Thursday, September 24, 2009

How to Shock People

My husband and I did a little shopping last weekend, and when we were discussing how much we spent (because we're back on a budget), we realized that our receipt was wrong. We had walked out of the store with two pillows that we were not charged for.

Call me crazy, but I feel guilty when something like that happens because I know I obtained those items in error. They were not sold at a discount. They were not a gift from the store. They were simply overlooked. And so, a few days later, I returned to the store with the plastic cover one of the pillows had been in and went to a checkout counter so I could pay for them.

I explained the store's error to the clerk, who acted completely disinterested. As soon as he called the manager, I judged him and thought, "He doesn't have a clue what to do."

The manager reached us, and my clerk says, "Tell her what you're here to do. Just tell her!" He went from being apathetic to excited in just a few seconds! So I told my story again, and the manager was surprised. Shocked, actually! She was so shocked, in fact, that as a token of thanks she gave me 20% off my total bill.

Suddenly, my clerk was a chatterbox and told me about a time when a similar thing happened to him. And he happily remembered that he, too, did the right thing. As I was leaving, with a wink he told me to have a blessed day. Have a blessed day!

And I had judged him! To be fair, maybe he was just having a bad day, and seeing a little good in the world cheered him up. I don't know. I, however, have NO excuse for judging him...

Funny thing is, only two days later the same thing happened to my husband. Only instead of $20, it was a difference of several hundred dollars on construction supplies. He admits that he struggled a bit because of the significant savings, but in the end he made the right decision and went back to the store, too.

Guess what?

His clerk was shocked.

I guess the point of all this is not to say, "Look at us and how righteous we are" or anything pious like that. The point is that I am dismayed that the world we live in is shocked when someone is HONEST! I would hope that honesty and integrity would be the rule. Instead, it appears to be the exception...

"You shall follow what is altogether just, that you may live and inherit the land which the LORD your God is giving you." -Deuteronomy 16:20 (NKJV)


  1. I agree. I feel too much guilt when that happens too. I have corrected cashiers on big mistakes at fast food places. As a teen I worked at one and you can get fired for being less than $5.00 off on your drawer. I think you have to think of others and not just yourself.

  2. I have had similar experiences...

    Just wanted to stop and tell you thanks for participating at the Cafe today...

    Please come back again :)

  3. Hi Beth - I found your blog link at the Internet Cafe.

    I had a similar experience in Wal-Mart several years ago. I purchased an item and wasn't charged for it. I called the store the next day (it was in another town) and told them what happened. The next time I was there I paid for the item.

    I was a bank teller at the time and a few days later, I gave a customer $200.00 too much. He returned a few minutes later, having realized the error and brought back the money.

    Honesty pays.

  4. Beth, I have received the same reaction when I have returned to pay for items that have not been included on my bill. You're right, the sales clerks truly don't know what to do.

    It's encouraging to hear "good" stories these days. Thanks for sharing.


  5. Sometimes it's the little things that make the biggest difference. Thanks for sharing this simple and inspiring story!


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