This post is totally unrelated to the July 2013 NaBloPoMo Connect theme, but the point of the challenge is to get us writing so I’m going for it anyway.
Imagine the following scenario:
You’re shopping at a garage sale or flea market and you find an upholstered chair that would fit perfectly in your summer cabin or hunting lodge or maybe even your living room. You buy the chair and take it home. As soon as you get it in your home your pet dog starts scratching and sniffing at it (I know what you’re thinking, ewwwwwww). When you examine a torn area on the chair you find a plain brown bag with about $50,000 in it in $100 bills.
What would you do?
My first instinct is: Finders keepers, losers weepers (said in a sing songy voice of course!) To be honest, though, I don’t know how well I would sleep at night.
My higher self would be thinking: They obviously were not aware that this money was in there, so I have to give the money back.
But hold on! If I found a bag of shit or a bag of Doritos or an old pair of shoes in there instead of a bag of money, would I be bringing THAT back to the people I bought the chair from? (Well, I might WANT to drop the bag of shit on their doorstep just because I’d be pissed that they sold me a bag of shit even if they didn’t know it, but seriously.)
I think most people would wrestle with what to do in a situation like this just like I would.
This is an interesting quandary. Why is it when something good happens (like finding money) we don’t feel entitled to the positive circumstance, but whenever a negative happenstance occurs we feel it’s just our dumb luck?
Does it have something to do with the perceived VALUE of the item? Money, of course, being considerably more valuable (to humans at least) than the other items I mentioned. Think about it for a moment. Can you imagine what a dog would do if it discovered all four things laying, say on your front lawn; bag of money, bag of shit, bag of Doritos, and pair of old shoes? It might sniff the money for a moment, it would sniff the bag of shit longer (hmmmmmmm do I know them?), it would eat the Doritos, and probably rub its body all over the old pair of shoes.
I don’t know where I’m going with this, I just thought the philosophical question was an interesting one to ponder. My tagline IS ‘a brain dump’.
Would your handling of the situation change if you had simply found the bag of money on the sidewalk or the road, as opposed to purchasing the item (the chair in this case or it could be a suitcase or a house even) in which the money was found?
Is this a question of consumer logic or is it one of moral ambiguity?