Inadvertent BOGO

I refuse to buy my kid more expensive video game systems.    He’s got a friend who’s got one of each, going back 15 years.

This is a picture of an XBOX, and its controller.

Image via Wikipedia

We don’t do that, so he’s spent the last 6 months saving to buy his own XBox 360.  After his birthday this month, he finally had enough, so we ordered it a few days ago.

Wednesday was the Great Unboxing.

I was making dinner in the kitchen while the punk and his friend unpacked the box from Amazon.

The squeals were normal.   The shouts of “Dad, why did you buy two XBoxes?” were a surprise.



Actually, yes.   There were two of the things in the box.   Did I order two?  Did I accidentally pay for two?

Nope.  The packing slip only listed one, my order history only showed one, and my credit card was only charged for one.

Yet, there were two in the box.  Free XBox! Woot!

That means an XBox in the bedroom for Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, and an XBox in the basement for Madden and Star Wars.    No fighting.  No turns to take.   And it didn’t cost us an extra $200.

That’s all win.

If there’s nothing on the packing slip, then Amazon didn’t know I had it.  Even if they did, I didn’t do anything to make them send it.  There was no fraud.  Legally, I had no obligation of any kind to do anything other than enjoy my new prize.

Lots of win.

The kids were excited.  Everyone gets a turn.  Multiplayer games.

The parents were excited.  We get a turn.  M-rated games.

So much freaking win in that box.


There’s always a but.

We didn’t order it.  We didn’t pay for it.  It wasn’t ours.

A friend told me to sell it.  She knows how hard we’re working to pay off debt.

A coworker said, “Screw them.  They’re just a big corporation who’d be happy to screw you first.”

But it wasn’t ours.

I spent 12 hours trying to rationalize a way to keep it that wouldn’t be unethical, make me feel guilty, or–most important–send a horrible message to my kids.

I couldn’t do it.

It wasn’t ours.

I had a talk with my son.   It was his money that got this little prize into our house, after all.    He wanted to keep it, naturally.  He’s got a lot to learn about persuasion.   He acknowledged that sending it back was the right thing to do.   He agreed that it would suck if the roles were reversed.  His only argument in favor of keeping it was “I want it.”

Even he admitted that was completely lame.

It’s going back.  I let him think that was his decision.

I talked to Amazon.  They apologized for the inconvenience and gave me a UPS label to send it back at no cost.   It didn’t cover pickup, but I’ve got a drop box in my office building, so I can deal with that.

My wife was pissed.   The customer service rep never bothered to say thank you.   She called Amazon to complain to a manager.  After reminding him that we had no duty to return the free XBox, he gave us a $25 gift card to say thank you.

I love my wife.

My son, for deciding to to the right thing, gets to spend the gift card.   My wife, for being awesome, gets to be with me.  I miss my free XBox.

What would you do?  Would you keep the free XBox, sell it, or send it back?

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    1. You did the right thing. Bigger than a $200 xbox is the lesson you taught your son. You may never get a chance to teach a lesson like that again.

      I do see the point that they’re a big corporation. But, Amazon is a really good company. They treat their customers well and rank right at the top in customer service. I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to give it back, especially if it gave me a chance to teach something to my children at the same time. Well done. I wish there were more parents out there like you.

    2. Uh, yes.

      It’s hard, but it’s the right thing to do. I’ve gone back in a store to pay for an item the cashier forgot to ring up…more than once.

      Most of the time, all you get for your good deed is a smaller bank account. Sometimes you’ll get a very appreciative thank you. And every once in a while, you’ll be comped. It’s sort of like karma; act selflessly, and in all probability, it’ll eventually pay dividends.

    3. I would return it! What would I do with 2 xboxes anyway?

    4. I would have returned it too. I’m glad your wife called to complain, however, and that your son got rewarded for doing the right thing. That’s a true win/win.

    5. I would have returned it too. Although I would have secretly hoped that when I called to get the info on returning it, that they would have told me to just keep it. You know someone’s missing that X-box though.

    6. It would have been tough, but returning it is the right thing to do. My wife would have done the exact same thing too. 🙂

    7. I think it is good to return it. Your son will learn a lot from this about honesty and how to do the right thing. This will only make him a better adult down the road. Plus he still has one he can enjoy.

    8. I know it sounds weird but I’d like to say I would keep it, however I am almost positive I would return it out of guilt.

      If you need to make yourself feel better maybe it is better since you’ll buy less games.

    9. i think you did the right thing. i would have ebay’d the extra though. there being kind and being a boyscout. pass on the latter.

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