Social Question

JustJessica's avatar

Morality test, or a blessing (if you believe in that)?

Asked by JustJessica (4054 points ) May 1st, 2011

Long story short: Went shopping today and was left with only $12 for gas, and my car was totally empty… I swiped my card at the pump, I was instructed by the screen on the pump to start pumping, so I proceeded to start pumping, looked away for a min. and when I looked back the pump said $16, I freaked out because I didn’t even have $4 to pay the difference… I then decided I would go inside and tell the cashier what happened, she looked it up on the comp and said it showed I didn’t pump any gas and I still had the $12 on my pre-paid card. I left the pump with $28 worth of gas for $12, but also a feeling that I should have said something more. Gas is so much right now, and my family is really struggling, The “free” gas couldn’t have come at a better time if you ask me, I feel blessed but also feel like I should have said something more…...

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63 Answers

Pandora's avatar

Blessing. You did the right thing and you made them aware that the pump is out of order. So many people probably walked away expecting to see a bill later that will never come and the gas station would’ve probably not noticed the error till it was too late.

HungryGuy's avatar

You did the right thing by going in and explaining the computer error at the pump. I’d say that absolves you of any guilt.

Kardamom's avatar

Take it as a blessing. You didn’t “steal” the gas. You tried to set the record straight. Just remember to Pay It Forward down the line. : )

JustJessica's avatar

@Kardamom Funny you say that… As I was walking in the store(right before I got the gas) I was approached by a local non-profit charity that was asking for donations, I bought a couple items on the list and donated them as I walked out of the store, then went directly to the gas pump after that and this happened. I didn’t even remember I had done this because it’s something I do often when I can, but now thinking about that I do feel a little better about the gas situation.

stardust's avatar

Blessing. Who knows, maybe the cashier was paying it forward him/herself? :)

Cruiser's avatar

Blessing….you attempted to right a wrong and went above the board in doing so. Don’t think twice about it.

dxs's avatar

I agree with @HungryGuy and @Cruiser. You attempted it, and it was at their fault anyway. Even with the dreaded gas prices and low economy, it seemed to be worth it because I was hearing that gas stations are jacking their prices too much. Yes, gas price is going up, but sometimes it is their dirty little scams to think that it is because where they get it from is costing more, but no, it’s going into their dirty, filthy hands. Take the free gas and use it—use it with pride.

mazingerz88's avatar

Ahh, you could have left with 50 bucks worth of gas! Kidding! Lol.

tinyfaery's avatar

However you want to look at it. That’s all that matters.

meiosis's avatar

Technically, it’s theft. You knew you’d taken the petrol, even if the computer system didn’t. However, I would regard it as the universe smiling on you and not sweat over it.

dxs's avatar

Well then, what if you “didn’t know”?

yankeetooter's avatar

Be careful…the charge may not have gone through yet…you may end up with a negative balance on your card…

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Personally,I would go back and make up the difference as soon as I got the money.;)

Dutchess_III's avatar

You did the right thing…and you got a little reward! I wouldn’t sweat that…

LuckyGuy's avatar

Sorry to be a pooper, but…. they have your card number and know exactly how much was charged. I’m giving even odds you get a bill. Check your card for overdraft charges tomorrow.

Please let us know what happens.

HungryGuy's avatar

I doubt they’ll do that. The pump was obviously malfunctioning. If they then charged someone’s card a day later, the gas station owner could get into serious problems. Lose his merchant account with the credit bureau. Perhaps even charged with theft.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Let’s revisit this Q a week from now. We will all learn something.

yankeetooter's avatar

Yeah, I agree with @worriedguy. When I use my bank card as a credit card at the pump, it won’t even show up for a few days on my account. I would put some money in the account to be safe…

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught. ~J.C. Watts

I can’t believe that people would not step up and do the right thing. HS

JLeslie's avatar

I would not have pumped more gas. I probably would have looked at is as a gift from the universe, and left it as is. Taking more gas seems greedy, and in my experience greed never works out.

josie's avatar

When you lie, or cheat, then you are forever a liar and a cheater. Can you live with that? Some people can, and others can’t. I personally would hate to be accurately called a liar or a cheater.

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m confused on what kind of “card” she was using.

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m also curious about the dollar amounts. Correct me if I’m wrong. You had $12 left on some sort of “card.” You pumped $16 worth of gas. Went in, told the attendent. YaYaYa. You said, “I left the pump with $28 worth of gas for $12.” You left with $16 worth of gas, right? And the malfunctioning “card.” Right?

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham Not quite. She had $12 to spend. She accidently pumped $16 of gas. She went in to explain, and they said it looked like she had not pumped anything. So, she went out and started from scratch on the pump, and filled her car with another $12. $16+$12=$28. that is where the $28 comes from, but she only actually paid $12, because the fist gas she pumped was never charged. Make sense? Although, some think the charge will show up eventually.

@ALL What is odd to me is I thought debit cards block something like $75 before you pump, and then the real amount is charged at the end? So how did the pump ever start in the first place?

bkcunningham's avatar

Why did she start from scratch. She knew she was pumping gas into the vehicle. Also, I’m still confused about what kind of card we are talking about here.

bkcunningham's avatar

This is starting to sound like a math homework question. lol The train traveled 216 miles and was going NW arriving in Cleveland at 8:30 a.m.

yankeetooter's avatar

That’s funny, @bkcunningham . You read my mind…

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham She started from scratch because the attendant said there was no charge on her card, so she took another $12 of gas cause she could and get away with it basically. She got the first $16 of gas for free, because something went screwy at the pump.

bkcunningham's avatar

Well, that’s stealing if that is what happened.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham I believe you got the answer correct. A-. I would give you an A+ if you had shown your steps.

bkcunningham's avatar

For extra credit I’d like to say, the fact that she said her family is “really struggling” and yet she offered food to strangers via the non-profit donation thing struck something in me. I’m not sure what it is really.

JLeslie's avatar

I once borrowed a dollar from a guy at a gas station. He gave me his business card for where he works, and I paid him back. Probably cost me a dollar in gas to do it. He didn’t expect me to pay him, but I felt like I should.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham :) Well, you might need a different teacher for that. Giving money away does not balance the theft for me.

JLeslie's avatar

And, giving money away when a person can barely rub two nickels together makes no sense to me. Next we will have to be paying her, because she cannot afford her bills.

bkcunningham's avatar

Bingo @JLeslie! That is how it struck me. What you said.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Go back later and pay the difference. No one else has to live with your conscience… just you.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham Ok, it counts then. Bumped up to the A+.

Next is an essay question. Did you hear about Bin Laden?

bkcunningham's avatar

Yes, we are awaiting word from the POTUS.

JustJessica's avatar

@everyone It was a pre-paid card from the store, so no surprise charges on my account.

On another note, It must have been a Morality test I failed miserably, due to the fact my darling little baby kitty just got killed by a pitbull right in front of my children and I tonight. I’m so sad, and my children are traumatized, I guess I should have insisted the cashiers computer was wrong. My poor kitty and my children have suffered. Talk about instant karma.

@JLeslie You should be really happy to know my cat was tore to shreds in from of my children, because of a technical malfunction I had nothing to do with. Thank you for your feedback.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Oh @JustJessica I am sorry for your loss. Do not feel guilty. Believe me, you are not so powerful that your pumping gas is the cause of your cat’s death. Your kitty was simply in the same spot as a loose pitbull. That’s it. A sad situation.
I hope the family that owns the pitbull is helping you.

JLeslie's avatar

@JustJessica Oh how awful. I am very very sorry. Thet is not payback or karma, just something very unfortunate and tragic. I know that for sure because a few dollars does not equal the life of one of God’s creatures, and your families sadness. Do not beat up on yourself. You already were “punished” with the question in your mind of whether you did the right thing. Your conscience knew it was unclear, it made you think about your acions, and probably would be a lessoned learned for another time. You certainly did not deserve anything like your kitty being harned. Again, I am sorry for the loss you and your family is going through.

On another note, I am not sure why you only address me when others were critical too? I actually had said I would have probably just kept the gas and left it like that after you had tried to make it right in the first place.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@JustJessica -Sorry about your cat but that does not change the fact that you owe the gas station money,cashier’s mistake or not.
Besides,what if she had to eat the difference? There is no way in hell I would feel good about screwing someone over like that,not to mention the fact that the owner of the gas station is also a person trying to make a living. Whether or not you agree with their prices,it does not entitle you to take that which is not yours.If someone else makes a mistake,it doesn’t change the fact that you still owe that gas station money.
Why don’t you just clear your conscience and go back there when you get the money and pay them the money you owe.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m sorry about your kitty @JustJessica…..

john65pennington's avatar

Enjoy your gasoline, for the mement. It was a temporary blessing.

Once this mistake is discovered, you will charged for the gasoline, somewhere down the line.

Be prepared for this to happen.

JustJessica's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille Plan on going back as soon as I get the money. Was my plan all along. Thanks for the input everyone.

yankeetooter's avatar

@JustJessica I am so sorry to hear about your cat…that in no way happened because of your actions, and please don’t think that for a minute…

My heart goes out to you….

bkcunningham's avatar

@JustJessica you really knew all along what to do. Didn’t you really? It seemed like it when you first asked. Otherwise, to me at least, you wouldn’t have even questioned your own actions. You knew.

Your kitty and your little children weren’t punished from something that just happened and you thought you’d “take advantage of it”. That is just life around pitbulls. Make it right though. You know the right thing to do.

I am truely sorry about what happened in front of your children. We all want our children to witness good things in life. From us and around us. (It’s spring and there are lots of new kittens to be given away. Maybe you can get a new one for your children.)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah…I’ve been thinking about your kitty and your kids all day. How horrifying.

She knows. She’s honest. Leave her alone now.

JustJessica's avatar

@Dutchess_III Thank you.

@bkcunningham I just thought I would ask a question and share a story like everyone else here. My apologies if I’ve said something to offend you.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@JustJessica Just never mind them. They all took the PMS pill at the same time….BTW. You DO know you’re going to hell, right? (JK!!! How are the kids?)

bkcunningham's avatar

You didn’t offend me @JustJessica. You didn’t steal from me. I was just giving you some advise. I thought that is why you ask questions on this type of forum…to get advise. Geez, I thought I was being nice. Hhhmmm, let your conscience by your guide.

LOL @Dutchess III. The joke is on all the youngsters who still have PMS. I’m in menopause. Pitbulls had better be careful around me.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m just saying, guys, one of our own came to us with a problem and she’s getting thrashed for presenting it to us—her family. That’s wrong. We could have stopped a long time ago.

HungryGuy's avatar

Actually, I meant to say (and I should have said so much sooner), she did the right thing by going into the station to tell what happened.

Everything else that happened before and afterward was random occurrence and had no supernatural bearing whatsoever on what she did or didn’t do.

As for the underpayment for the gas, it’s remotely possible that the station manager will check the records to find out why the receipts don’t balance the amount of gas pumped, and send her a letter demanding payment. But since the mistake was with the station’s equipment AND the clerk let her have the extra gas, the station will find itself in serious legal trouble if they just up and charge her card for the extra amount.

JLeslie's avatar

@HungryGuy The card was a prepay and it was on its last $12. The station can’t charge more. The station just has to write it off as a loss if the register does not balance. No different than giving out the wrong amount of change and being out of balance. It’s not a big deal in the end for the station, just one of those things, the cost of doing business. They aren’t going to try to get the money back.

Dutchess_III's avatar

HA! Things happen. Some are crappy and unfair, and some are great and unfair!

JustJessica's avatar

UPDATE: I went to the gas station to try and pay today, I’m waiting for the manager to get in contact with me because the woman working couldn’t except any money from me without talking to the manager.

JLeslie's avatar

@JustJessica They will probably check to see if the register was short.

JustJessica's avatar

I know it’s been a while but according to management at the gas station they have NO record of the transaction. I’m totally convinced it was a blessing…

JLeslie's avatar

:) You did everything you could. I agree it was the universe giving you a gift.

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