2. You find $20 on a bus seat. Do you ask around to see if anyone dropped it?
Yes with Reservations: 1
The consensus on this seemed pretty clear, although the reasoning behind it varied, from “what goes around comes around” to “people who have to take the bus need their 20 dollars—I know, I’ve been one” to “especially if other people are looking.” The hope, however, was almost always to end up with the “free money.”
But two respondents seemed hesitant to spend it on themselves. One even related how she once found a $20 bill on the street and put it on the windshield of the closest car. “I would rather another person have to make the decision on spending it or not,” she wrote.
For the two friends who said they wouldn’t try to find the money’s rightful owner, the reasoning stemmed from a mistrust in others’ ethics. “No, they will lie and take it,” one female, who works in the nonprofit sector, stated bluntly.
3. Your partner has left his/her email open on your shared computer. Is it okay to take a look at the inbox? What about at a specific email?
Yes with Reservations: 3
Yes with Reservations: 2
It was interesting that the number of people who answered “yes” or even “yes with reservations” dropped by half when it came to reading specific emails, versus just browsing their partner’s inbox. Several people mentioned passing glances but seemed uncomfortable with closer examination or regretted having done it in the past.
Others were more black and white. Said my writer friend, “Definitely not cool to open an email. Even if the subject line is ‘REMEMBER HOW GREAT IT WAS CHEATING ON YOUR BOYFRIEND LAST NIGHT??’” Another male grad student agreed: “Good way to find a ticket on the one-way train to Dumpville.”
People who were married were more likely to respond with a “yes” than those who were not married. One respondent, recently divorced, said yes, although she’d want to establish an understanding about such things first. Her take has changed with experience, though. “My answer probably would have been different two years ago!” she wrote.
4. The clerk at the grocery store gives you too much change. Do you tell her?
Yes with Reservations: 3
Wouldn’t Notice (I Never Count My Change): 1
People who answered “yes” on this one often expressed that they wouldn’t want the clerk to lose her job or have the difference taken out of her paycheck. The ones who said “no” weren’t as sympathetic with the employee. “I’ve made a mistake at work before and cost the company money; why shouldn’t they have the same responsibility to do their job correctly?” explained Sarah. Others qualified their “yes” by mentioning the amount they were overcompensated and whether they had already left the store.