Monday, August 3, 2009

Be Honest

Tip #172 - Be Honest. On our quest to acquire money, it is sometimes tempting to buck the system. After all, it will get us to our goal faster. Won’t it? Why pay for an extra person in the hotel room when the people at the front desk won’t even know they are there? Or why not add some extra mileage to your expense account to pad it? After all, it’s money in the bank. Or is it?

The truth of the matter is, the more honest we are when it comes to paying what we owe, the more everybody saves. How many times do you hear people complain about people who take advantage of the welfare system? And rightfully so. If people didn’t take advantage of it, there would be more money available for people who really need it. Right? How about shoplifting? Do you know how much that costs our bottom line when we pay for things? A lot. Stores need to figure into their prices the percentage of items that will be stolen, which raises prices across the board. Doctors’ bills would be less if they didn’t need to buy so much malpractice insurance. The same is true for almost any serviceperson. Most service people need to buy insurance to protect themselves from lawsuits. Of course, the consumer pays for that insurance through higher costs. I’m not saying that a certain percentage of lawsuits aren’t legitimate; they are, but there are certainly a fair number that are blatant lies that cost everyone around them more money. How many people take pens or copy paper from their place of employment? That costs the company money and brings down salaries since it raises overhead. I could go on and on with examples, but I'll try not to bore you.

If each of us took our personal responsibility, and didn’t cheat the system, then things would cost a lot less than they do. I’m not suggesting that any of my readers is a liar, thief, or dishonest in any way. I just know how tempting it is to try to get off paying less money if one can get away with it – trying to pass your child off as a younger age to get a cheaper rate, cramming more people into a hotel room than without paying for all of them, printing more coupons from your computer than are allowed, etc. Each of these brings the prices up for customers who do pay their fair share. And while it is tempting to save ourselves a little bit of money, if each of us were truly honest and paid what we owed, didn’t scam anyone, steal anything, or try to pull one over on the company, we would all save money. We’d also live in a much nicer world. Of course, it’s never going to happen. But if each of us did our part, we might eventually see a difference in the way of lower costs. And even if we don’t, we can at least feel good about ourselves that all the money we have saved up was gained honestly and morally.

In Real Life (IRL) – It’s funny how sometimes I am thinking about what I will post about next on this blog, and an opportunity presents itself to me on what to write about. Earlier this week I went to the grocery store to pick up a half-gallon of ice cream (or is it 1.5 litres now?) that I was craving (no, I’m not pregnant – just a piggy!). I walked into the store and the whole ice cream section was empty as there was something wrong with their freezers. Ugh, it was truly the only thing I went to the store for. So, I found a substitute in a much smaller freezer and picked up some ice cream pops. I debated about it for five minutes, since they are pricier than I usually spend. But I really didn’t want to go over to another supermarket, and I really was craving them. So I bit the bullet and took them to the checkout line.

Since I only had one item, I went to the self-checkout line. I scanned the item, and then looked down and in the change slot was a $5 bill and two $1 bills. “Whoopie!” I thought, I actually made money on this ice cream rather than spent more than I should have. Of course I knew it wasn’t really my money. It was the person’s who checked out before me. I held it for a minute or two, thinking about it. Who is to say the customer ahead of me will realize she’s missing the money and come back? If I brought it to customer service, the guy behind the counter might take it, especially if the customer does not return. And that’s when all of my moral lessons came back to me. If I were the one who left it behind, I would hope that the person who was after me in line would turn it in. So that’s what I did. I brought it to the customer service man and told him where I found it. And then I left the store with a good feeling in my heart and a box of overpriced ice cream in my hand.

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