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Debate and Discourse: AWESOME POST in "Do you go back and pay for groceries that the clerk miss
agoajPlay It Loud!Get N Or Get OutRegistered Userregular
Always, and for some reason, if the item is on sale and I don't know it (say it's a video game, and it is marked for $60 but rings up $30) I'll point out the difference and asked if the item scanned correctly.
I know EXACTLY why I do this, too. It's not out of sympathy for the clerk, although I do feel bad if they make an error that I don't catch. It's my Dad.
One day, I couldn't have been more than 5, my Dad and I went to the grocery store - a Kroger that had just opened up in my area. We had walked around the store, and he bought his standard Dad supplies; a beef-log, a block of cheese, Triscuts, beers, Fritos, Helluva Good French Onion Dip and jellybeans. While he was paying at the register in typical embarassing Dad fashion, I wandered over to the gumball machines. I didn't have a quarter, so I instead went around and turned all the metallic knobs for fun. The top row was candy, the bottom row, cheap plastic rings. Lo and behold, on the bottom row, in one of the prize chutes, was a ring. Smiling like I won the lottery, I pocketed the trinket and walked out with my Dad.
When we got to the car, I asked him for assistance in opening the plastic bubble that the ring came in; my Dad's face turned the shade of a horrifically sunburned floozy, screaming: WHERE DID YOU GET THAT?! Obviously, he knew I walked into the store with no quarter, and walked out with an item that despite being manufactured at the low low cost of less than a cent (and the life of a small Filipino kid) still managed to wrangle 0.25 from the average consumer.
In his mind, this equaled theft. As such, he dragged me back into the store and demanded to see a manager. I was crying; after all, thieves are bad people, and I had no idea that I was stealing. I had inadvertantly turned into a villian. I knew the Bible was full of these, and in movies, they were treated with the heavy hand of an unforgiving law. I had no concept of shades of morality. Stealing was wrong, and I was bad. I had always considered myself to be good; I looked both ways before crossing the street, always covered my mouth when coughing, and said 'please' and 'thank you.' Having lost my sainthood without even knowing it with earth shattering. I could never get it back. I had done wrong and by virtue of my father's reaction, I could feel it in every pore of my body.
The manager came out and saw my Dad, incensed to the point where his face was now purple, and a small child now screaming and crying like he believed himself soulless (hint: I did). When my Dad explained the situation, the manager didn't know how to react; it was a cheap plastic ring, found in the prize chute of a novelty gumball machine. The manager explained to my Dad that he didn't technically believe this was considered stealing - his exact words were, "When I was growing up, an extra prize in the prize chute was called a 'freebie'," which calmed my Dad down, but not considerably. I was still forced to hand over the ring - which the manager had no idea what to do with - and walked out of the store in shame.
Dad explained the situation to my Mom. The whole time, I felt like I was going to vomit; when it came to laying down the law, my Dad was a benevolent angel compared to my mother.
She just looked at him and said, "Mike, do you have to be such a dick?"
So now, every time I think I'm getting good fortune by catching a secret sale or an unannounced two-for-one deal, I check with the cashier. Seventeen years after the fact, I'm still wary.
Now I have a better grip on the shades of gray that accompany life, but I'm still set in my ways. No freebies. Not then, not ever.