I realized long ago the difference between right and wrong, and I know that there are gray areas as well. But when it comes to certain business transactions, there really is a right and a wrong. For instance, if I would tell someone they failed to give me enough change, then I certainly should tell them if they gave me too much. The same goes for merchandise and orders.
I recently received a large order from Target. After taking out the contents, I noticed a missing ink cartridge for my printer. I verified that it was included on the invoice and my credit card was charged. It was unusual for Target to make a mistake like that, but with the current situation for retailers, it was understandable. I double checked the box that came with lots of brown filler paper before filing a report. I was happy to receive a reply that another cartridge was being sent.
In the meantime, a neighbor noticed all my boxes in the garage that were awaiting break-down for recycling, including the one I just hastily added from Target. She mentioned her son likes boxes to ship items purchased from his ebay account. Reusing is better than recycling so I happily gave all the boxes to her.
More than a week later, she contacted me saying her son had found a color ink cartridge which apparently was caught in the brown filler paper. Well, that was embarrassing so I called Target to tell them it was my fault for not seeing the item and they should charge me for the replacement.
Surprise! They said not to worry and just enjoy the additional cartridge! I tried to explain again about it being my error, but the customer service rep insisted it wasn't a problem. I don't know if it would be too much trouble to charge my account or whether they just weren't used to people being honest. I thanked her profusely and vowed never to let this happen again.
Every time I've chosen to be honest about such matters (the only way I can sleep at night), it's met with a bit of shock on the merchant's end. They are always thankful of my call, but forgiving of the error. But why are they surprised? And why are we so surprised when someone finds a large sum of money and gives it back?
I think the first step in making this world a better place is to always do the right thing, or at least try, and we should expect that of others. Honesty should be a given, not something we need to praise as a rarity. It's always rewarded even if it's a better night's sleep. There are Biblical verses to address this, but I particularly like Luke 16:10 "Whoever can be trusted with very little can be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." As some might say, ain't it the truth!