General Question

gondwanalon's avatar

If an unknown person lost a large amount of money and you have it then what would you do with the money?

Asked by gondwanalon (19676points) December 2nd, 2011

Ethical situation:
You are in a store and an elderly woman tells you a man just dropped a wad of money on the floor. She points the man in the parking lot walking to his car. She gives you the money and tells you to run and give the money to the man. You catch up with the man but he tells you that he did not lose any money even after checking his wallet.

What do you do with the money (four new $100 bills)?

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23 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Use it to patch the holes in my jacket.

Under the orange tree.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Report it to the police.
EDIT: I didn’t read the details carefully. Reverse pickpocket!

YoBob's avatar

I would still make an effort by hanging out in the store for awhile and looking for somebody who obviously looks like they are trying to find something they have lost. They should be able to tell you exactly how much they dropped.

Given the additional reasonable effort, the moral obligation has been addressed so It kind of depends on how generous I am feeling at the time. It would lie somewhere between stuffing it into the jar of that guy ringing the bell outside of the store and heading across the street to buy a very nice bottle of scotch. (Ok, perhaps half for the bell ringer and the other half for the scotch…)

flutherother's avatar

I would hand it over to the manager of the store and tell him what happened.

cazzie's avatar

I would NOT trust the manager of the store. I would post a very cryptic message about Ben Franklin Quadruplets being left at the store with a telephone number and vet the calls very carefully.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

This sounds like a psych eval question so popular on contemporary job applications. If this is so, the scenario is far fetched from actually happening in reality. The premise is simply designed to evaluate a potential hires thought process.

In this light, there is only one proper answer to give a potential employer on issues dealing with loose money… And @flutherother already provided it. You R hired!

HungryGuy's avatar

Actually, something very similar to this happened to me just last week. I was in a store and bought something. I continued shopping and then returned to the register to buy something else. Another customer was chatting with the salesman and said he found a $20 on the floor as I returned to the counter and asked me if I dropped any money (he and I were the only 2 customers in the store). I checked my wallet and wasn’t missing any money. He said he felt guilty for keeping the money so he split it with me.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@HungryGuy He felt guilty so he split it with you? Hahaha that sounds like a Parishioner paying a Priest to pay the guilt away.

blueiiznh's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies i don’t read anything in the question that says the person is a potential new hire, employee or anything.

First off, I wouldn’t do a thing to start with because I knew nothing of the original situation with these people.

But to answer as asked, I either hand it back to the originla person or I take it to the police and explain the situation. The bills could be counterfeit or stolen and I am not about to stick myself in the middle of that.

marinelife's avatar

Turn it into the store management.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Turn it in to the police. In most jurisdictions, found money not claimed over some predetermined period of time is given to the one who found it.

Coloma's avatar

Yep, I’d turn it in to the police and if it was not claimed in whatever the time frame is, then, it would come back to me, karma free. :-)

It would tear me up to think I was keeping someones money while they suffered the loss.

cockswain's avatar

You guys think a cop or store manager isn’t likely to pocket it? They may or may not, but why trust them?

CaptainHarley's avatar

The cops have to give you a reciept for any found money you turn in to them. I wouldn’t hand it to an individual cop, just to the property room or front desk.

cockswain's avatar

That makes more sense. Otherwise I think one is being foolish by wishing a stranger would behave in a certain way.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Human nature in general is somewhat predictible. The behavior of any particular human being is hardly predictable at all.

CaptainHarley's avatar

LOL! Simple and direct, eh? ; )


Well, I remember when I was a kid, me and my brothers found a lady’s purse on the side of a road near our house. There was a lot of money in it, and we brought it home. We found the lady’s address and phone number in the purse, so being the “goody goodies” we were, we called her to re-claim her purse. She came to our house that evening (it was winter), and when we gave her her purse and money back, she didn’t even bother to reward us kids. Not even one damn penny. Not even a “thank-you”! To make things worse, she told us to shovel our walk of all the ice and snow, or else “someone like her” could slip and fall, and she’d end up suing us! We were just young kids. The old battle-lack!!

From then on, I learned that it didn’t always pay to be a goody goody all the time! Lol.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Turning the money in to the police requires first taking possession of the money, and taking it out of the store where it was found.

Just give it to the manager on duty and request an employee witness the transaction. Call the police to verify if you wish. But don’t take the cash out of the store if you want it returned to the one who lost it. That only moves the goal further away.

cockswain's avatar

What stops the two employees from splitting it?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“What stops the two employees from splitting it?”

“Call the police to verify if you wish.”

Coloma's avatar

A few months ago I left my wallet in the kiddie set of a grocery cart while loading my groceries into my trunk. I got home and realized it was not in my purse, and remebered I had taken it out when I went into the store.

Called the market and one of the cashiers had JUST found it in the basket in the parking lot!

I was SO grateful!

It wasn’t so much the cash, but everything else, drivers license, credit and debit cards, social security card, etc.

Nothing worse than the feeling of discovering your wallet is missing!

It was a happy day for me and it’s always nice to come across truly honest people, those birds are getting rarer by the day.

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