Keep the Change?

I’ve started writing an ethics column for the Jerusalem Post. This was the first one. Send me an email if you’ve got an ethical quandary you’d like me to address.

A reader asked, “A few days ago at the grocery store the clerk gave me incorrect change – in my favor. Was/am I obligated to return the money?” There are several rationales one could use to “justify” keeping the excess change:

1. It’s not theft. You didn’t take the money, someone gave it to you.

2. There must have been times when they gave you too little change, so it all equals out in the end.

3. You need the NIS 10 more than Rami Levy does.

Unfortunately for the recipient of the monetary windfall, none of those rationales stands up to scrutiny.

Read the rest of the article on the Jerusalem Post.

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