Don’t Be A Dick

White chocolate is marketed by confectioners a...

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Integrity is what you do when nobody is looking.

Do you cheat at solitaire, steal from an untended garage sale, or keep something a store forgets to charge you for?   If so, integrity may not be your strongest trait.

Similarly, if you let the actions of others dictate your behavior, you may be integrity impaired.

If you get cut off in traffic, do suddenly feel justified in cutting off the next guy?

If you have a dollar stolen from your desk, does that make it okay to take a candy bar from the honor-system candy box?

If the last guy left the water cooler empty, are you going to refuse to refill it the next time you are the one to drink the last drop?

If you’re answering yes to these questions, it may be time to examine your moral code. ¬† Doing the right thing means doing the right thing all of the time. ¬† ¬†You can’t be an honorable person if you resort to dishonorable behavior whenever you dislike what someone else does, especially if your actions are hurting an entirely uninvolved 3rd party.

You know the proper behavior. ¬†You know what the ethical choice is. ¬†The fact that someone else made an unethical choice doesn’t give you a license to be a dick.

If it’s your turn to clean the community refrigerator, do it and do it well, even if the last guy did a poor job.

If the last mom driving the car pool showed up late, don’t deliberately forget her kid.

If someone forgot to pay at a group lunch and you covered it, that doesn’t mean you can skip out on the bill next time.

Even if everything else is taken from you, no one can ever steal your ethics, your integrity, or your honor.   Those things are up to you to destroy, and they nearly impossible to replace.

In all cases, in all things, do the right thing. ¬† You won’t be sorry.

Resurrected from the archives.

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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.

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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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