Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday Morning Morals Questions - Am I a bad person if...???

Today's Moral Hypo:

You're driving the down the street and notice that a neighbor has a big pile of stuff out on the curb with a sign marked "ARC."  You know this means the items are for pick-up by the local charity organization because you've gotten about 60 calls at dinner asking for "household items and gently used clothing" yourself.

Which reminds me of a very important fact that has nothing to do with my hypo:
Recently Paul answered one of these calls and asked why they call so much and the guy told him that if you answer and say NO you're out of the call loop until the next month.  If they don't get a live person, they keep calling back.

I know -- I saw a chicken -- so let's get back to it: 

As you go by, you notice a lamp that would look great on the nightstand in your guest room.  The lamp doesn't have an ARC sign on it specifically, but it's with all the other stuff, so you know this is intended as a donation item.

Do you take the lamp?

MY VIEW - This is a tough one.  It kind of feels like stealing from a charitable organization, which somehow seems even more wrong that just stealing from a regular person.  But at the same time, it's also kind of like your neighbor has abandoned the item, which would make it fair game.  If the lamp was in the back next to the trash, for example, I'd have no hesitation whatsoever.  It's equivalent to what Lori calls "Curbys" (code for junk placed on a curb with a "free" sign) and is yours for the taking - there are court cases that say so and everything!  But here, not quite the same thing.

This time I'm erring on the side of - if it doesn't really feel right it's probably not right - so I don't think I'd take it.  The absolute best thing to do, in my opinion, would be to ring the doorbell and ask the owner if you could have/buy it from him.  Can't really see myself doing that, so I think I drive on.  But to be fair, I don't know!  Sad as it sounds, it might depend on how much I like the lamp.  (That's pathetic, I know!)
For me, the fact that the lamp itself doesn't have a sign taped on it is irrelevant, but I imagine that might be an important factor for some.

So, am I a bad person if I take the lamp???



  1. This one is easy. If the neighbor is home, ask and they will probably give it to you. if they are not home and you feel bad, take a bag of your own crap to the ARC or give the ARC a cash donation equal to what a typical lamp cost. How is that? Should I have my own advice column?

  2. I would leave it for the charity. Charities and food prep are the two groups I don't mess with.

  3. Totally agree about the food-prep...that can be dangerous!

  4. I wouldn't take the lamp. Because I would "feel wrong" about it...I wouldn't want anyone to know. Then, whenever I looked at the lamp, I'd feel bad. So I couldn't take it. But if you took the lamp, Lorraine, I wouldn't think that of you as a 'bad' person...or anyone else. I would assume that they do 1000 other good and charitable things so that the lamp doesn't matter for them. I only apply that judgment to myself...because I know I don't do enought good and charitable things to make up for taking a lamp.

  5. Oops-- I meant to sign that last comment...not leave it "anonymous."
    That last one is from Julie.
    (But that's good for Lorraine because she got 2 comments from me now!)


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