Wednesday, June 14, 2006

a question of honesty

The other day, a package was left at our door.  It was gift bag that was beautifully packed with printed tissue paper.  A card was stapled to the front.  The address was ours, but the name on the front was not.  The package came from a law firm and it appeared to be a thank-you gift to this individual.

Out of curiosity, we carefully pulled out the contents of the bag and we found a beautiful box of French milled soaps.  I've seen this brand of soaps in one of those chi-chi gift shops and I would guess that the box was around $20 to 30.

The question, of course, is what do we do with the gift?  What would you do?  I mean, it was sent to our address and just sitting at our front door.  As far as we knew, this person hasn't lived in our house in the recent past.  We can't very well send it back in the mail!  And it's a law firm anyway!  They can afford more French milled soaps! 

In the end, we decided to call the law firm and let them know that they had sent to package to the right address, but that person didn't live at our house.  We were not prepared to do anything extra with the package except leave it back at the front door for them to pick up, if they so chose.

Now, while we're doing the honest thing here, I have to honestly tell you, that I thought the law firm would thank me for the call and let me know that I can just keep it and they'll send it out again.  After all, how much does it cost to get a courier to deliver a gift, pick it up again and then drop it off somewhere else (and chances are that they will not find this person anyway!)?  I think that would cost more than the actual soaps themselves! 

Well, I couldn't believe it, but the law firm actually asked me to leave it at the front door and they would have a courier pick it up!  Seriously.  Now, I'm not talking about a private practice or a mom and pop partnership practice.  I'm talking about a law firm that describes themselves on their Web-site as "...a leading national business and litigation law firm in Canada. With over 580 lawyers ...".  Honestly, I'm a little shocked at how cheap a law firm can really be!

I think that I'm a fairly honest and responsible person and I feel pretty good that I make those kinds of decisions.  If I found someone's wallet, I would return it completely intact and I would hope that others would do the same.  I feel good about doing stuff like that.  But I can tell you that it was not "good" that I was feeling today when the person at the law firm said that they would be picking up their package.  I just felt a sense of shame for this law firm that they would be so cheap as to want their package back.  Remember that next time you get your bill of $200/hour for corporate law services...

1 comment:

Derek K. Miller said...

DATE: 6/15/2006 11:10:36 PM
They probably just wanted to avoid liability in case you were allergic to the soap.