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How honest are you, really?

People moan about alleged "scams", but how honest are you?
If you found a plastic bag with €2700 in it can you, hand on heart, say you would hand it to the police. This tourist did:

Posted by
368 posts

Hi Chris. Yes I would. One morning on my way to work, I found $ 35 dollars in the street. I was on my way to our train system ,BART. I tried to give it to the station agent who told me not to do that. She said a station agent might keep it. Disappointing. At the end of the day I checked back and no one had asked. So I ended up keeping it.

I would feel guilty keeping it.

Posted by
8293 posts

Hand on heart, if the bag had some ID in or on it, I would take it to a police station. If not, and after a check to make sure it wasn't counterfeit, I would keep,it. There! I said it. And Chris, what would you do?

Posted by
5344 posts

Hand it in to the police. If the owner doesn't claim it in 60 days it's yours.

Honesty and integrity is absolutely at the core of my beliefs. If there's one thing I hate it's dishonesty which is probably part of why I'm a police officer.

Posted by
3289 posts

I found $150 cash in the parking garage of my office building once. I turned it in to the security guards and in 60 days I got the money!

Posted by
375 posts

Why would I keep something that's not mine? I would turn it in to the police.

Posted by
1577 posts

DH was walking in Red Square and two men in front of him "dropped" a baggie full of cash. Being the polite Canadian he is, he picked it up and ran after them. Then out of nowhere the police (?) grabbed him and patted him down, and demanded his passport. After some time, they believed he was just a tourist and let him go on his way.

He tries to tell me he wasn't scared out of his wits -- I will never believe him.

Posted by
11433 posts

Great story and yes, I would turn it in without hesitating. Have to be able to sleep, look at myself in the mirror, etc.

Posted by
3521 posts

Well, first of all, I don't go around picking up random plastic bags I see while I am out and about. So the likelihood of this happening to me is slim to none. If I would happen to end up with such a bag, I would turn it in at the nearest police station (I would not just hand it to any police officer I came across because there might be a misunderstanding about what I was attempting to do ;-)). And IF the money ended up being given to me I would donate the entire amount to a worthwhile charity.

But reading this posting, I began to think about a Twilight Zone episode where this guy went to Vegas and finds a money clip with $10000 in it so he turns it in. When the owner claims it, the man is invited to have dinner to celebrate. While at dinner the man who lost the money begins questioning the honest guy about where the other $10000 went that was in the clip. Needless to say, it didn't go well for the honest man.

Posted by
14580 posts

A finder's keeper's's optional.

I had this experience last summer at Berlin Hbf. This woman was using a coin phone, (yes, they still exists, several of them at Berlin Hbf), had left her small purse next to her. When finished on the phone, she forgot her purse on the floor. I picked it up, it was genuine, the wallet was there along with the cash, coins, and plastic, etc. I didn't know where the Fundstelle (lost and found) was at Berlin Hbf, wasn't going to spend the time walking around to locate it either.

So, I brought the purse to the DB Informationstelle next to one of the exits. I told them I had found this purse next to a pay phone in the station, they questioned me when, as if they doubted my story, which was gradually ticking me off. Just now about ten minutes ago in the Hbf. They were still puzzled, had that "what do you want me to do with it? " look on their faces of these two DB women.

I almost came close to yelling at them since I was turning this purse in ( diese Tasche abgeben) as a Good Samaritan and they didn't seem very receptive to taking it. Anyway, they took it and presumably contacted the woman owner.

Posted by
2120 posts

Fred, I can top your story. I found a wallet (with credit cards, money, checkbook, etc. in it) many years ago in a grocery store parking lot. I actually drove to where the person lived (based on the address. It turned out to be a young lady (probably college student), who appeared to have at least two roommates or friends visiting her. I explained why I was knocking on her door, verified her name (asked her), and then kindly handed over the wallet, explaining where I found it, etc. She seemed stunned and NEVER even said Thank You!!!! I was stunned (by the seeming lack of appreciation or her ability to express it) as I drove home. I did expect the simple word: "Thanks."

For the record, I am not some frightening-looking weirdo. and it was still daylight (early evening) when I knocked on her door. To her benefit, maybe she was just shocked she had lost the wallet and was stunned trying to figure out what had just happened. (It is my guess she set it on top of her car while doing something else, and then drove off.)

As far as Chris' question: I guess it boils down the the old saying of: "True character is revealed by what one does when no one is looking."

Posted by
362 posts

I am now asking myself if I would even pick up something, even if I saw cash sticking out of it. Probably not.

But I would find the nearest authorities and let them know so that they could pick it up.

Posted by
23411 posts

In these days of video cameras everywhere, I would turn it because someone would probably see you take it. Ha, seriously - big sum I would turn it in. Twenty bucks - probably keep it.

PS -- It probably helps to be reasonably wealth so that the money would not be that significant. But homeless -- not so sure what my standards would be.

Posted by
380 posts

I found a 10 euro bill on the floor in the entrance hall of a museum. I was not 100% certain I had not dropped it myself. It went into my pocket and I kept my eyes open in case someone else had dropped it and came back for it. If I find anything up to a $20 around my home city, I will glance around to look for a true owner, then keep it. Anything more than that, or any object of any value at all (not, say, a hair elastic) I will turn in. However, I won't pick up change I pass over on the street. So apparently there's a sweet spot within which I will happily keep lost property. I suppose it comes down to whether, if I had lost the item, I would reasonably expect anyone else to attempt to return it to me. There's a zone within which you're just out of luck if you were careless enough to lose your things.

If I found a plastic bag with $3300 in euros, I would look around for the hidden camera and/or find the nearest Polizei.

Posted by
2349 posts

Years ago I was driving on a dark street, and saw money in the road. I got out and started picking it up. Just ones and fives, but it added up to about $27. Which I could have used at the time. Then, damn, there was a billfold. I was going to have to return it. When I looked for ID, I found his League of the Blind and a picture of his seeing eye dog. So, yeah, I returned it. (I did wonder why he needed a picture of his dog...)

Through the years I have returned a lot of things to people, and have spent time and effort looking for them. It's harder now when fewer people are listed in the phone book. I cannot honestly say that I would have turned in a nameless plastic bag with that much money. I just don't know.

Posted by
14580 posts

@ Maggie....The thought of calling her up and telling her that the purse was in my possession did occur to me since that meant I had to go through the wallet and "stuff" to see if a phone # was around. Anyway, I nixed the idea, too much time. Better to turn it in at the station since that was where she had left it. It is disconcerting when the person does not even say thank you, something bugs me too, ie ingratitude

Posted by
2526 posts

I may have posted this before about something reported in a fountain pen collectors' forum: man on business in Madrid loses a nice pen. Several months later he is in a taxi in Madrid and the driver looks at him in the rearview mirror and says Hey -- you left this here last time, and hands him back the pen from the cubby in his console.
Marginal cases: I step onto the elevator and there are two folded $20 bills on the floor. Somebody must have been taking something out or putting something away, and dropped them. I told the building manager the details and had him send an email message to all occupants. Waited two weeks and no one claimed it -- maybe it was a visitor, not a resident. I used it for snacks for the front desk staff.

Posted by
18489 posts

DH was walking in Red Square and two men in front of him "dropped" a
baggie full of cash. Being the polite Canadian he is, he picked it up
and ran after them. Then out of nowhere the police (?) grabbed him and
patted him down, and demanded his passport. After some time, they
believed he was just a tourist and let him go on his way.

You got lucky. There was a street scam in Russia and a few other places not long ago (and maybe still), the drop (envelope of cash or valuable) is intentional. When you pick it up the cops grab you and accuse you of theft. You pay a bunch of cash not to be taken to the clink.

Posted by
7958 posts

i would turn that in you never know could be dirty money and somebody might come looking for you

Posted by
985 posts

Yes, I would turn it in and hope that it wasn't claimed and that I got to keep it. Years ago when I first began teaching I was pretty poor. One night I went to the grocery and stepping out of my car I spied a red wallet on the ground. I looked in it and there was $135 in bills. I sure could have used that money but I turned it in to the store manager and left my name. I called back a week later to see if it had been claimed and he denied any knowledge of me turning in the wallet. So either he was forgetful or he kept it for himself. At least I knew that I did the right thing, even though I was hoping it ended up in my pocket.

Posted by
7059 posts

I'm honest enough to admit that I would turn it in to authorities, but only because I would be suspicious of that much money in a plastic bag. I would assume that either 1. it was a plant for whatever reason; or 2. there would be cameras that would show me picking it up and I would be in trouble. I would not turn it in for altruistic reasons - hey, what can I say, at least I'm honest about it. Also, if the owner was never located and I ended up with the money I would not give it to charity. I would keep it and use it, after all charity begins at home. Finders keepers. Now you know the awful truth about me.

Posted by
1878 posts

Yes, I would turn it in, but would grumble a lot about the time it takes to deal with the police on the matter. There are plenty of windfalls in life, who wants to look over their shoulder for doing other than the right thing. Plus, it's the right thing.

Posted by
971 posts

If it was a wallet with ID or something else that could identify the owner I would try to return it, as I have done in the past. My own wallet was stolen recently and it was returned to me, which I was very gratefull for. I did not have any cash in it when it was stolen, but it contained drivers license and ID that cost money and trouble to replace, so I was very gratefull to get it back.
A bag full of cash with no way to identify the owner is a different matter. Depending on the circumstances I would likely keep it.

Posted by
11613 posts

I have found money on the ground twice and kept it, one time $10 and another time $50. Public places, no way to identify an owner.

I have turned in wallets, purses, a money clip that contained a credit card (I also called the CC 800 number so they could notify the cardholder).

A larger amount, as in Chris' example, I would turn in.

Posted by
1330 posts

In the old days when the mail system was still working we (i.e. in Denmark) could just drop anything found of value in a mail box and then forget about it. The mail would then hand it over to the police. Easy to do :-)

Now I wouldn't know where to find a mail box.

Posted by
1329 posts

I'm lucky that I have a good job and a decent salary that allows me to travel. If I found a plastic bag with money, yes, I would turn it into the police. That money might be needed for that person to pay their rent, buy food for their family, it might be cash that they've withdrawn to finally pay a debt, or a million other circumstances.

Posted by
420 posts

I found $300 worth of film a long time ago. That was a lot of money and expensive film. Spent an hour tracking down the owner. Turns out the guy was a Masters student and the film was for an important shoot (thesis project) the next day. A few days later the guy bought me a foot long sub and a giant lemonade. I thought that was so sweet.

Then there was the period where I kept finding and returning lost cell phones. And one day I lost my iPhone and a nice lady contacted me before I even realized it was missing. I dropped it in the parking lot.

Posted by
19137 posts

So, Dale, if you didn't have the good job, would you keep the money?

Almost 20 years ago, now, when Deutsche Bahn came out with their new touch screen automats, they only accepted credit cards, no cash. When I saw the first one, I just walked up and inserted my card, like I would for an ATM. It spit the card back out. I thought it had rejected my card. I tried it several more times on different machines with the same results. One day I was in Immenstadt im Allgäu, waiting for a train to take me up to Oberstdorf. This time I tried just putting in the ticket information (a Bayern-Ticket) first. When it displayed the price, I put in my credit card and it began printing. I grabbed the first card printed and went to catch my train, which had arrived. It wasn't until later that I found the first printing had been the credit card receipt, and I had left without getting the second printing, which was my ticket.

The following day I returned to Immenstadt, and there was my Bayern-Ticket, lying on the ledge beside the machine. Anyone could have used it, but they all knew it wasn't their's, and left it for me. I think Germans are some of the most honest people in the world.

Posted by
8293 posts

So, Chris, you haven’t answered your own question. How honest are you really?

Posted by
440 posts

the €2700 could be that persons only money on their way to put in the bank to buy food and stuff for family or it could be a rich persons who wouldn't notice it was missing. I wouldn't take the chance so would hand it in because I couldn't live with myself if some family went without food or heat.