Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Honest Truth

Yesterday I was hit in the face with the Truth. It wasn’t pretty.
I was at Best Buy. I was checking out some software that I needed for my laptop. The trial version of the software had expired. Since I don’t get to stores like that too often (and especially kid-free), I decided to buy it and then opt to take it back if I didn’t need it. I had a few other items to buy also. As I was checking out I talked to the clerk about whether or not I could return the software. She seemed unsure of everything (probably new, I thought). Since the Microsoft software has key codes on the box she had to verify I could return it if I hadn’t opened it. Then, I paid for everything and walked out. I must have been daydreaming (oh how nice not to be quieting an argument from a 2 and 4 year old!) when I checked out because I got all the way to the car when it dawned on me that the total bill was incredibly low. I pulled out the receipt and the pricey Microsoft item was not on there. I went back in and I the greeter asked if had a return. I told them that they failed to charge me for an item. When I told him which item, he reacted with disbelief. He thanked me for coming back in. He wanted to know who the cashier was. He sent me to Customer Service. As I approached the customer service desk, I was greeted and asked if I had a return. I told the girl that I had not been charged for an item. When I told her which one, she went right behind the counter and helped me. No need for me to wait in the line. Suddenly I had 3 people helping me. There were three customer service reps (one of which was a manager) gushing over me and how they were so grateful to me. I said I didn’t think much about it. I didn’t want the cashier to get in trouble; I just wanted to pay for what I bought. They seemed so genuinely surprised. They went on and on about how many people would have walked away happy to have gotten such a great deal. I believe I said something about how if I hadn’t come back in, that would have been like stealing. I was surprised to have such a big reaction. Then they said that they wanted me to have a $25 gift card because they appreciated my honesty so much. Wow, I couldn’t help but think that it was crazy to be rewarded for telling the truth. I also was excited about having a free gift card. How Nice! After continued thanks from everyone (including the greeter on the way out), I made my way to my car feeling a little amazed at the world. Why was it that telling the truth was such a big deal. I was thinking that the world is in sad shape when honestly is regarded with pure amazement. I was driving along thinking about the deterioration of our society when I heard that still small voice. I had a few realizations. I took the gift card. I enjoyed the attention. Something that should have been no big deal to anyone, gave me a lot of satisfaction. I was hit with the hard truth that in that moment of recognition I was full of pride. I took the card when I could have refused it. It was sobering to realize that I enjoyed the attention. I was convicted of what I could have done. I could refused the card and said that I just wanted to be honest and I don’t want a reward for doing what I believe I should do. Further, I had ample opportunity to share why I do honest things. Even a comment or two about my faith would have been a testimony. I could have taken several different approaches to the situation. But, I was blind-sided and I definitely didn’t see my pride (though now I wonder if the other people did).
I have been working on memorizing a scripture through a study I am doing. I didn’t feel a connection to the scripture because it talks about boasting. Earlier in the week, I couldn’t imagine being proud enough to boast. Now, I understand the verse a little more. We boast through our pride—and we don’t have to use words to boast.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am Lord, who exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.”


Seth said...

Hmmmm- Lots o' thoughts.
But they all end with "Man, I am proud to have that woman as my wife!"

I am still thinking about whether I agree or not that you accepting the gift card and feeling good about your actions constitutes pride. It is something that I will be thinking a lot about.

Matt said...

I don't believe it can be construed as pride. You did the right thing, and doing the right thing is SUPPOSED to feel good. As for the gift card, that's a matter of personal principle that only you can answer.

From a fiscal perspective (I'm in finance, I can't help it), you take the card. Stores have 100% plus markups on products. Store managers have hefty budgets for "gifts" that are simply used to be sure they get more traffic in the store. The manager made a financial decision that you were the type of customer he wants back.

Dad said...

Iam proud of you,

MOM said...

I am so blessed to have a daughter who is willing to let the Lord use you to be a positive witness in such a selfish world. It tooks courage to walk back into the store. The clerks/managers could have laughed in your face. As far as the gift card, God rewarded you with something you could use. The clerks could have laughed and just said thank you. MOM