Is it stealing?

A person is shopping and asks for his/her gift to be wrapped up. Then after the check out while driving home the person notices on the receipt that the item bought wasn’t charged, only the cost of the gift wrapping was charged. Is it theft not to go back and point out to the clerks their error?
What about when haggling over a price is it theft when you are able to talk a person down in price? What about ethical to do so when you can full well pay the cost of the item the person is trying to sell in an effort to earn a fair wage?

Just curious, my wife and I are having some ethical discussions with neighbors.

for your first question, the answer is yes, that’s stealing. justice demands that no one suffer loss in an exchange.

the second part, haggling. it is moral, if that is the system. if the price is set by striking the bargain on the spot, the seller need not say yes to anything. if he agrees, you have to presume he is getting what he needs. even if you can pay more, you are not obliged to. you just have to be fair.

if that is not the system, and there is a price, but you coerce the person into selling the object for less, that is unjust. you don’t have to buy the item, and you are not entitled to it. this is especially true if you can in fact pay for it at it’s real price. (if it is a matter of human dignity, this doesn’t apply. everyone is entitled to the means of life. if the seller unjustly withholds the means of decent human living by over pricing goods, it is not unjust to force the price down.) if the seller is despirate and figures if he doesn’t take less, he/she will get nothing, but the buyer cannot pay the full price, the situation could be seen as becoming de facto a haggling system. this of course is less than ideal and not a maxim. it would only apply to a real situation. justice is always the issue and guide.

[quote=eleusis]A person is shopping and asks for his/her gift to be wrapped up. Then after the check out while driving home the person notices on the receipt that the item bought wasn’t charged, only the cost of the gift wrapping was charged. Is it theft not to go back and point out to the clerks their error?.
[/quote]

Yes.

[quote=eleusis]What about when haggling over a price is it theft when you are able to talk a person down in price? What about ethical to do so when you can full well pay the cost of the item the person is trying to sell in an effort to earn a fair wage?
[/quote]

It is not a theft as the person is agreeing to sell it to you. It might become a sin if you applied undue pressure.

[quote=eleusis]What about when haggling over a price is it theft when you are able to talk a person down in price? What about ethical to do so when you can full well pay the cost of the item the person is trying to sell in an effort to earn a fair wage?
[/quote]

No, it is not theft to talk a person down in price, even if you can afford to pay in full. Actually, this is Biblical :wink:

Sir 42: 1,3-5a But of these things be not ashamed, lest you sin through human respect: Of sharing the expenses of a business or a journey, or of dividing an inheritance or property; Of accuracy of scales and balances, or of tested measures and weights; Of acquiring much or little, or of bargaining in dealing with a merchant

I would say that the exception to this, of course, is taking advantage of a person who is being forced to sell his or her possessions to meet basic necessities, but then again, that wouldn’t be a merchant.

1st - yes

2nd - no, you and the seller are coming to a mutually agreed upon price.

btw, don’t let any car dealers hear something about haggling being a sin :slight_smile:

  1. yes
  2. no
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