Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What do you do when other people aren't honest about money?

I moved this weekend. Moving is physically and emotionally draining, majorly stressful, and a huge expense. I hope to be in my place for a long time, and many things went better than I could have expected. However, I found myself in the middle of an ethical dilemma regarding money--and oddly, it's not my dilemma, so I'm not entirely sure what to do.

I hired movers from a local website--basically, a guy with a big van and a buddy who do this on weekends to support their true artistic callings. They were great. They were fast, professional, cheerful, careful with my stuff, didn't damage ANYTHING (including the floors or walls at my cranky old landlords' place), and basically made that morning much less of a nightmare than it could have been. In addition, the cost came in under his quote (which was already under the quote of any other company I talked to), and I gave them a 25% tip on top of the total.

At least, I meant to. What I actually did was give them the total, a 25% tip AND an extra $100, which I realized about two hours after they left.

Now, I'm assuming they caught this earlier than I did--probably when the main guy divided the money up with his buddy. I also said out loud the total of what I intended to give him as I was handing him the cash, so when he noticed the extra $100 he would have realized I'd made a mistake.

He hasn't called me about it.

Now, is this an ethical dilemma? On my part, I feel kind of weird calling and asking him for the extra $100 back. Also, because that's the amount I took out of the ATM, that's about what I expected it to cost, so it seems like it works out to some extent. However, when he realized that the difference in what I'd given him and what I said I intended to give him was $100 in his favor, wouldn't he have an ethical obligation to give it back?

I guess this is similar to being in a store and having the cashier give back too much change. It's happened to me a couple times, and when it has, I usually call it to their attention and give it back. Once, however, I missed it and didn't realize it till I got home--and, sad to say, I just kept it. It seemed easier to justify at the time because it was a big, bad, impersonal store. However, I'm disappointed that this mover (who I was otherwise thoroughly impressed with) didn't do the honest thing and get in touch with me over the difference. It even occured to me that if he called, to just tell him to keep it as a reward for being honest.

I don't know. I'm out the $100 at any rate, because I'm not going to call him about it and it looks like he's not going to call me. I'll make a note to myself to not get distracted/flustered next time I'm exchanging cash money for a personal service, and carry on with my life.

1 comment:

  1. hmm... that seems a little unethical to me. i don't know, that's way too much money. if it was $10 sure... but $100? i once accidentally gave somebody $100 for a $10 lunch in a restaurant and it was christmas so i told the waitress to keep the change. i thought i gave her $20. i left the restaurant and the waitress told me i gave her $100. i was really, really happy about what she did because that was a lot of money...

    i guess just be careful next time?

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