Moral dilemma - undercharged by store

Hi all,

What do you think of this situation:

Yesterday I went to a store to buy new work trousers (typical smart trousers for wearing in an office). My previous trousers had a hole in the pocket and the seams were also starting to come apart - they were long past due for replacing, to be honest. So I finally ditched them and looked out my spare trousers. Unfortunately it turned out my “emergency reserves” - which I hadnt used in ages - were far too tight and pretty uncomfortable, (they looked “painted on” as well haha, ridiculous), so new trousers were required.

At the shop, I found my size and noticed there was a special offer on - 2 pairs for £25. “Great” I thought, I will get two pairs then, a man can never have too many pairs of trousers. The trousers had a big, bold sticker on them advertising this deal.

So I take both pairs of breeks to the counter and hand them over. The young man took each pair in turn, took the hanger off, folded them up, scanned them etc and then charged me. However, he only charged me £15 - I did briefly pause and think “shouldnt that be £25?”, but I figured the offer must have changed and they hadnt updated the stickers etc. (I have experienced that before, erroneous labelling in shops, especially during sales / clear-outs etc).

I didnt really think about it to be honest, and just shrugged. £15 is better than £25 right? At the time it did not occur to me that the guy might have made a mistake - after all he had taken each pair of trousers (bearing the very noticeable offer information) in turn and scanned them etc. If there was something wrong, he would have noticed, via either the price display on the till, or the stickers on the trousers themselves, right? Or so I thought.

Well, I didnt think any more about it at the time - I had to go back to work. It was later, in the evening, when I was showing off my new trousers to the wife than I recounted the story and she said check the receipt.

So I got the receipt out and it says “1 item” on it, but I bought two pairs of trousers. So it looks very much like the shop guy has scanned only one pair of trousers. I dont know how he managed that, as he definitely handled both pairs of trousers - removing them from the hanger, folding them, baging them up etc. He might have got distracted or something. There was even a colleague, an older women, with him at the till, who might have noticed an error too.

So it seems I have only paid for one pair of trousers and got the other pair for free (“stolen” even, you might say :frowning: ).

What should I do then - should I get the receipt and return to the shop to highlight this?

I dont feel “guilty”, as there was no intent or fault on my part, but then I would hate for the shop staff to get into trouble over this. (Though I dont think that would happen, probably they would eventually realise they were missing a pair of trousers, reasons unknown, after a stock check - probably these big stores lose a lot of items).


Return to the store. Tell them about the mistake. It might be ok or genuine deal?

Go with your heart and love of God. Be sincere.

Do what is right, I think you know what that is, and you will be blessed.

I’ve gone back to a store to complain about being undercharged a few times.

The clerks almost went into cardiac arrest … doesn’t happen a lot.

One time, I complained to an airline about being undercharged. [There were a bunch of weather and equipment changes and cancellations, so my ticket had to be canceled and reissued … very complicated.] They ended up giving me a ton of frequent flier miles … no one had ever done that before.

I sometimes like to bring attention to a mistake for the sake of the individual. In my opinion, you could do it, but I don’t think you would have to (i.e. in a given situation it may be morally okay to not go) unless it really bothers you. If you shop at the store regularly, you’ve dealt with many a dollar and have likely been overcharged or even prices were marked incorrectly. Ten dollars isn’t a whole lot of money, actually.

Let me ask this though, is it morally correct to not have prices on items and pay what the cashier charges you on an agreed price and is the price tag always the fair price? I know I may be getting into a slippery slope, but we are all adults and I wonder if there isn’t more to the question then what was brought up. Hopefully, the cashier doesn’t get 10 dollars docked to his pay (I don’t think that will happen, actually), but it is his responsibility to get it right as well as those who mark the items and enter prices into the computer. We are also responsible to pay the store fairly, but when it comes to 10 dollars, I don’t know if that’s a huge deal (or sinful) because you generally have dealt with the store fairly and I don’t know if price tags are morally binding.

Hi everyone

Many thanks for your thoughts and advice.

(I was kinda hoping you would say I should use the saved £10 to buy some beer, and then drink that beer whilst wearing my new trousers - lol :p)

So yes the honest thing to do would be to go back and sort it out.

I called the store at lunchtime there. I explained what had happened and the woman actually laughed at me down the phone, but then became quite serious, asking the name of who served me (I could not recall the name, though I know it was a young man).

I asked “what action should I take?” and I was put on hold for several minutes, before the woman came back and asked me to return to the store with my receipt. (Which I will do on Wednesday lunchtime).

I am pleased that the mix-up will be sorted out, (meaning my trousers are “legit”), but I do hope the young man who seems to have made a mistake does not get into trouble over this.

Thank you again.

You say he scanned both pairs of trousers, so it sounds like the scanner had wrong information in it. Nothing that the clerk shoud get in trouble for.

Then again it could be that the amount you were charged was correct.

If that was the case – one can high-light such.

Thanks again everyone.

Just to update you:

I took the trousers and receipt back today - they checked it out and indeed it was a mistake by the staff, which meant that technically one of my new pairs of trousers was stolen goods lol.

This meant I owed the store £10, which I was prepared to pay. However, they thanked me for being honest and so gave me a £5 discount from this as a gesture of goodwill.

So I only had to pay another £5 in the end.

I can now enjoy my new trousers with a clear conscience! :slight_smile:

Return to the store, explain what happened and be prepared to pay for trousers not paid for…

If they say don’t worry about it…you did the right thing.

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