Sunday, January 3, 2010


Do you ever feel like you're being tested in some way?

Back in October, while shopping for Tyson's Halloween costume, I was returning a costume to the Disney Store and purchasing Tyson's Buzz Lightyear costume instead. There were two items on the return receipt, I was returning the less expensive of the two items and should have needed to pay a difference of $15. Instead, I was only asked to pay $5. I was a little confused and thought maybe the Buzz costume was on sale and I didn't notice. I walked by the display on the way out and sure enough, the costume wasn't on sale. I stepped outside the store and examined the receipt. The sales girl had returned the more expensive of the two items by mistake (Riley's Sleeping Beauty dress) and not the Cars costume, making the difference incorrect. I called Rick, who was waiting in the van with the kids and explained what had happened, telling him I would be a few minutes longer because I needed to go back into the store and pay the correct difference. I just couldn't bring myself to walk away. The girl was really appreciative and couldn't believe she had made such a mistake, she was also a little shocked I came back in to correct it.

Jump forward to last weekend, I was out shopping with my mom and sister for some after-Christmas decoration sales. My mom is a preferred shopper at the store we were at and received an additional 10% off the total purchase, so she paid for everything. While looking over the receipt for our items to pay her back for, I realized the most expensive item I picked out (a beautiful monogrammed Christmas plate that I can't wait to hang up next Christmas season) was not on the receipt anywhere. Everything else was accounted for, but the plate, which was originally $25 and should have been $12.50 was nowhere to be found. Somehow, the plate was missed while ringing up all of our bargains, but ended up in our bags. I could have easily paid my mom the $27 we owed her and kept quiet about the plate, but chose to point it out and my mom called the store with the information to pay for the plate.

Now, the last one is a doozie. Rick and I found a great wicker chair, ottoman, cushions and pillow at Pier 1 Imports around the 29th. He and I took turns running into the store picking everything out because we didn't want to get the kids out of the van. The woman helping us was so nice and had even honored a Sale price on the wicker chair, which was no longer on sale, but the tag was still on the chair by mistake- saving us $30! When all was said and done, I'd added more discounted Christmas items to the pile (including our first official tree skirt!) and went to the register to pay. Rick had handed me $300 cash from the furniture we sold on Craigs List before moving and we figured the total (without the Christmas stuff) should have been just above that $300- taking the $30 off sale price into account too, because at that time we didn't know it was mis-marked. So, I was a little surprised when the entire total, Christmas stuff and all, was only $302. Hmmm... We loaded everything in the van and I promptly looked at the receipt. Not a single cushion or pillow had been rung up. That's right, 3 cushions equaling over $60 were not on there. Seriously?? It was as if someone was saying, "You think you're honest, huh? $10 and $12 is nothing. How about $60 worth of FREE stuff? What are you going to do with that???" What we did was walk right back into the store with the cushions and receipt and pay for them. If I thought the girl at the Disney Store was appreciative, it was nothing compared to the woman at Pier 1! She was SO thankful and kept pointing out how busy they've been and how flustered she is and thanked me several times. Rick and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

After this has happened a few times in a row so close together, it makes me wonder: How many other people would really choose to point out mistakes in their favor like these? I would hope everyone, but I know that is not the reality. Most people are quick to point out when they are overcharged for something or paid too much on their end, but not so much when the tables are turned. In every situation, I try to think about the person who made the mistake and how it could have easily been me. I've been overstressed and overtired at work before and realize it can happen to anyone. Let me be clear, I'm not trying to say, "Check me out, I'm such a great person!"- I just believe that the money we would have "saved" by not pointing out the errors would not have been worth it in the long run.

So, a couple of fun things have happened since the afternoon at Pier 1. The next day I was at Safeway buying way too many groceries- a shopping trip I would usually do at Winco to save money. I was chatting with the cashier and loading my groceries bags in the cart and she pointed out that it was her job to load them and I didn't need to do it. I just mentioned I didn't mind helping rather than just sitting by waiting for her to have to do it. She stepped over to the newspapers and pulled out a coupon I didn't have that saved me $10 on the total purchase. The cashier standing behind me said to her, "You're so nice, I don't do stuff like that", sort of in a joking way. My cashier replied that she likes doing nice things for nice people- she was talking about me! All I was thinking in my head was, there was $10 back to us- maybe a little bit of payback or good karma.

Then, two nights ago, Rick and I were leaving the movie theater after seeing The Blind Side. It was dark out and nobody else was around, I looked down to see a soaking wet dollar bill on the ground. I picked it up and Rick and I laughed a little... then three steps later, another little wad of dollar bills were sitting soaking wet, too, three of them to be exact. Four dollars that someone had unfortunately dropped- Rick pointed out that at least they only lost $4 and not 4 twenties or worse! I knew exactly what I was going to do with the $4 before we even made it to the van... no, not Starbucks! This morning at church, those four dollar bills made there way into the tithing basket as it was passed around and I said a little prayer that those exact four dollars would find a way to truly help someone who needs it. Yes, these things have all made me feel good or warm and fuzzy inside, but that isn't the reason I did them. It just felt right, like what I needed to do.

Happy Sunday everyone!


Jamie said...

Such a great story!

Perry said...

Love this story!

libbie said...

LOVE this post. LOVE honest people. LOVE you for being such a great person! You go GIRL! Happy 2010!

Lisa said...

Yes, I do believe in Karma, and these are perfect examples. I must admit, though, I'm not a receipt checker much at all, and if so, it certainly wouldn't be until I got home. I can only hope, had these situations been on my side, that I would have done the same. And if I do my math right, Karma still has about $80 to send your way. I wonder how that will appear. =)

Heidi D said...

This further confirms that you are a great person. : )

I don't think it's braggy either, I think it's a good example.

On Jeff's birthday last year, we super splurged and went to the melting pot. We got every course and we had a coupon for a free chocolate fondue. Our bill was surprisingly low. We were walking out of the restaurant and I asked to look at the receipt. They had double entered the coupon and it took about 30 dollars off the bill. We went back to the front desk and let them know about the error. They were really grateful and told us to just enjoy the extra discount. Cool. :)

Lisa said...

I am sure that your example will encourage others to make the same choices :)

By the way, my brother and I were having a conversation and trying to decide if you pronounce your last name like the river Thames? Just courious...

Lisa said...

I forgot to comment on your comments from yesterday (or was it the day before?). Yes, it would be fantastic if we lived closer, for both the girls' and our sakes. I don't we could have managed to be much farther apart if we really tried. And when (if ever!) I move I'll be headed about 60 more miles east, separating us even further! One day we bloggers will have to do a get together somewhere in the middle of the country. Airfare courtesy of SW, dontcha think?

Lisa said...

Natalie found 17 cents abandoned on a table outside a Borders today. She must have done something extra good at school today, or you're sharing!