Yesterday at Target, while in the parking lot loading into my car a large unwieldy item that filled the cart, I discovered two $20 items in the bottom of the cart that both the cashier and I had overlooked. I had not paid for them. An extra $40 would be nice. No-one would know but me. I finished unloading the item and then returned to the store to pay for the other items.
It's not the first time. Once I even returned to pay for a $4 carton of sodas. It's what I do.
Of course, I try to watch when they ring things up that I don't get overcharged as well. But this incident yesterday got me to thinking and wondering what other people do. I'm sure it happens to everyone. Maybe they don't notice. Or maybe they consider themselves lucky that day - like finding a $20 bill on the sidewalk. And maybe most of them return to the store to pay for the items.
The thing about those kinds of decisions is the fact that no-one ever needs to know. It's a true test of ethics and honesty--a test of what you believe about yourself. Writing about this in my blog sort of negates that a bit. Sharing the experience publicly so that everyone might know places a possible different motivation on my honesty. But at the moment of decision, it was a test and a proof to myself at least.
The thing that fascinates me is that there is still a decision at all for me every time such a thing happens. That I hesitate for even a second surprises me. The hesitation before the decision proves I can be tempted.