Ethical Question: Taking Change

Ethical Question: Taking Change

I got schooled by my daughter today.

I've been so concerned about all the unethical shenanigans of the Trump administration affecting my kids' abilities to know right from wrong that I forgot to worry about myself.

We were at the grocery store. Someone before us had left their change in the little change dispenser -- we're talking about $0.43 cents here. No more than fifty.

I pointed this out to my six-year-old, because I was looking at it as a "find a penny, pick it up situation." She told me it was stealing. Turning the knife even further, she said, "I don't have any money, but I don't need to take money that doesn't belong to me." Ouch.

She's exactly right. And we had a good conversation about when it's okay to pick up money that doesn't belong to you. I told her I was proud of her, and that I was totally in the wrong here, which was a concept I think she enjoyed.

But then I got to thinking about it, and I started wondering about the social contract at play here. If someone leaves their change in the machine, is it fair game? Is it a "take a penny, leave a penny" type situation, where we're supposed to leave the money for someone who might be short a few cents on their bill? Or is it playground rules where the finders are the keepers and the losers are the weepers?


I wrote a book! It's YA novel, THE SOUND OF US. You can find the details right here! Kirkus calls it "a winning story about a teenage voice student that hits all the right notes."

I also wrote another book, Any Boy but You, (You've Got Mail in the Pokemon Go era). You can buy it here.

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