Joined: Feb 2009
Your wife is selling her car, and lists it online with a photo. Someone emails her, and asks how much she wants. She intends to write $4,500, but instead the email says, "I'll give it to you for $4,50". The buyer replies agreeing, and shows up with $450. Your wife is stunned, when they bring a letter from their lawyer, that says the email counts as a contract and she has to sell it for $450.
Is there a case? Maybe legally. But they knew it's an error, and were just trying to take advantage of someone else's mistake, as if it were a lucky lottery. This being your wife, how do you feel? Do you agree that there's a case? Do you want to see someone get off with a deal, at the expense of your wife? What about when it affects you both financially for several months, and makes her cry?
You said they made an error. You know it's not a fair price. You're trying to take advantage of someone else's mistake.
It's not obvious, but Musician's Friend is people. If all you see is a big rich corporation, then it might feel victimless, but it's only big and rich because it's made up of lots of people pooling their resources together. One of those people could be your wife. She might've struggled to get this job, and is new, so was more likely to make a mistake.
If you made a case, what you're doing, is firmly pressing against a group, using the power of the law, to force them to give to you unfairly, all because they made an obvious mistake, that you knew was a mistake, and wanted to exploit for your advantage.
What if you're at a party, and a hottie is intoxicated, and mistakes you for her boyfriend? Do you go along with her into the bedroom? Do you take advantage, of her mistake, fully aware that you're not her boyfriend? When she comes out of it enough to ask who you are, and tell you to leave, do you continue, because you won the lucky lottery?
Does this sound like the attitude and behavior of a good person? Do you want to be a good person? Do your friends and family respect this kind of gain? Maybe your friends look up to those who can get something, even at the expense of others. Even thieves can feel good about what they do, and have peers who support it.
It feels good, for you, but we have to think beyond ourselves. You shouldn't accept it even if they offered. You never should've ordered it. But if you did, because you genuinely wanted it, then you should've cancelled, returned, or repaid the difference as soon as you realized the mistake. Just because, that's the right thing to do.
Why is it right? Because, if it were your wife making the mistake, you'd feel the harm firsthand. Maybe it's not her this time, but it could be tomorrow. If we all are trying to take advantage of each other, exploiting innocent mistakes, then you're going to feel what it's like, because you're going to make mistakes too.
This time it might only be some money, and Musician's Friend might be able to absorb the cost of a few mistakes. But how much can they handle? Remember, it's just people. They can refrain from going to the movies this weekend, eating cheap noodles, but if people always take advantage, they might go out of business.
That doesn't mean some big corporation got what it deserved, it means people, grouped together, are at risk of death. Nothing is free, and people earn money to survive. You getting an unfair deal today might make your life a tad richer, but that means it is a tad poorer for someone else. If everyone does that, people starve.
It's a common attitude, and I hope you don't feel like I'm attacking you about this one incident. It's more the principle I'm worried about. This time, it might make you happy to get a special little deal, and not hurt Musician's Friend. Maybe it even makes you feel better about them, and do all your shopping there in the future.
But. If we take that same way of thinking, and apply it all the time, with lots of people doing it, then it could become dangerous. Would you rather live in a world where you accidentally drop a $100-bill and someone chases after you to return it; or they quickly stuff it in their pocket ready to make a case about "finder's keepers"?
We all know it's fun for the finder. But we also know, it hurts to be the weeper.