Question of the Week #170

Walking along an empty street, you notice a wallet. It contains $5,000 in cash but no name or address. What would you do? Would it alter your decision if inside you found the name, address, and picture of either a wealthy-looking young man or a frail-looking old woman?

Spend wisely.

Look, if I turn the wallet into the police, it’s not like they’re going to track down the owner without a name or address in it, right? I mean, I guess the person who lost the wallet could show up looking for the wallet that they carelessly misplaced. But, not to be judgmental or anything, if someone is carrying around that much cash and they’re that careless with it, then they’re obviously very stupid and maybe this is a life lesson that they need to learn.

And of course my decision would be different if the name and/or address were found in the wallet. The picture wouldn’t matter. Because who keeps a picture of themselves in their wallet, unless it’s part of a family photo? The wealthy-looking young man or the frail-looking old woman would, most likely, be a loved one of the idiot who just lost $5,000. In that case, I wouldn’t keep it. I’d return it and the money to the person identified in the wallet.

Even though I said I’d spend the money if there were no ID, I’m actually not sure that I would, now that I think about it a little more. Because of It’s a Wonderful Life. Toward the end of the movie, Mr. Potter finds $8,000 that Uncle Billy misplaced and keeps it. The difference being that Potter knew for a fact that this money belonged to the Building & Loan. He stole that money and, as far as the movie-going public are aware, received no consequences for this crime. That’s always bothered me. Maybe I could rationalize that it’s different finding this $5,000… not knowing to whom it really belongs.

What would you do? Keep the money? Turn the money into the police and keep the wallet? What if the shoe was on the other foot and it was your wallet that was lost?

*The Question of the Week can be found in The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.

3 thoughts on “Question of the Week #170

  1. I found a $10 bill in a casino once resting on a slot machine that someone obviously left behind. The bill was resting on the machine, not me, ha. It was crumply and a little wet and I didn’t know what to do. I sat at that slot machine for maybe 20 minutes and no one came to claim it. I left it sitting there. I finally texted my husband and asked his opinion. He said there was no way to trace the person, I gave plenty of time for someone to claim it, and it was only $10. So I finally took it and then felt guilty.

    As to an amount such as you mention in your blog, obviously if there was identification I would contact the person and give it immediately, no matter the picture or neighborhood. But how long do you keep found money if you have no way of tracing the person? Idk. I would keep it quite a while, probably and then feel guilty again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We went to a popular restaurant in Los Angeles once, can’t recall where – but there was a large group of us – maybe 10 people. We drove an hour to get there. I kept stepping on something under the table, it was someone’s wallet. It had a lot of cash. We had one friend making jokes we should pay for our dinner. And we all stared at each, all students working and barely earning anything, our one splurge out for my birthday….and we were all so very tempted. Use some And then return the rest. Another friend grabbed it out of my hand, before anyone could be tempted, and gave it to the bar tender. I went and got it back, concerned that someone tending the bar would take the cash and just state that it was given to them that way when the guy eventually made it back to the restaurant in search of it. This was before cell phones. My mom worked for the post office. The guy had business cards inside, when I returned home… I called him and asked him what address he wanted me to send. He asked if I wanted a reward, he was very grateful, which I could have really used some extra cash, and was tempted… but I still lived at home and wasn’t so desperate…and I thought what it were me or some day…I hope someone else would return the favor…and said “No, of course not.” And had my mom properly pack it and sent it to his work address. DONE. About 15 years later, I left my wallet in the shopping cart basket and someone did the same for me…but they wanted something – met them at the local 711 to buy them a pack of beer. 🙂 Which ODDLY – the woman I met, her husband found it – and he ended up being someone my husband played soccer with as kids – he recognized the last name and inquired where my husband grew up. Both living in a city an hour from where they grew up, living in the same neighborhood! Odd.

    Liked by 2 people

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