question…
If the person at the register is an employee grunt making $5.50 an hour, I will return the money. Those people can often be told they have to repay shortages, and at best they can lose their jobs.
If, however, the person is a management-type person, whose repercussions will be slight, and whom should by all rights know better, I’ll keep the money.
If I am in doubt, I’ll give the money back, but from my years in retail - at both the grunt and management level - I can usually tell the difference.
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[Moderator Hat ON]
Moving this thread to IMHO.
And give the money back.
[Moderator Hat OFF]
seems to me there’s a big difference between making that discovery while you’re there at the checkstand and once you’ve driven home… it certainly depends (a) how much money it is, and (b) how expensive in terms of time and money it is for you to drive back to the store…
Also, I’ve worked both as a counterperson at McDonald’s and a salesperson at a bookstore, and in neither case was I required to pay back differences in the cash register amount…
As for “it’s not your money”, well, I’m not sure it’s quite that cut and dried… What if you go to the post office and use the stamp machine to buy a book of 20 stamps, and out pop two books of 20 stamps. Would you keep them both? What if there were no employees around to whom you could easily attempt to return the other one? What if someone is selling paintings at a garage sale and you see one that you know is worth tens or hundreds of times what it’s being sold for… are you obligated to tell them that? What about finding money in the park? (And not necessarily a wallet full of money that can be returned… perhaps its just dollar bills lying around)
All of these, like the originally posed question, strike me as potential gray areas where various factors would influence what one should or should not do.
My daughter worked as a cashier in a large grocery store. During the four years she worked there, I think her till only came up short two or three times (once she realized it right away, she had been scammed).
But when her till was short, she felt really bad about it, and she lost points (or something like that; I don’t remember exactly how that worked). It may cast doubts on the honesty of the worker. Because of knowing about this, I would return the money.
I would probably take the money back. I work at a cash register sometimes, and I know how hectic it can get. I’ve made quite a few mistakes while doing it. Luckily, none of them have been this big. Well, once I tried to hand a check for thirty something dollars back instead of the receipt, but the customer didn’t take it. It’s probably too late now, as the till will already have been counted, but if you take the money back the cashier might be able to avoid quite a bit of trouble.
If I had discoevered the error at the register, I definitely would have corrected it. $17 short is a fairly big deal for a minimum wage cashier, and they will definitely hear about it. Had I discovered the error later, I might consider just thanking my lucky stars, although I’d probably feel bad and bring it back because I’ve been in that situation. Bottom line is that the cashier should have paid more attention. I worked at a grocery store for a few months and only once was I off by even a penny. Making change is really a pretty easy, mindless job.
I agree with MaxTheVool. If I was at the register, I would (and often do) point out the mistake right there, no matter how small. If I’d already left the store, it would depend on how much it was and how much of a hassle it would be to go back.
Since the register would be $30 short, I’d probably go back. Unless the cashier had been a jerk.
$10? Probably wouldn’t have gone back.
$20? I have no idea. That’s right on the line for me. It would depend on my mood.
Depending on the store policy, the shortage can/will come out of the paycheck. At some places, multiple offenses can lead to really bad consequences, including firing. So yes, it would definately be a good thing to give it back.
Take it back. The feeling of having done a good deed will be worth more than $17.
Take the money back! It’s good Karma.
I have had instances where I was given more than I asked for, or paid for. If I catch it right away, I’ll return it. It’s good Karma. I’ve even gone back to a place to return something, when I was in the area again.
However, there was this instance with Buy.com once - I ordered and paid for 4 Zip Disks, but they sent me 8. I considered telling Buy.com about their mistake, but a business-saavy friend of mine advised against it. He speculated that Buy.com might try to charge my account, try to make me pay for shipping the disks back, or just screw around with me. He also said that it probably wasn’t worth Buy.com’s trouble to retrieve the items–UPSing them back might cost more than their wholesale value.
I don’t know if my friend was right, but I do believe that No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, and I sure didn’t want to be hounded to PAY the shipping on the Zip disks. I also believe that the law is, if you are sent something, it’s yours. (Like if a company sends you some product “by mistake”, they can’t MAKE you return it.) My dad was a postman, this is what he told me about things sent through the mail, anyway.
The merchandise itself cost $13; $13 + $17 = $30, so it’s a $30 error.
Yes, take it back–I don’t know about having the money taken out of his/her pay, but at the very least a shortage like that will reflect very badly on the cashier.
Take it back and let it be a reminder. Always count your change at the register.
Take it back. Better yet, call now to tell them you’re bringing it back. The cashier could have already lost his or her job over it. Never keep incorrect change. It’s not yours. (Same thing goes for the bank)
The bank is not mine? Damnit!! No wonder those security guards threw me out.
You know, my sister used to tell me the same thing when we’d play Monopoly…