For crap's sake, people. I try to do the right thing. I swear I do! But I keep ending up in situations where I find myself in possession of various items for which I did not pay. Want some real-LAB-life examples? Just look here and here.
And it happened again. Last week I was at Publix buying a handful of items on the way home from visiting my Dad, who was in the hospital recovering from surgery. Between the hospital and Publix my beloved convertible was rear-ended by a high school kid with sketchy insurance, so I had kind of a lot on my mind while I was checking out in the express lane. It's not like it's rocket science to ring up three 2-liter bottles of Diet Coke, a bag of potatoes and some limes, so I figured I didn't have to monitor the cashier's activities too closely. I paid for my purchases, the bagger loaded them into my cart and I rolled the cart outside and tossed the bags into the (smushed) trunk of my car. Nothing seemed particularly amiss.
When I got home, I unloaded my groceries and took everything out of the bags. Here's what I found: three 2-liter bottles of Diet Coke, a bag of potatoes, some limes... along with four ribeye steaks and a package of Famous Amos vanilla sandwich cookies. Yep, someone else's groceries found their way into the trunk of my car. The receipt was even in the bag. Someone bought just those few items, paid with a debit card, and I guess either left them at the register or left them in the cart in which the bagger loaded my groceries. Those are the only two possibilities I can think of to explain how these items came into my possession.
I couldn't really figure out what to do from there. If I took the steaks back to Publix, would they look for the person who paid for them and then return them to their proper owner? Would Publix just put them back out and sell them again (someone had already paid for them - I had the receipt). The steaks were clearly not mine. I know this. But seriously people. I'm dealing with an ailing father, a wrecked car and a serious backlog of work at my office because my personal life has been sucking up 2-3 hours of work time a day. (Rationalizing really is my greatest strength).
So I turned to the most moral person I know: I called Jeff at work to ask for his opinion. His response?
Jeff: "What do the steaks look like?"
LAB: "They look like $35 of meat I didn't pay for. Should I take them back?"
Jeff: "No, I mean are they well marbled?"
LAB: "You think I should KEEP them?"
Jeff: "I think you're dealing with enough problems right now. I'm sure Publix made the customer whole by replacing the items."
Jeff: "Remember Blockbuster? If you want to go through that humiliation again, go right ahead."
LAB: "No way. Putting them in the fridge now."
We ate the steaks (and the cookies). I'm going to hell.