Honesty….a rare virtue in these days.

It amazes me that when you are honest, people look at you strangely. That or they are so surprised they don’t know what to say to you.

Two examples:

We went to Sams and bought new mattresses for the kids beds. I had all ready done the math in my head so I knew what our bill should have been at the checkout. The young person rang us up and we paid. I stood there looking at the receipt because I knew something was wrong by $200. I told the clerk that the receipt was wrong and he had made a mistake. He became a little defensive. I am sure they get more of the “You overcharged me” then someone telling him he undercharged on the ticket. He didn’t realize that the MOD (Manager on Duty) had just stepped up behind him as we were explaining the problem. We told him it was short. We gave him back the receipt to double check and his jaw dropped. He apologized and I told him that I was glad we caught the mistake. It was a mistake. I would hate to see his job in jeopardy over this. His MOD told him he was lucky we were honest. She was even surprised….we could have walked out with that mattress and no one would have been the wiser. The person checking receipts that day was not someone who would have picked up on the extra mattress or would have assumed it was part of a set.

We had shopped at Stuffmart. I had paid and was out loading the van. My sister noticed the detergent on the bottom of my cart. I looked at my receipt because I didn’t remember paying for the detergent. I told her I would be back and walked back into Stuffmart with the two detergents. I was stopped at the door and asked if I was returning these items. I looked at the lady sheepishly mind you, and said “No. I forgot to put it up on the checkout line and was coming back in to pay for the detergent.” The lady just stood there looking at me and then walked me over to the information counter. The manager of the store happened to be standing at the counter. I explained that with the paper towels and toilet paper I missed the detergent. I didn’t see it until I got back out to the van. I was bringing it back in to pay for the items. He just stood there and his jaw dropped . One of these days I am going to tell someone that they are going to catch flies in their mouth with it hanging open like that…. 🙂

“You actually came back in to pay for these items?” he asked. “Well yes. I came here expecting to pay and the mistake was mine. I am not into stealing.” He just stood there shaking his head and told me how rare it is to find honest people. Most people would have just left and blamed the store for not catching the mistake.

My friend’s daughter just got hired at Stuffmart. This particular one had a major hiring campaign. When she went through her training, she was told that just this store had suffered a $6,000,000. dollar loss in goods. $4,000,000 of that was stolen by employees. WOW….I couldn’t believe that. Losses of that amount cause prices to go up and those losses are passed on to the consumer. When your prices go up….it’s not all due to the current oil situation.

Several years ago the Marine Corps had to institute character training as part of boot camp. They were amazed at the lack of good character our young people have coming into the military. This is sad.

We have several older folks that live around us. I encourage my children to do things for these people without expecting any type of remuneration. I prefer that they learn to be helpers and servants. Especially with our older folks living on fixed incomes. The boys will always tell my neighbor they don’t want anything for helping. She will usually insist. They will tell her that a dollar is fine. That is just for carrying in her groceries for her. They raked her yard this year with out being asked. We knew she was going to need it just by the amount of acorns we had in our yard. We tried to wait and do this when she was gone so she wouldn’t know who did the work. This is how we clean her driveway and walkway when it snows. Someone living around us always spills the beans. She called me and asked if she could give the boys something for doing the work. I told her it wasn’t necessary but she could ask the boys. They told her the same thing. They told her they just wanted to be helpful. She gave them $5 dollars a piece. There are other people who are younger that will have the boys come and do jobs and they know that is for pay. I just want the kids to learn that we need to help people and not always expect payment. They even came back to me and told me that it really feels good to do something with out payment. (Not all the time of course…. 🙂 ) They felt good helping Miss Anne.

They have learned about tithes and offerings. They have learned that sometimes it is just good to be able to help someone in need. They have learned that you won’t always get a pat on the back. They have seen us do this. They have asked us why we sometimes do things secretly. We told them that God knows what we did and if we have to broadcast our good deed to the person we helped or to others….then it wasn’t such a good deed because we wanted a pat on the back. We have been teaching them about honesty. Good work ethics. This they seem to have grasped everywhere but at home…..No surprise really.

My children under stand honesty. They will come and tell me that they did something or broke something. They learned early on that lying doesn’t pay. What we have stressed to them is that they may think that no one saw them but they are wrong. God sees everything they do. That still small voice inside them that tells them they are wrong and gives them that guilty feeling is the Holy Spirit convicting them.

They have seen us give money back when we have been given too much change. They have witnessed us taking items back into the store. They are amazed that people would be so shocked at honesty. I have tried to impart to them that honesty is a virtue and it is also a part of our testimony. People will not always know that you are Christian by your appearance. But they will know you are different by your actions and behavior.

I once read something by Dr. Bill Rice. He would tell his kids to remember who their father was when they went out somewhere with out Mom and Dad. They thought he was referring to their earthly parents. He was referring to our heavenly Father. I tell my children to remember who their Father is and the testimony He requires of them. I want my children to understand that just because my eyes are not on them…..God’s eyes are….and that He watches over them at all times.

We are living in a day and age when good virtues are rare.

Teach your children well and know that their eyes are always on you….I leave you with this verse….

  • Php 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

  • Php 4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.


May 6, 2008 - Posted by | Attitude, Child Training, Children, Education, Growing up, Just Life, Observances | , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I’ve had similar experiences w/forgetting something on the bottom of my cart or under my coat that I took off partway through the shopping trip. The people in the store are always surprised that I took the time to come back in. A friend of mine was also surprised that I asked her to check her records to see if I had paid her, she’s a Christian but has had people not pay, because I couldn’t remember and I had lost a book of check duplicates from that time. When I check out I always ask the kids to remind me about the stuff on the bottom when we put something there as I hate having to go back in because it always happens when I’m in a hurry and there’s a line at Customer Service 🙄

    Comment by Elaine | May 6, 2008 | Reply

  2. I have had similar reactions from people when we have been out shopping. A few weeks ago we were at the mall shopping. K3 had carried something around the store and then when we left she didn’t realize she was still carrying it. We were at the opposite end of the mall when she realized her mistake. I took her back into the store and we apologized to the clerk and returned the item…(it was a DVD). He was very surprised that we had come back in. K3 felt really good about making the situation right because she was feeling terrible about having walked out of the store with out paying.

    That’s cool Beth……They like the good feeling of doing something right.

    Comment by missplacedalaskan | May 6, 2008 | Reply

  3. It was amazing you were not caught for shoplifting. A very close family member was in a wheel chair at Wal-Mart and she had a pen refill that kept slipping through the basket so she put it in an outside pocket of her purse with the intention of putting it on the counter when she paid for everything. It was under $2. They took her and brought criminal charges. When she went to court she explained to the judge what happened and he told her she should admit she had stolen the item and show remorse. She again explained what had happened, she now has a felony on her record. I am very careful now when I go in a store to make sure that my purse is closed and nothing is left in the basket. She had to serve 100 hours in community service. She had told the judge she was a Christian and would never steal. She was too embarrassed to tell anyone until after the fact.

    Comment by Woundedlily | May 6, 2008 | Reply

  4. That is right, Ginger! It always amazes me too about the honesty issues! We have had the same types of reactions that you had over the last couple of stores. After having children and my husband working in stores, I have heard about the theft problems, and I am flabbergasted!! Last summer, Stephen was working short staffed because “they had just fired a lot of people for stealing from the store!” Sad! God is watching!!! He sees! HE knows our hearts too. Thanks for sharing, and what a lesson to reinforce what you insist on from your children! 🙂

    Comment by warrenswife | May 6, 2008 | Reply

  5. Good for you, Ginger in teaching your children Godly ways. I once got home with a huge bag of dogfood that didn’t get paid for. I had put the sticker on the belt, but apparently the checker didn’t see it. I got home and was looking over my receipt when I realized I wasn’t charged for it. The next time I was in Walmart, I went to the dogfood aisle, wrote down the UPC number of the item I got that day and then when I was checking out, I had the checker put in that UPC number. She was so shocked!!! She kept saying, “Are you sure? Are you sure?” I was like, “YES, just ring up the stupid dog food!!!”

    Also, just like 6 months ago, my girls and I were in WM (again) getting some school supplies and when we got to the van we realized that a ruler and some lead didn’t get paid for. So, I walked right back into the store and went right to the check-out line and paid for those 2 items. None of the workers even knew.

    Honesty is a good thing for children to learn. 🙂

    Comment by praisesinger | May 7, 2008 | Reply

  6. And on this note….
    I was at WM last night and bought a bunch of clothes on clearance. I bought 3 pair of capris for me…3 pair for the girls. I checked the receipt as I was leaving the store, but was in a hurry. It didn’t seem like I had paid enough. When I looked at the receipt last night when I got home…sure enough I had only paid for 3 pair of the capris. And one of the pair I paid for is the wrong size! Tonight we will be going to a different WM and I will return the pair that is the wrong size and request to pay for the unpaid for pair!

    Has anyone noticed the problems of not paying for items all seem to be coming from WM?

    Comment by MissPlacedAlaskan | May 7, 2008 | Reply

  7. I too am amazed when people are shocked at our honesty. Sometimes you have to wonder what the world is coming to when people expect that you are going to rip them off or take advantage of their mistakes. We have to set th example! Often times, because its not worth the trouble, cashiers/clerks/managers have told me to just go ahead, but they really appreciate the honesty. More than that, God is always watching and he knows our hearts. Yeah, I think you guys did the right thing. And you set great examples for the kids that they will remember. If I were them, I would be able to sleep well on those mattresses at night. 🙂

    Comment by Blogmaster | May 10, 2008 | Reply

  8. I have to share a little something with you. Stacy and I were talking and I shared with her the post you made on the board about JT’s funeral. She said she had this overwhelming urge to hug you. And this is a big thing coming from her. She doesn’t like touching people.

    Happy Mother’s Day!!!

    That is so sweet……I am so glad you have Stacy. She is such a loyal and loving friend. Tell her thank you and it was an honor for us to be there for you and JT.

    Comment by Bobbie | May 11, 2008 | Reply

  9. That is great.

    We had went out to eat one day and Dh noticed that he was given $1 too much change back. So he went right back inside and told the girl at the drive thru. She couldn’t believe that someone would come back over $1.

    I once bought a crochet hook and when I got home I noticed that it was no where to be found on the receipt. I saw the girl scan it and put it in the bag, but it didn’t catch it. So I went back to the store and told customer service and I had a hard time getting them to understand that I had came back to pay for the item that I supposedly had paid for the night before. It took them a while to understand.

    It’s sad that people have gotten to where they are shocked at others being honest.

    Comment by FourHisGlory | May 15, 2008 | Reply

  10. At the risk of sounding negative (call it experienced optimism) I’d be careful about returning stuff in this societal climate. In their non-thinking arrogant superiority that has been bred by constant exposure to media, others in general will assume you stole it and aren’t tough enough to complete the theft, so you brought the item back to assuage your guilt. I’ve seen this stuff happen…and it’s really a sad commentary on how far we’ve removed ourselves from being just humanly civil to each other, which is the natural outgrowth of a healthy respect for God. I teach my son honesty, and it is taking, but then I have to explain to him why dishonesty pays for so many. And don’t tell me it eventually catches up with you…it doesn’t on the whole. Witness the seventy year old politicoes with jets, multiple houses, and not a care in the world. When’s the last time they were honest??

    I cashed a large check at a bank recently, and was given an extra hundred dollar bill. I counted it in front of the teller, and gave her back the extra hundred. No “thank you” or “oops” or anything. Just a look of disgust like I was only returning it to show I was superior in my counting. The one-upmanship today will be the end of us.

    Comment by Dingus Khan | August 20, 2008 | Reply

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