I went to the supermarket to do some shopping last week.
At the checkout i was asked if i wanted ‘cash back’ when i paid for my groceries with my debit card. I chose to withdraw £30. I was in a hurry so i didn’t really pay much attention as the cashier handed me my cash. I paid my bill, took my cash and pushed my shopping trolley to the car.
When i got home, i opened my money purse and discovered that instead of there being £30, there was in fact £50. I knew that there should only be £30 as i knew for a fact i had no money but a few bits of loose change in the purse beforehand i went to the supermarket.
I double checked the till receipt to make sure i hadn’t mistakenly been charged for the £50 withdrawal when i only wanted £30.
The till receipt said £30.
The next day the workmen turned up and began the rewire on the house…also a lot of stuff kicked off this week and then the car decided to burst it’s petrol tank…there were other worries and i pushed the overpayment to the back of my mind.
When mid week i discovered that our financial situation would deteriate still further, i have to admit that the thought of keeping that £20 was sorely tempting.
Perhaps some people wouldn’t have a conscience about keeping a £20 note that had been given them by mistake.
But i’m not most people.
I’m a Christian.
I tell the truth.
I knew i couldn’t get to the supermarket without transport and the kids off school and the rewire going on, so this afternoon, with the car back much earlier than anticipated, I knew what i had to do.
I just couldn’t get out of my mind that the cashier who gave me too much money may actually have been suspected of taking the money herself.
I went to customer services at the supermarket and explained what had happened and said that i had some money to give them.
The customer services rep was astonished by my honesty (to say the least). She had to ask a colleague what to do as she said people weren’t in the habit of giving money back and didn’t know the proceedure!
She telephoned the wages clerk and after a few minutes she said ‘You have been incredibly honest about this, but since the till added up at the close of that particular day, we can not accept any money back from you’.
It was then my turn to be astonished.
I really wasn’t expecting that!
I was so pleased i had done the right thing. Not because i got to keep the £20, but because I know that it was the right thing to do.
Of course, i worried afterwards that the cashier who had served me that day may have put money out of her own pocket into the till when she realised her error….or that worse still, i had now drawn attention to an error that she had made and that there would be consequences for her.
But I believe it was the right thing to do.