7-11 Dilemma – A 30+ Year Hyde Tradition

Yesterday, I dusted off the timeless — well, 30+ years old anyway — 7-11 Dilemma and ran it by the 2019 edition of the Summer Challenge Program. Always a fun time! To refresh your memory…

First, The facts:

You drop in to a 7-11 to grab a quick snack.  After settling on a Coke and a bag of chips, you head for the cash register.  As the third customer in line, you notice that the attendant behind the register is a bit flustered by all the activity in the store.  She’s looks as if she’s already had a long day.  She is trying to keep her eye on two young teens in the back of the store whom she suspects are trying to steal some beef jerky. The customer in front of you is rudely interrupting the transaction in front of him by briskly inquiring about the directions to the local shopping mall and another customer is angrily waving the gasoline pump nozzle because he can’t get it to pump any gasoline. 

Then it’s your turn and the attendant tabulates your purchases.  Your purchase totals $4.00 and you give her a twenty dollar bill.  Amid the confusion, the attendant takes your five and says, “OK, Here’s your Coke. Here’s your chips. Here’s your $16 and here’s your twenty.  Next customer!” 

Due to her divided attention, the attendant has made your visit to the 7-11 a very profitable one.  You walked in with twenty dollars and you are leaving with a Coke, a bag of chips and thirty-six dollars. Furthermore, she is now dealing with the two teens, relieved that they have decided to pay for the beef jerky.  It is clear to you that she is oblivious to her blunder.

The Dilemma:

  1. What would you do?
    2. Do you think there is a right thing to do in this situation?
    3. Why? Or why not?
    4. How does your answer to #1 square with your answer to #2?

Yesterday’s responses were consistent with those of past summer schools with a roughly 50-50 split between those who would keep or return the money.  One young man did serve up a new angle when he argued that he would keep the money as an expression of concern for the store clerk. (“It would teach her not to be careless.”) Hmmm… It would appear that we’ve got some teaching to do. Did I mention that this was Summer Challenge?

Onward,  Malcolm Gauld