WWYD: The Absent-Minded Cashier

In this installment of WWYD, whether or not to correct an honest mistake:

Back in college, my boyfriend and I decided to get a burger one night and went through the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant to give our order. When we pulled up to the window, the woman said hello and gave us all of our food and drinks, then closed the windows and walked away. Not thinking, my boyfriend drove off before I realized she’d never asked us for a method of payment. At the moment of realization, we were already far away and onward to our next destination. It almost seemed to happen out of habit — when fast food windows close, you drive off. The right thing to do would have been to turn around, go back and pay … but we didn’t. Even though it was great to get a free meal, I was embarrassed to know she would probably would have to cancel out the order, or explain the mistake to management at the end of the night. Would you have gone back? — D.

I believe in karma, and I believe that if you have the ability to correct an honest mistake, you should do it. But I don’t know if I would have pulled a U-turn in this situation, either.

It would really depend on how far away I was at the moment I realized the cashier’s mistake. A mile away? Sure, I’d turn around. Two miles away? Um, okay, fine. Three? Hmmm. Four? Uh. Five? Guh. How about I donate the money to one of Jonathan Coulton’s charities when I get home? Time is also money — and so is gasoline. The farther I was away, the less inclined I would have been to go back.

Having a significant other in the car would have also played a huge role in this decision, as well as who was in the driver’s seat. What if one person wanted to go back and the other didn’t? Does the driver make an executive decision? This burger incident could make or break a relationship. You jump, I jump, Jack, remember?

Email me your WWYD experiences to me with “WWYD” in the subject line. See previous installments.