How do you choose between right and wrong?
A feeling in your gut?
Because you were “raised right?”
An even bigger question, how do you choose between right and wrong when NO ONE will EVER know the wrong – except for YOU??
Is it maturity?
Or is it because you’re an “adult” making grown-up choices?
Or perhaps you were raised under the doctrine of the “Ten Commandments” and your conscience is marked from years of good old-fashioned Catholic guilt. (Hand raised.)
For me, with Catholic guilt as the base, toss in a dash of karma, and the fact my blog is entitled “An Authentic Life” – and I am forced to be the “bigger” person and “do the right thing.”
The Back Story:
On Black Friday, I fought the masses and braved the elements in my humble attempt to score deals while keeping my sanity in the dog-eat-dog shopping mayhem. (Really, it wasn’t that horrendous, as I arrived early before it got messy and ugly – and while I could still take advantage of the “door-buster before noon deals.”)
Through the crowds, I (politely) nabbed a few items on my list, and I few items with really good prices, and by the time I made my way to the check-out counter I had several gifts (for others) and several gifts for myself. (I am not immune to impulse!)
During check-out, I was having a hearty chat with the sales gal (the same nice Macy’s sales gal that usually helps me) and as I was digging for coupons, she was ringing up the goods.
She announced the total.
I signed on the dotted line.
We wished each other a “Merry Merry,” and off I went.
(In my mind, the total seemed much less than I had mentally calculated, but I attributed the additional savings to the coupon, yet, it still seemed low. And isn’t low better than high?
I got home, and began to un-bag my treats, still curious about my lower-than-normal total. I couldn’t stand not knowing, so I grabbed the receipt and began counting items and calculating prices. There was – without question – one item missing from the receipt. During our friendly chat, apparently the sales gal was distracted and forgot to charge me for one large ticket item.
I was charged close to $100 less.
(…sound of ominous music plays…)
Life had just presented me with an authentically “teachable” moment.
What do to?
Immediately, my mind raced. No one in the world would ever know that the Macy’s sales girl didn’t charge me for the one item.
I entertained the thought of keeping the said item for about three seconds – then realized one person would know the truth. One person would know I was trying to get away with something.
I would know.
And I my Catholic-guilt, ethically responsible conscience would never, ever let me live with that.
So before the “free” item found a home in my recently organized walk-in closet, it went directly back into the bag, along with the receipt. And my conscience.
I returned the item to Macy’s the next day, explaining that I wasn’t charged for the item.
Even though, I knew I was doing the right thing, deep down I felt akin to the kid who returned to the store and admitted to the owner they stole (and ate) a candy necklace. (For the record, those admissions of guilt are terrifying and humiliating. I was immediately reunited with my seven-year old guilty self, and NOT in a good way.)
However, I left Macy’s feeling better.
My conscious relieved.
Good karma restored.
A tiny piece of Catholic guilt chipped away.
And, most importantly, it was the right thing to do – in the right season to do it.
I blame it on the blog – forcing authentic choices daily.