Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Tue, 10 May 1994 12:52:04 EDT
Here's a ethical problem that you can share with your Scouts and
Scouters. Allow me please to lay out the situation and then there
will a series of leading questions in which you can talk about here or
there. The way we resolved the situation is explained in the next
posting (no fair skipping to the next posting until you've read this
In this time where we are instilling personal values through our
program, and in the BSA's Year of Values, this is pretty appropriate
for discussion before we all take off for the summer. Here goes:
A family moves to a new community and into a new home. You comment
that "it's really strange that we would manage to find a place with
the previous owner having the same last name as yours!", as you take
the old name off of the mailbox and place your names in it's place.
During the course of the following week, you get a series of strange
calls for "Steve" or "Betsy" the previous owners. Some of them are
pretty abusive and others are simply, what you can figure out,
inquiring if they are still there. Then, a week after you return from
a business trip, you are awaken by loud tapping on your door. Not
knowing whom it is, you grab your rope, make your way down the stairs
and ask sleeply "Who is it?"
The crackling of the radio and the booming voice replies "City Police.
Open up please!"
You quickly open the door and in comes a policeman, whom looks at you
and asks you "Are you Steve?" "No, they moved out of here" and you
offer your name and ask the officer what this is all about.
The officer, looking around at the half-empty boxes and things strung
all over the place, replies "Is there anyone else here?"
You explain that your honies is still upstairs, and that you want to
know what is going on. He asks you for some identification, and you
explain that you don't carry it on you and that you have to go
upstairs to get it for him. He escorts you up the stairs, and into
your bedroom where your sweetheart finally turns over and, rubbing her
eyes, ask "Who was it?"
The policeman, upon seeing your driver's license and other
identification, turns to your sleeping spouse and informs her "We're
looking for Steve or Betsy. Do you know where they can be?" Almost
in unison, the two of you reply "Nope. They were gone from here by the
time we've moved in".
The policeman, realizing that he'd made a large mistake, turns
red-faced and starts apologizing to the two of you, and calls in that
Steve is not living here. He also stated that you won't have any more
problems like this again.
Steve and Betsy did something REALLY wrong!!
Ove the course of the next year, you get notices and mail from various
places in town. Steve and Betsy had real financial problems. No
wonder the police was really anxious to find them. What you were able
to find out from your landlord and the neighbors was that one night
Steve and Betsy packed up and moved away, leaving the bills unpaid.
Good thing that you look NOTHING like them, the neighbors say to you.
So, here you are, tossing their mail in the "file 13", until one day.
Yesterday, as a matter of fact. Yesterday, you receive 14 checks.
Fourteen extremely LARGE checks. Fourteen large checks to Steve, with
the SAME last name as yours. You have a overdue morgage payment. You
have a overdue telephone bill. You have overdue car payments and
student loan payments. This money couldn't have come at a BETTER
time! You and your spouse hold the checks from the state department
of child welfare enforcement (child support) to the light and discover
that you are holding almost 4 grand in checks!
Nobody knows what happened to Steve. Nobody cares what happened to
these two. So you and your spouse sit at the dinner table, with these
checks...this found money...literally in your lap. You call the
property owner, and he says "He didn't leave a forwarding address".
You call directory assistance and the post office and they tell you
that the person don't exist. You call the police department and
explain the situation and they can't tell you anything either.
1. Knowing that these checks could be cashed easily and perhaps
without any reservation or objection from anyone, would you cash
them? Why or why not? Would you cash ONE, believing that it
could be considered as a "finders fee?"
2. What would you do with the money if it was in the form of cash
in the envelopes rather than a check? Would it matter to you if
someone mailed money to "Steve" or "Betsy" and you, not paying
attention to the name (remember, they have the SAME last name as
you...and even the USPS still places their mail in your box!), open it
up and there's several hundred dollar bills?
3. Knowing that people will be coming around within days to shut off
key utilities (gas, water, electricity, cable), would you "deposit it
in your account and then use the interest to pay the bills (remember,
we are talking about four thousand dollars, so the interest could pay
one or two of your bills)?
4. Finally, how would you explain this sudden "positive cash flow" to
others that know of your struggling and attempts to keep yourselves
"afloat" if you kept it? If you didn't keep it, how would you explain
why you chose to return it to the people? And whom would you return
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
(h) 502-782-7992 (f) 502-781-7279 (w) 502-782-7467 |-=-|]
3201-D Cave Springs Avenue -- Greenwood, KY 42104-4439 -=====-
Internet: WALTOML@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU/America OnLine: KYBLKEAGLE@AOL.COM
"Not speaking for WKU......................but I do speak well!!"
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City