Doing The Right Thing (Or) No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Let me relay a story from a few years ago about a yard/estate sale that Mr. Trashfinds and I were shopping at.  While running errands, we saw signs posted for this particular sale, and we arrived while they were still setting up [side note – for various reasons that include needing to make sure I’ve had ample coffee and to minimize the amount of early birders, I don’t post signs that direct people to our sale until we are ready to open].  We could already see from the items already out, that we would find stuff that was definitely up our alley.  We were happily invited by the sale hosts to look through anything that was still in boxes.  I’m a ‘rooter’, so I naturally dug in and got to work unwrapping items and opening boxes.  In about the third box I opened, I found a wad of money in a ziplock bag.  WAD.  It was EASILY over $2,000 (judging from the amount of $50’s and $100’s I saw).  I approached one of the ladies running the sale, not really sure what to say so instead just held up the bag and said, “So, this was in a box and you might want it”.  She exclaimed, “Oh my – that’s my mom’s.  I don’t know why she does that.”  She thanked me, and I just went about my hunt, continuing to add to my pile of finds.  About a half hour later, I found another bag, this one filled with quarters, and so, I turned that one in to the woman also.

After we made our selections (it was a large sale and we were there for about an hour), we went to pay, and paid exactly what the items were marked (spent about $100).  Mr. Trashfinds was disgusted and had to walk away while I paid.  He felt that the appropriate thing was for the sellers to have cut us some kind of break, as we did just give them well over $2,000 they didn’t even know they had AND, it’s money we could have easily kept.  While I know what I would have done if I were the seller (definitely waived the cost), that doesn’t mean I expected anything.  Regardless of the outcome, I do feel it’s important to do the right thing – especially as I have to live with MY decision.   How do we know what the other person is going through?  Maybe their house is in foreclosure, or they have some medical bills and need money?  I’m not a sucker, I just know what it feels like to be so emotionally consumed by one of life’s not-so-fun moments, it’s hard to notice or acknowledge anything else – even the good stuff.   The topic comes up on occasion when we’re faced with a ‘do the right thing’ situation, and Mr. Trashfinds likes to quote his favorite Marine Gunny Sergeant (who claims the saying came from one of the priests where he went to catholic school) – “No good deed goes unpunished“.  That’s not to say he doesn’t do the right thing – he does but rather reluctantly….

What do you think?  Should the seller have cut us a break or some kind of deal?  What would YOU have done?


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3 Responses to Doing The Right Thing (Or) No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

  1. tess says:

    Yeah, I would’ve done what you did and what the seller didn’t–given back the $$$ and given the sales items as a thank you. I wish people expressed gratitude more often.

    One time my mother and other ladies in the neighborhood bought scads of vintage fabric from a neighbor whose mom worked used to work in a fabric mill. Same thing, my mom found nuggets of $$$ interspersed between the layers and returned the money to the family. The woman said she was the only one of the buyers to do so.

    • admin says:

      Vintage Fabric is my Achilles heel and I could easily overlook any money that may be mixed in with it! We all know about the good and the bad in people, but lately, I’ve found people are often hesitant to acknowledge when a complete stranger is doing something nice or offering ‘help’ – mainly because they’re trying to assess the intention. From a situational awareness point of view, it’s great to see people aware of their surroundings, but it always sucks being reminded it’s because there are others out there wanting to do harm.

  2. Cheryl says:

    I found money, 22 dollars to be exact in a 50 cent pair of jeans I bought, I kept it!! People need to go through the items they are selling otherwise it is their loss and your lucky day!

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