What would you do?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by anamznazn, Dec 12, 2007.

  1. anamznazn macrumors regular

    anamznazn

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #1
    Let's say you wanted a piece of furniture you saw at a store (let's say circuit city, officemax, or bestbuy) for $150 bucks. Unfortunately, they ran out but called the closest store in the next town to put it on hold for you. When you get there, you tell them that you're here to pick up the furniture you asked to be on held because they were out of stock in your store back home. They load it up into your car and tell you 'happy holidays'.

    On the way home, you realized they never asked to ring you up so you never paid. Would you continue driving on home....or go back and explain?
     
  2. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Location:
    The Kop
    #2
    If it was a small store I would go back.

    Seeing as it sounds like a chain and it is in the next town I would keep driving. Spend that $150 on a pressie form my girlfriend and put that furniture to good use.
     
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #3
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/3A109a Safari/419.3)

    Actually this just happened to me and it has happened in the past. I bought a train set and it was never paid for. I went back the next day and paid. It weighs heavily on me and I consider it stealing. Hands down. That is me and I have always felt far too guilty about stupid things.
     
  4. wronski macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 8, 2005
    #4
    It's their mistake. They probably won't even know. I wouldn't go back.
     
  5. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Location:
    Toronteazy
  6. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #6
    I agree, it is stealing. I would go back and pay for it.
     
  7. cycocelica macrumors 68000

    cycocelica

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Location:
    Redmond, WA
    #7
    They said Happy Holiday correct? Must have been giving you a present. This is the time of giving correct?
     
  8. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    #8
    I would go back and pay for it, no question, I think it's stealing and I'd be thinking about it for quite some time if I didn't go back and pay for it.
     
  9. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Location:
    The Kop
    #9
    How is it stealing?

    They wilful gave you the goods without asking for payment.
     
  10. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #10
    You took it without paying for it.

    What does the size of the store have to do with anything? Can't screw over the Mom & Pop store, but the big Megachain store is ok?
     
  11. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Location:
    The Kop
    #11
    They gave it to you without asking for payment.

    Morally different, with a small store I know that it is directly effecting the owners pay. For a large chain store it is taking a small amount from a corporation.
     
  12. ntrigue macrumors 68040

    ntrigue

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    #12
    I believe its going to be lost in bureaucracy for at least a month. A Best Buy would do cycle count and discover it missing. But the situation is too convoluted to come back to you.
     
  13. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #13
    It is morally the same. You took something without paying for it. The size of the financial damage is irrelevant.
     
  14. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Location:
    The Kop
    #14
    It is not morally the same, and when dealing with morals the size of financial damage is not irrelevant so you can't just take it out of the equation with a blank statement like that.
     
  15. overanalyzer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Boston, MA USA
    #15
    This debate seems to come up on MR surprisingly often, but usually it's about installing OS X on multiple computers. Seems like all the usual opinions are being covered, so I guess I'll throw in my same usual.... You can get away with it, but it's still wrong, and the morality has nothing to do with the relative impact because of the company size. I say go back and pay.

    Since this is in community discussion so off-topic is fine, I might as well ask...is murder more OK in a country with a larger population because killing someone is a smaller percentage of the population?
     
  16. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Location:
    The Kop
    #16

    Back to the morals thing. Morals are as I understand it a set of personally define guidelines on what is right or wrong. These are affected by society but ultimately come down to the individual. Therefore you can not say that when dealing with morals money can not be included because I may use the perceived damage (in moentry terms) to be a deciding factor in whether or not something is right or wrong (i.e moral or immoral)

    That is such a flawed analogy and you know it.
     
  17. overanalyzer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Boston, MA USA
    #17
    Hold on a sec - I in no way presented it as an analogy. In fact, I specifically prefaced it by saying it was off-topic. I just thought it was an interesting question about proportional damages and in what contexts that impacts morality.

    EDIT: also, for your other point:
    I think that's fair. So to clarify, for my sense of morality, at least in a case like this, relative financial impact does not play a factor. So maybe the more even question is would it be better/same/worse to accidentally take a $5 item from a "mom & pop" store vs. a $150 item from a megachain (or whatever the relative equivalent proportional impact is)?
     
  18. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Location:
    The Kop
    #18
    Maybe I was a little quick of the mark but it is very late here so late it is actually early and I have had a lot of debates with people tonight.

    However the proposed question is directly related to the situation given it is hard not to see it as an analogy.

    For me the moral issues with the situation you described is not down to proportional damages but with murder.
     
  19. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #19
    This seems like an odd scenario. I can't imagine this actually happening. But since some have said it has, well then I guess I'll believe it. Here's how I see it: If the fact you were not charged for it was because the employee decided to give it to you as a gift or it was understood that payment was not required, then you're fine. No need to pay. However if the employee made a mistake and somehow forgot to charge you for the item (pretty freakin' stupid employee, but anyway...) then I believe you are morally obligated to return to the store and pay for the item. Whatever you decide to do, someone has to pay for the item. If you don't pay for it then it will come out of the employee's check or will get absorbed into the store and passed on to other customers in the form of higher prices. Nothing is really free in this world...
     
  20. hayduke macrumors 65816

    hayduke

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    is a state of mind.
    #20
    Ha. This same kind of thing happened to me once, but it was for a keg of beer.

    We ordered it at the front. We were told where to go around to to pick it up. The nice man put it in the trunk and refused a tip! We completely *forgot* to pay and no one stopped us. We were just giggling like little girls all the way home.

    Beer, of course, is an entirely different moral quagmire than furniture. I don't think there is a college student alive that would turn around to pay for that!
     
  21. overanalyzer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Boston, MA USA
    #21
    No worries.

    A refinement of the question might help, I was just trying to avoid the typical obvious comparison of killing one person vs. genocide, for instance. It's late here too and my mind was wandering to a conversation I had over lunch about countries killing people via execution and/or war, and defending within your home/country vs. "defending" proactively outside your home/country by preemptively attacking a country or taking other action. It just got me thinking about degrees of "badness" attached to killing depending on its intent and impact when I was making the statement about the financial impact.

    Does that make any sense? I might be too tired to be coherent at this point.
     
  22. anamznazn thread starter macrumors regular

    anamznazn

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #22
    Yeah, I understand where you're getting at. I guess in the end, some people associate different levels of "wrongs" in what they do. Some people feel the little wrong doings could easily be forgiven while there are others who feel as though a little wrong is still a wrong doing.
     
  23. mfacey macrumors 65816

    mfacey

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2004
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #23
    I think you'd be out of your mind to go back and pay. You got a lucky break for whatever reason, so enjoy it and don't think twice about it! :)
     
  24. anamznazn thread starter macrumors regular

    anamznazn

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #24
    Well yeah, beer is a lot different from a piece of furniture, but think about it. It's still someone else's product when it comes down to it. I just don't understand how people can say something liquid like beer is less wrong to take than pieces of wood.

    Haha, comments like that will help me ease my mind. :)
     
  25. theyoda3 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    #25
    Ethics provide a guideline for what conduct is right and wrong on a general level for a group of people, a society, or possibly the world. General things would be not stealing, preserving life, taking care of the environment, etc. Morals would be an interpretation of ethics by a smaller group of people or individuals. They would be compromises of ethics or specific bends to ethical conduct based on a given situation. The situations with the furniture and beer would be based on moral reasoning. They are specific situations that are unethical, stealing, but they are reasoned to be morally correct or morally incorrect based on various factors that each individual values.

    Regardless of ethics or morals, both situations are ultimately illegal based on laws created by the US government and its citizens. No court would ever see the beer or the furniture as a gift, especially since they are goods that were on sale and you have no proof of purchase or ownership. That alone should be enough to convince you to go back and pay for the item regardless of your moral reasoning. As US citizens you have agreed to the laws of country and are expected to abide by them. If you think the legality of the situation is in question you have the power to try and change the law through appropriate action, but since this is a democracy, it is governed by the people and not you alone, you may find it difficult to change the law. If you are unhappy not being a dictator then maybe you should go to a country with laws that you can abide by or you should go start your own country somewhere else.

    If you do find yourself responsible enough to break the law and steal, then you are responsible enough to face the consequences and should turn yourself in for theft. People usually do not do that though because the penalty is greater than the price to have paid for the good in the first place or they are just inherently unethical people.

    So the whole point is you should go back and pay for the furniture or beer.

    *NOTE* For people that live in other countries there are probably methods to change the law where you live and your government may work differently, but as citizens of that country you also have agreed to abide by the laws.


    *On a side note* There is the classical moral/ethical dilemma of what to do if a person you love is sick and will die without proper medication, but you cannot afford the medication and your only choice is to steal it. Ethically and morally this could be confusing because of conflicting ethics with stealing and preservation of life and then the whole legality of the situation. Ideally, I think the best choice is to steal the medicine and give it to your loved one, then go turn yourself in for stealing the medication. This would satisfy ethics by preserving life and then holding yourself responsible for stealing.
     

Share This Page