Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Do The Right Thing (or: Go Ahead, Tell Me I'm an Idiot)

We just got back from our pre-nap morning errands (The Pumpkin fell asleep in the car). So, we're about to start a kitchen remodel (plus plumbing, plus doors and floors...aack!) in our 1952 ranch house—demolition is scheduled in two weeks, so I'm sure you'll hear a lot more about SAHD-ing a toddler in the middle of a remodel, both here at on my solo blog. But anyway, The Pumpkin and I stopped at the local big-box "home improvement" store [that's in quotes 'cause I am so not handy and I hate those places 'cause I can't ever find anything and nobody's helpful and...] this morning to pick up the sink la dra. and I have chosen. It's a nice, big, deep undercounter sink, white ceramic on cast iron, from a well-known name-brand. And the big-box price was $200 less than the manufacturer's list price on their own website. So, I thought, good deal, right?

Well, I finally find someone to help me maneuver the thing on top of the cart (doesn't fit in the cart, which is one of those ones with the little kiddie seat/platform attached in front to free up cargo room, which The Pumpkin loves), and I manage to steer the whole thing to the check-out. Well, the young lady helping me scans the bar code and says, "39 dollars." Excuse me? She shows no sign whatsoever of thinking that maybe a humongous cast-iron, name-brand sink doesn't cost forty bucks. It's only my surprise that clues her in that maybe something's wrong here.

Now, I could've just let it go. I could've walked out of there with basically a free sink, the first (and probably only) break in an ever-upward-spiraling remodelling budget [did you know that you shouldn't put bamboo flooring, which is a fast-growing grass, over a concrete slab that has a 50-year-old radiant heating system in it 'cause the heat and humidity will basically destroy it? neither did I, till the honest flooring guy said so right before we were gonna cut a check in his showroom]. But I said something like, "Really? Is that right?" Knowing, of course, that it wasn't. But if she wanted to give it to me, fine, right?

Except, of course, she decided to ask another checker, who asked if the UPC was on the box or was a sticker. It was a sticker. Removed, it revealed another UPC which didn't come up in their system. (The sticker, by the way, did come up as "sink" or something like that.) So she went to the other side of the box and scanned another UPC, which came up, correctly, as $309.

So, F-Bomb and ThisIsLarry and anybody else going through, about to go through, or who has gone through a renovation, did I do the right thing? Or should I have basically stolen that sink in front of my sweet babygirl, and would I have found myself writing now about being wracked with guilt over displaying such back ethics in front of a toddler?

Yeah, right. Tell me I'm a frickin' moron.


Didi said...

You're not an idiot at all - something similar happened to us on Sunday when we went out to dinner. Instead of in charging our credit card $41, the server put in $14. I immediately called him over and showed him the mistake and he fixed it. It's not worth the bad karma to take advantage of a situation like that.

(Bearing in mind that we were at a small mom-and-pop Indian restaurant that we eat at every other week, so I would've felt horrible about shorting them, not to mention I'd be too ashamed to ever go back because they would've figured it out and then I'd be that person. In your chase, it would be highly unlikely you'd ever be found out)

thisislarry said...

Hmm, would you have done the same thing before you became a father? I have a feeling you would have, because it's the right thing to do. You unfortunately are infected with integrity.

That said, if there's anywhere I would allow myself that kind of 'shopping arbitrage' it would be exactly at a place like that. If the checker is so underknowledgable that they dont even have a clue what an item is worth, the lost revenue should be considered a cost of doing business as a Big Box.

What you pay for at a smaller retailer is that expertise, which includes knowing what a sink ought to cost.

thisislarry said...

oh yeah, and thanks for the shout out, yo!

KristieD said...

Its good karma. Or something like that. Altho it would have been AWESOME to get the sink for 40 bucks, and the Big Name Store wouldnt really lose much money on it, i would have done the same thing. I have done similar but with smaller purchases.

Ka_Jun said...

Do the right thing. Seriously, as Asian-Am dads, we've got to represent for the babies!

kristenL said...

You totally did the right thing. This is something my husband would do. I would seethe but secretly be pleased that at least one of us has morals to teach our son.

peachboy said...

A person can use "karma" to justify any action. For example, maybe the pricing mistake was payback for some past benificent act of yours, in which case you've just missed out. Me, I woulda taken the Home Depot "discount" without blinking; it's not picking the pocket of a Mom & Pop operation. If I felt guilty or sheepish later, I'd donate that extra money to a cause of my choice.