3
   

Question of Ethics

 
 
relax12
 
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2016 06:09 am
I live in a small mobile home park. I am tasked with emptying the washers and dryers of coin and depositing the money in the bank. I came across a bunch of of silver quarters in the machines. The question is, can I keep the silver after substituting my own quarters for them or do they belong to the park. The rationalization is that if the person who mistakenly used their silver coins ever says anything to anyone who knows me , that person could actually get their coins back, but there is no way once it makes it to the bank.
 
jespah
 
  3  
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2016 06:23 am
@relax12,
Oh, but you won't be returning them to this other person now, will ya?

How about this instead? How about reporting that this happened, and have the park broadcast the fact, on flyers or social media or however they feel the message will get across.

Keeping quiet about them means the original owner will never get them back, either from you or the park.
relax12
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2016 07:04 am
@jespah,
Yes, I will return it and I understand your way. I planned to do that at first myself. However, I know the board members, I am on the board myself, and I suspect they will say there is know way to know. What if 10 people come forward? The president (who shouldn't be) will say "only an idiot would use their silver and they deserve to lose it". He may be Donald Trumps brother. Anyway, I have put the word out and have asked several honest people I know to put out their feelers, and am hoping to make the discovery without reporting it. On the other hand entirely, if no one claims it, am I stealing from the park if I keep the silver coins and substitute my own? That is the bottom line, the real question. I almost missed them entirely, one caught my eye when I was rolling and I went back through all the rolls and found others. They almost went to the bank in quarter rolls and well, we can't have that. I did post a note in the laundry to check the dates on quarters and to contact me if you think you used some mistakenly.
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2016 08:00 am
@relax12,
The main thing is to make reasonable efforts to try to contact the owner. I still think you should go to the board, if for no other reason than to have someone else to point to if you end up keeping the quarters and then someone comes after you.
relax12
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2016 08:53 am
@jespah,
Looks like we may have found the culprit/victim. It looks like one of the "wives" was mad at her husband and used some of the quarters from his collection. I am going over to talk to them today, but it sounds likely. Anyway, it still begs the original question. Are the quarters ethically the property of the park or, since the park only asks a quarter, and I am in the unique position of finding them, am I wrong to switch them out? If I worked in Walmart and found some silver quarters in my drawer at the end of the night, I would likely do the old switcheroo, with no compunction. I would not feel I owe any allegiance to the store. This is a little different, but is it really? This is becoming a hot topic around here and it would be interesting to get other, unbiased points of view.
mark noble
 
  2  
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2016 08:56 am
@relax12,
Do the right thing.
If someone else profits from it - It's their conscience on the line, not yours.
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  2  
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2016 11:21 am
Have to say I agree with Mark Noble. To take and keep the silver quarters and substitute ordinary ones would be theft of the value of the rare coins, because you intended to permanently deprive the rightful owner of that. Whoever the rightful owner is, it definitely isn't you,and you know that. It is a form of stealing by finding, coupled with breach of trust. Stealing is wrong. Don't do it.
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  2  
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2016 11:44 am
@relax12,
relax12 wrote:
it still begs the original question.

It doesn't 'beg' the question. It raises it.

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/begs-the-question-update
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  2  
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2016 11:46 am
@relax12,
relax12 wrote:
Are the quarters ethically the property of the park or, since the park only asks a quarter, and I am in the unique position of finding them, am I wrong to switch them out? If I worked in Walmart and found some silver quarters in my drawer at the end of the night, I would likely do the old switcheroo, with no compunction. I would not feel I owe any allegiance to the store. This is a little different, but is it really?

Stealing is stealing, whether it is a little old lady or a mega corporation. In any case, the park ask only a quarter, but is getting much more, and you know it, or you wouldn't be asking this on here.

cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2016 03:37 pm
@contrex,
Once you know something is wrong, and you keep the benefit, it's still wrong.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2016 04:05 pm
What if you do the right thing and put out a notice, make an even more than reasonable effort to find who the owner is, and no one steps forward, ever?

Let's assume you substituted the quarters so you could make the bank deposit.

How long would one have to wait before it can be determined no one is going to claim the silver coins? Let's say you even make a monthly notice for a few months.

What is considered a reasonable time?
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2016 04:48 pm
@chai2,
Goods handed over to the police

The usual police practice is that the finder can have the goods back and keep them if they are not claimed within six weeks. However, the police may want more time if there are special circumstances and they want to investigate. Once the property has been returned to the finder by the police, the original owner cannot usually then claim the goods.

0 Replies
 
roger
 
  3  
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2016 06:52 pm
Hey, I recently found a silver quarter in my change. It's mine to do with as I please. Somebody wants to pay for something in silver that's their choice and doesn't induce any sense of obligation in me.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2016 07:18 pm
@roger,
It was mine. You can keep it. Losers weepers.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2016 08:06 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Yer just saying that cuz you can't prove it!
0 Replies
 
mark noble
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 25 Aug, 2016 06:47 am
@chai2,
The 'time' is 'Now'.
Do the right thing!

If it isn't yours 'it isn't yours'.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Aug, 2016 12:32 pm
@mark noble,
did you even read what I said Mark?

to repeat, if you do the right thing, and no one Ever steps forward claiming it, and you've made repeated attempts, how long do you wait, If you have replaced those silver coins with your own money, so a bank deposit can be made, and you can hold the coins.

CI gave the correct answer in handing the coins over to the authorities, and if a specific period of time passes, and no one claims them, they are yours.

One can only do so much to search for the proper owner of something
Finn dAbuzz
 
  2  
Reply Thu 25 Aug, 2016 01:05 pm
@relax12,
The purpose of charging for use of the machines is to cover costs and still make a marginal profit, not to snag rare coins.

Will you disappoint your employer if he gets the money he expects, not-with-standing the value of a few silver coins?

He is owed what he expects to receive.

I don't think that he has a greater call on the value of a "mistake" that do you. He's not in the salvage business.

If there is an ethical issue here, it concerns the person who used coins worth more than their face value, but if you don't know who they are, how can you be expected to share your superior knowledge with them, and offer them the chance to remedy their mistake?

As long as you replace them with legal tender, I say: keep them

As to whether or not anyone "fingers" you at some point, that's not an ethical consideration
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Aug, 2016 05:14 pm
@relax12,
relax12 wrote:

Looks like we may have found the culprit/victim. It looks like one of the "wives" was mad at her husband and used some of the quarters from his collection.


Now knowing this, if you would be knowingly in possession of stolen goods.
0 Replies
 
relax12
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Aug, 2016 09:29 pm
Found the correct owner. He was so happy, though he didn't even know they were missing yet. They were more than money to him, they were a collection he has had for over 50 years. His wife was both embarrassed and relieved, she used them in anger and then regretted it.I got the feeling she's going to be in the dog house for a bit.
In the end it was a good thing I did not give them to the "authorities" (the board) they would have cashed them in and posted notices, probably in that order. When the owner was found they would have given him the value, but his coin collection would have been gone.
Interesting that so many people would consider it stealing when my priest did not...he called it a gray area, (surprise) but basically agreed with Finn dAbuzz, but said I was honor bound to post notices (which I already had) and to hold them for a couple years because many residents are only here a few months a year, and some don't make it every year.
 

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