Have you ever been to one of those KFC/Taco Bell restaurants where you can put together a combination of fast food that no person in their right mind should ever consume in one meal? Well, I’m on a business trip to a pretty remote area and I just went to one for dinner tonight. On their menu was a new dessert item: the cookie sandwich. Now, I just spent 14 hours to get here and the idea of two chocolate chip cookies with about a half inch of icing between them just sounded like an awesome way to finish my quesadilla and soft taco meal of goodness.
When I got my order I looked in the bag, sure enough, my beloved cookie sandwich was not to be had. At that point no less than four employees of this restaurant stopped what they were doing to locate me said cookie sandwich. Apparently this item was so new it wasn’t with the other delectable dessert items. After about five minutes the cookie goodness was found and I was on my way.
I got back to my hotel room, enjoyed my feast, when I reached in the bag for a napkin I saw my receipt. With no cookie sandwich on it. Now, this cookie sandwich is $1.29 plus tax, and it’s not my fault that the cashier didn’t ring it up, but as I sat in my hotel room a little voice came in my head and gnawed at me.
In his book The Millionaire Next Door Dr Thomas Stanley surveyed millionaires about the traits that contributed to their success, and the number one trait was integrity. Now I’m far from being a millionaire, but I do try to be a good person and integrity is really important to me. Is it making me wealthy and successful? Maybe it will one day, but as I sat in my room, with the thought that I’d essentially stolen a cookie sandwich, even if it wasn’t my fault, I felt horrible.
I did the only thing I felt was right. I went back to the restaurant with my receipt and asked the cashier if I could pay for my cookie sandwich. At first he didn’t really know what I was trying to do, but after it sunk in he was really thankful that I came back.
Maybe it would have been absorbed by the restaurant as a mistake, but now that I went back and paid for my “free” dessert I feel better. For $1.29 it was money well spent.