Mini Moral Dilemas

I took a trip to ASDA today to buy some cute star stickers for a game I wanted to play with the kids in my relaxation class. I bought three packs and paid for them in cash (a whole £3). On arriving at the class location I started opening the packs, to make the game preparation easier, only to discover that in fact there was an extra pack stuck to the back of one of the ones I had purchased.

The stickers in question!

What to do? Why is it even a question? I had taken (though unwittingly) four packs of stickers from the shop and only paid for three. That’s stealing right? But they only cost £1 each (hardly worth the fuel money to go back to the shop) and it wasn’t my fault that they were stuck together, right? Right? Okay maybe not.

Don’t worry I’ve already decided to take them back tomorrow. I know I’ll get weird looks from the shop assistants because 1) something similar happened to me once before and the staff were really gobsmacked that I returned the item; 2) many people would likely think – ‘well that’s a bonus’ and hold on to them; 3) hmm, I had a third reason but now I’ve forgotten what it was 😂.

This small scenario got me thinking though. How many things do I do that are morally questionable just because they’re not particularly hurting anyone? Like maybe when I park at a meter and don’t pay ‘cause I know I’ll only be a few minutes or take a pen home from work that doesn’t belong to me and never bother to return it – I mean it’s only a pen right? Don’t get me wrong I haven’t polished my halo and resolved never to do anything morally questionable again – I can tell you right now that there’s a high chance that I’ll park at a meter without paying before the week is out.

Should I act differently to the majority because I’m a Christian? What if someone has a really good reason for doing something questionable like taking medicine for their sick child because they couldn’t afford it? I think I’d do that for my child. It’s a can of worms when you start thinking about it but I guess I’m interested in your thoughts on this.

Is it just me or do people see certain ‘misdemeanours’ as totally excusable?

Is there ‘a line’ somewhere that says for example that it’s okay to steal something if you didn’t mean to or if it’s not worth much?

I’d love to hear what you would do; and no judgement here by the way – I mean I just stole a pack of stickers.

14 thoughts on “Mini Moral Dilemas

  1. Even the most avowed Christians commit those kinds of misdemeanors. If you get coffee at a convenience store, do you NEVER EVER take an extra creamer or a couple of packages of sweetener to have on hand, just in case? And who hasn’t permanently ‘borrowed’ a roll of scotch tape or a box of paper clips from work? How about extra condiment packages – ketchup, mayo, mustard, etc. – again, to have on hand, just in case? And if you take more napkins than you know you need, to store a few extras in your car for – just in case – that’s the same thing as well. I wrote a blog article several months ago about something similar… that even the smallest of lies is still a lie and how we, as a society, have broadened our interpretation of “gray” because black is black and right is right, and if it’s not right, it’s wrong. Could any of us really live in a world that is totally black and white anymore?

    I applaud you for planning to return the stickers. I always point out if a cashier gives me too much change back, or for a bill larger than the one I actually gave him/her. But I’d probably not drive back to the store for a pack of stickers…

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  2. Well I never really thought about it until I read the comment from one of your readers about taking extra napkins. I do that all the time when I go to a fast food place – jut grab 2-4 more napkins for the car. Is this stealing? Honestly had not even thought about it. As for the stickers, I would not make a special trip to return them but I would return them the next time I went to the store.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading Barbara. I’m not sure about the napkins thing either. I mean they don’t stipulate how many you can take do they? I think I’ll go with your suggestion and return the stickers the next time I’m there anyway. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reading your post and the comments here, got me thinking… I think I’ve been a thief without intention. Ha! Usually a moral girl, I never thought of myself as stealing—there have been times when I’ve inadvertently got an extra something and I have taken it back only to be looked at so strangely.

    Personally, I don’t mind being looked at strangely—for being different—for being “set apart.” I think it makes the clerk think, “That’s different. She’s different. She lives by a standard the world doesn’t.”—and honestly, that’s kind of my aim. That said, I wouldn’t go out of my way to return the stickers. I’d keep them in my purse and simply return them next time I’m in the area.

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  4. I wouldn’t call it stealing – yet. You haven’t intentionally taken them – yet. But if you don’t return them then yes, you’ve stolen them. I’d take them back to Customer Services the next time I was in the shop. As the last commenter said, it makes other people think “that’s different”. I did a similar thing last week – I checked my till receipt in Lidl (they always go so fast putting things through they sometimes make mistakes) and saw they hadn’t charged me for something. When I pointed it out to the cashier she said “Yes, look, it’s there at the top of the receipt” –I’d had my thumb over it!!

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  5. Hello, Hope I’m not too late to comment. Years ago now I was in a Wool Shop and bought yarns and knitting needles. Back home I checked off the items against the till receipt and hadn’t been charged for the needles. I phoned the shop, explained what had happened and paid for them next time I was there. Now I live in North Wales I’m forever querying bills as it’s all so much cheaper than I was used to paying in Essex. Is that weird?
    I tend to go to independant shops so their livelihood depends on sales. Bigger stores? They mark up just to cover ‘theft’. Just like insurance companies. So does that make it ok? I still don’t think so. Because – when or where will it end? That takes me to the environment and then … I’ll never get off my soapbox!😉
    Whatever happens in my life I like to think ‘the buck stops at me’ and I have a great fridge magnet: ‘Measure yourself by your own standards, not someone else’s.’
    I hope not to come over as a goody two-shoes. Blame it on the autism. We are reknowned for being ultra-principled. Ask Greta T. 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love moral dillemas no matter how small. To those looking at the situation from a third party perspective it seems minor, but I know it’s much more than that. You have to stick to what you know to be right. I commend you on your self analysis and commitment to the moral good that you believe.

    Liked by 1 person

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