Frugality And A Question Of Morals

I recently voiced my opinion, maybe too loudly, on a post about asking for extra condiments when dining out. I felt keeping extra condiments automatically given to you was OK, while asking for extras to increase your at home stockpile was not.
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Now, I am put to introspection with a similar, yet different issue. Should I keep what was given to me, and therefore rightfully mine or should I consider extenuating circumstances and not accept the gift.

Some of us feel we rightly deserve more than others because we live (according to our own moral codes), a better life than many. We might feel that a monetary windfall is just one of the rewards for living a good lifestyle.

Living 'right' should and does have its rewards, but I feel just what those rewards should be are open to question. Should a rich man feel he deserves wealth because he is a devout adherent to a particular religion? Though he might not think so, he only deserves what he has worked for, was heir to or gained through honest investing.

Now for my ten dollar dilemma. In the past year and a half, I have had more unexpected expenses than in all my previous years put together. Any windfall, no matter how small, would be helpful. I can't accept though, that a ten dollar gift was due to an act of divine intervention resulting from my having been a morally good person.

I recently received a check in the mail for the amount of ten dollars. The check was 'live' and negotiable. It was part of a promotions act by a particular company.

Accompanying text stated the check was mine to use however I chose with no strings attached. Beneath the line on back for my signature was another line for me to enter my phone number. There was no indication leaving this line blank could make the check invalid. I'm assuming I could have cashed the check without entering my phone number. This gift as a means of contacting prospective customers seems to me to be legitimate though I've no idea how successful such promotions have fared.

So, the check is rightfully mine. Though I have no intentions of engaging in the company's promotional deal, I should be able to cash the check without reservation. Or should I?

I've no doubt the company issuing the check would expect only a small number of recipients to cash the check with expectations of following through with their promotional deal. They would/should expect most people to cash the check and forget all about any followup.

Is there anything wrong with cashing the check, knowing you will never purchase any goods or services from the company? (After all the check is yours). Well, maybe not. Maybe yes.

Let's say this is a legitimate startup company whose success depends, in part, on how many people cash the check and follow up on the promotional deal. Whether the struggling company survives or not, is not/should not be your concern. Right?

Now, let's say this new company is owned by your spouse or other close relative. Their livelihood is dependent on the success of the company. You would hope the majority of check recipients would indeed cash the check and then participate in the company's promotional deal.

It's a known fact, we see things from a different perspective when they 'hit home'. We are given the chance to step into the other person's shoes for a while. Being in those shoes, we can only hope others would treat us the way we did or should have treated them.

Our nation is currently in turmoil, such that it could shake the very foundations on which it stands. Resolution will come about only when each of us has the compassion to see all sides without prejudice, in effect, to put ourselves in their shoes. Could our feelings about a ten dollar gift be extrapolated into our feelings about our current crisis? I think yes.

In the meantime, I'm doing the worst thing of all, nothing. The check still sits there. To cash or not to cash.

What would you do with the check and what feelings or beliefs would motivate your decision?

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June 11, 20200 found this helpful

At times we have received advertisements in the mail with a one dollar bill or a two dollar bill inside as a promotion. I didn't return the currency nor did i pitch it the trash. I don't have it now so I guess I spent it and the rest of the letter went in the recycling bin. I would be a little leery of a check.

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June 14, 20200 found this helpful

Many times the cash in the envelop marketing I look forward to. I take that and donate to a charity or library preferable children one. If it comes in during a holiday I buy stamps for the armed services.

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The envelop it came from I shred and use it in my compost bin. I am one who likes the extras in the mail. Many times I used the product anyway. I stopped worrying about this or that and have fun thinking who enjoyed the extra.

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June 14, 20200 found this helpful

Don't cash it. It will give them your banking info. Not good.

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June 14, 20200 found this helpful

I routinely receive gifts of address labels and such. There is no obligation to give to the charity who sent them. If I do not make a donation, I dont use them.

During the virus, many schools gave free meals to all adults, regardless of income. My area did not, but I would not have taken it because I am still drawing a paycheck, and would rather someone who was in a poorer financial position benefit from it.

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I guess there is no wrong or right, just your own sense of values.

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June 14, 20200 found this helpful

I would not cash the check. I see signatures as a contract and I don't want to be contracted or obligated to anyone.

The places that send cash, I have spent or donated. Perhaps that is a double standard, but that is my way to deal with this as there is not away to track that.

I spent a lot of time in the past getting my name removed from all of this type of mail and have reduced it to almost none.

Now, when I (rarely) get things like this... I shred free labels because I don't need any more than I already have and use free stationary, sewing kits, bags, and such.

I will try again to get my name removed from these places. I hate the waste of money and refuse to donate to places that waste, I am very clear with places that I boycott places that send me junk and that the cost of the junk or cash they send is wasted and they need to redirect it back to their cause.

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June 14, 20200 found this helpful

When charities send me as much as a nickel or dime in an envelope, I keep the money and write them off as a place I will never contribute to. If that's what they do with the money donated to them, I consider them poor stewards of their monetary resources.

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If a for-profit company sent me cash and I wasn't interested in their product/service, I'd keep it. Morally and legally you are not acting inappropriately when you keep a gift of any kind, money or merchandise.

The only reservation I'd have would be with cashing a check. That, I wouldn't do. Not for moral reasons - because morally if they sent you a $10 bill you could keep it with a clear conscience. But your signature to cash a check often means you're agreeing to something - it will be in the very fine print in the correspondence they sent you. There have been stories like this on the news over the years - endorsing the check has signed you up for some service you don't want. I received such a check once myself, and scoured the pages of the letter that was sent with it until I found the "catch."

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Rest assured, there IS a catch. Tear up the check. You haven't lost $10 that you could really use. You never HAD that $10. And it will end up costing you a lot more than $10 if you cash it, phone number or not.

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June 14, 20200 found this helpful

I don't think I'd cash the check. I've never seen something like this that didn't come with strings attached.

I used to donate to a "charitable" organization until I found out it was taking in millions of dollars and only helping maybe 200 kids.

I've got enough of their address labels to last me and my great-grandchildren into the next millennium, so I'll keep using them. Now that I pay all my bills on-line, I seldom need an address label.

It would be nice to figure out how to use them for some kind of artistic/craft project.

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June 14, 20200 found this helpful

As for the check, toss it. Nothing like that is really free. I suspect it is just a way to "buy" your information for another purpose, like marketing or even a scam.
As for the condiments, if they are given to you, they are yours to keep. For health reasons, eating establishments have to dispose of non-washable items you don't use.

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June 14, 20200 found this helpful

i would cash it without reservation and be thankful for the gift.

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June 14, 20200 found this helpful

You've asked thoughtful questions, and many thoughtful answers have been posted. I would agree to toss the check; however, if there is a "catch," you still may not be required to participate in the promotion. Just check the small print carefully to judge the extent of your obligation. As to freebies given at restaurants and fast-food places, by law the establishment cannot take them back, so I use the napkins at home and empty the ketchup packets into my larger bottle. I'm very careful about how much paper I use; I haven't bought napkins in over a decade and, having bought the washable cloths, use very few paper towels. I also avoid plastic whenever possible, and that's difficult nowadays.

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June 15, 20200 found this helpful

Thanks for all the replies. They were helpful and set me to thinking and to doing more research.

If there's a 'fine print catch' here, I can't find it. Still, I have decided not to cash the check. The company has had several complaints.

My opinion is that that while the company may not be doing anything illegal, some of their practices border on shady.

I choose not to accept a gift from someone in whom I have little or no confidence and I don't want to promote these types of promotions. The check is torn and thrown in the trash.

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June 15, 20200 found this helpful

If a company uses money as a sales pitch, Id keep it, if it says no strings attached, I think thats fair. However, I would NEVER transact a check, youd have to put your account number with your endorsement and they will then know it! NEVER transact an unknown check.

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