Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A moral and/or ethical dilemma – or not

Last night I went to Walmart. I don’t ever enjoy going to Walmart. I don’t know many who do.

I try to be as quick as possible when I go into that store because I know that I’m going to have to stand in line for what seems like forever – it always seems like forever. Always.

As I make my way to the checkout area, there is a very short line with only one person at the register. Needless to say I was pleased with this and proceeded to that register.

The young woman scanned my first two items, and then the third. The third didn’t scan properly, or at all, and the register didn’t recognize the product. She cleared the machine rather quickly and proceeded to scan it one more time. Again, it didn’t recognize the product.

She then cleared it again and put the item into the bag and announced my total. Being the quick grasshopper I am, I knew the total included only the first two items and not the third. I swiped my card, signed, thanked the young lady, took my three items and walked out of the store with receipt in hand – verifying I was correct.

So there we have it: I was given a free item at Walmart. I knew she didn’t ring it up, and I still went with it.

Here’s the thing: under other circumstances, if they had missed an item I would have pointed out the error and have them rescan so I can properly pay for what I’m walking out the door with. This time, however, was different.

She clearly tried to scan the product, but it couldn’t be found. She made the executive decision to place the item in the bag for me to take home. What was I supposed to do? Argue with her? Insist she call a manager to come figure out the situation? Stand and wait, causing the line behind me to grow continually for who knows how long?

I chose not to mention anything because it was apparent that I was in the clear, ethically and morally speaking of course.

Or was that wrong?



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. If the item was a ipod, maybe you're wrong. If it was say, some activia yogurt then you're fine.

  3. unless if the friendly old dude at the door stops to check your receipt against the items in your bag - oops!

    i think in your case, it all balances out. you are an honest person and want to do the right thing. perhaps this is the universe giving you something because last time you were at wally world you bought something that was marked up 300% and were ripped off.

    don't delimma-nate over this too much please. but do research wal-mart business practices and make your shopping choices accordingly.