Sunday, October 17, 2004

ask vincent - paying for idiots

Today's Ask Vincent question is from Avaxis. Its not so much a question, more of an opinion thingy.

What do you think of this statement - do not pay for other people's mistakes?
Simple example would be, a cashier gives you $10 extra in change. Morality and ethics (vince-and sympathy) tells you to give the cash back. However, if you apply the above statement, it simply means the cashier made a mistake and they should pay for it (thus forking out the $10 from their own pocket).

First off, you did not have the intention of cheating the cashier, so you can't really be blamed. Now the catch is, if you do things according to ethics & moral, and give the money back, then the cashier wouldn't learn from his mistake. If you pocket the money and the cashier later realises it, he would have learned to take more notice when giving out change.

Responsibility. If you make a mistake you be sure as hell be prepared to take responsibility for it. In the above scenario, it is not YOUR responsibility to give the money back, it is the cashier's responsibility to give correct change. So if we have take responsibility for our mistakes, then why are we taught to be honest and give the money back?

In a way that's taking the responsibility off the cashier who made the mistake! Its basically contradicting between taking responsibilty for mistakes & pratice morals/ethics and correct others when they make a mistake. If people are not made to pay for their mistakes, then they will never learn, and if they never learn they will continue to make even more mistakes.
Personally I stick to the "do not pay for other people's mistakes", and if I make one, I'd be prepared to take a can of whoopass (however, if I can get away with it, I would, then it would be the mistake of the other individual to let me get away with it!)

I remember once, when I went into the 7-11 near my house to buy a loaf of bread. It was early in the morning, around 6.30am. The cashier woman gave me the impression that she had just woken up, was sleepy eyed and everything.

I put a loaf of bread on the counter, RM2 I think it was. I gave her a RM5 note. She took it, punched a few keys in the cash register and started counting some red notes. To my amazement, she gave me back RM48 change. I stared at her, and she stared back at me, sort of with a glare asking me, "WHAT?!?!"

I told her that I gave her RM5, not RM50. Her eyes finally opened into a big goldfish stare. She thanked me, I gave her back the money, and I walked out of the shop feeling good about myself. I saved her RM45. 45 bucks! That's probably more than she earns in a day.

When I started this "ask vincent" section, it was to make my blog more educational.


I am the one learning stuffs from it now. Avaxis did make good points.

Look, the stupid woman was half asleep on her shift. If I had walked out of 7-11 with that extra change, I could have bought myself a month's supply of ice-cream. And that woman would have permanently learned from her mistake. Expensive mistake, yes, but it would have been better for her. After all, it is true, you make a mistake, then you be prepared to take the flame for it.
However, I think Avaxis forgot a few important factors.

Firstly, conscience. I don't think I would have enjoyed all that ice-cream with the knowledge that that money is more than what that clerk makes in ONE day. Probably two day's worth of her salary. She would have problems paying for the TV that she bought from Court's Mammoth.
After all, what is ethics? As I told a small baby few days ago, the only ethics I know, is knowledge that my actions would enable me to look myself in the mirror at the end of the day. And comparing that to the fact that people are supposed to pay for their mistakes, I think conscience outweighs everything.

Another driving factor, I believe is the circumstances on that day. Like whether my mood is good. Like, whether the change given is a small amout or not? I think it would have kept the wrong change if it was the order or RM2 or something like that. But RM45 was too big a burden on my conscience.

Also, the mood of cashier is important. Did he smile at you? Did she sulk? How nice was he? Did he wish you good morning and smile while checking out your purchases? If the guy was fucked up, I could have been fucked up as well. (the woman was fucked up, but like I said, I was small and had no malicious intent)

Oh, and for guys, the most important factor, the size of the cashier's boobs.....and how chune she was. Never forget that.


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