Would you consider this stealing?

United States
April 3, 2007 11:50pm CST
I need some help re-magnetizing my moral compass! I'm trying to decide if I should feel guilty. This is the situation: I was getting a candy bar from the vending machine at work today and put in a dollar bill (the candy bar costs 70 cents). I push the buttons and I get the candy bar plus 95 cents back. I think to my self, "That's strange, maybe someone forgot their change earlier." No one was there, so I decide to use the "found" money. I often give people money to use for the machine if they are short, so this is not where my guilt comes into play; that's coming up. So, I put in 70 cents in change and get another candy bar (to save for tomorrow), and I recieve 65 cents in change! Well, now I'm curious. Is the change dispenser broken? So I put in a nickle and push the same button. I get one candy bar and no change. I put in another nickle and press the button for the next item over, the machine blinks "check price of selection". I put in a second nickle and push the same button and get that item, no change. I eventually realize that the machine has somehow been reset so that everything on the left is a nickle and increases in price to the right, up to 25 or 30 cents (most everything in the machine is normally 70 cents or at least 50 cents). After my little experiment, I ended up with 5 candy bars, a pack of mini-donuts and a snack cake, all for less than $1; the "retail" for these would have added up to over $5. I called the vending company and left a message informing them that their machine was broken and giving out too much change. It will probably be fixed tomorrow. At the moment, all the stuff is sitting in my desk drawer, giving me a pesudo-guilt complex (except for the one I ate already, it was snack time after all). So, should I feel guilty or is this some sort of good karma that I should just accept? Do I keep the candy? give it back to the vending company (they probably couldn't put it back in the machine, though)? should I go back and empty the machine while it is at "bargin prices" to make up fo the gouging the company does the rest of the time?distribute my booty among my office mates? I need some opinions, people! Thanks!
1 person likes this
3 responses
• Ireland
4 Apr 07
You are really a very honest person. Others might have been temped to empty the vending but you opted to inform the vending company that their machine was out of order. $5 is a very small amount and if you were to return your spoils they would probably chuck them in the garbage, The vending company should actually reward you for being so honest.
2 people like this
• United States
4 Apr 07
A reward, eh? I like your thinking! But the practically free candy is pretty good. Plus, the guys who restock the machines already will leave out the stuff that is about to go out of date for us to take, rather than chuck it. They are pretty nice.
@mamasan34 (6521)
• United States
4 Apr 07
In my opinion, your moral compass doesn't need fine tuning. You did the right thing, calling the company and advising them of the problem. The machine will be fixed and for the extra treasure you received, just consider it payment for the time it took you to figure out what was wrong with the machine. Your other co-workers might not have been so fortuitous to call the vending company. So, ease your troubled mind good citizen!
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Apr 07
Hee, hee, well, I knew it was broken after the second candy bar, that's whay I felt a little guilty about the other 5 things I ended up getting so cheap. The continued trys just told me more specific symptoms of it's "broken-ness." Thanks for your reply!
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
4 Apr 07
Well the saving grace in my opinion is that you have informed the vending machine company! I would consider the candy etc that you have amassed as a reward for your honesty! If rather than inform them you decided to exploit this "loophole" and make out like a bandit for weeks to come then I would question your ethics but you haven't done this so enjoy your spoils! As for sharing with your work mates? Your call but would they have informed the company of the machine problem and shared with you also? Probably not. Once again I say enjoy it!
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Apr 07
Thanks, James. That helps set my mind at ease. I will probably give a couple of the bars to my friends, if only to keep from pigging out on them myself all in one day (I can resist the chocolate in the vending machine, but once it is in my desk, I have no will power!)
1 person likes this