The other day I was out with my son. We had a quick lunch then went to the newsagent to grab some mags (magazines are an addiction I fear I have passed onto my kids) and a sneaky little chocolate bar for the afternoon ahead. There were a handful of people waiting for service from the one busy lady behind the counter. She patiently dealt with questions and tallied up purchases. It was our turn. ‘That’s $20.40 thanks’ she said and I handed over the money, turned to leave, then stopped. ‘I think she overcharged me’, I said to my boy and we both looked around to the counter that was still swarming with customers. Was $8.00 worth another lengthy wait? We let it go and moved on with our shopping.
The next day I was drinking coffee in the sunshine at my local cafe. An elegant older lady came up behind me. ‘You have too much money’, she said. The caffeine had not yet kicked in so I was not so sharp at this point. ‘Pardon?’ I said. ‘You are throwing your money away’ she added and she leant down under my table to retrieve a $10 note below. ‘Here you are’ and she placed the note beside my coffee cup and returned to her table.
Now this is where the moral dilemma kicks in. I wish I was the type of person who could just take the money and run without looking back, but I am naturally of the ‘goody-two-shoes’ persuasion.
‘That’s not my money’ I said to my donor and her companion. ‘I might hand it in to the cafe or could I pay for your coffees?’ She laughed kindly. ‘Don’t be silly’ she said. ‘Buy yourself a coffee today and tomorrow!’ And that was that.
Of course I stewed over the decision as I sipped my cappucino. In the end I took the money and paid for my coffee – that day and the next.
Short-changed one day and a small windfall the next. The synergy of these experiences made me smile.
What would you do? Would you take the money?