Our family made a trip to Walmart last week and when we (finally) got to the checkout with two overflowing baskets, several of the kids headed to the self checkout to pay for the things they were buying with their own money.
When MaddieLynn came back, she reported that she had found a $20 bill, which she suspected was left by the man who had been in line in front of her. He had already left by the time she discovered it, so she was wondering what to do.
We sent her to the service desk to ask how they handle found money. She was sent from there to a station where a manager would speak to her about it.
The news that she had found an unspecified amount of money must have traveled quickly because by the time we met up with her, there were four Walmart employees advising her on what to do.
Our main concern was getting the money to its proper owner, which we deducted was the man who had left the register ahead of MaddieLynn.
The employees, including the manager, seemed intent on taking possession of the money, which we were not willing to hand over until we found out the policy for handling found money.
We heard three different stories about the policy for handling these situations.
- The money is put in the "Walmart associates fund".
- The money is put in a "children's charity fund".
- The money is put in a drawer and kept there until the owner inquires about it.
During these explanations, two of the employees had their hands out and advised us to hand the money over to them.
We hadn't divulged the amount found and I guess they may have concluded that it was a large amount.
Call me cynical, but I suspected that none of them had any intention of seeing to it that the rightful owner of the money ever saw it again.
I suggested that we leave our name and number, and even produced a little card with that information on it, and said that if anyone could identify the amount found, we would be glad to return it to them.
The manager did not like that idea and handed the card back to me. She asked if I really wanted twenty people calling, telling me they lost a $2.40 cents and added in something about "doing the right thing" and walked away.
The Smockity Bunch huddled up to discuss what to do next and we all agreed that we didn't want to keep something that belonged to someone else. I wasn't very keen on handing it over to people who I didn't think would return it. I mean if the original owner never inquired about it and someone was going to get to keep it, it might as well be MaddieLynn. Right?
Since we knew there was no way of contacting the man who lost it, and it was entirely possible that he would come back, or at least call and ask for it, we decided that we would hand it over to the employees of Walmart and they would then have the responsibility to "do the right thing".
We walked out to the parking lot in silence. I think we were all thinking the same thing. That man is never going to see his money again and somebody just got an easy twenty bucks.
What would you have done?