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What Would You Do? 10 Moral Dilemmas

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2. You find $20 on a bus seat. Do you ask around to see if anyone dropped it?
Yes: 20
Yes with Reservations: 1
No: 2

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?
The Inbox
Yes: 7
Yes with Reservations: 3
No: 13

Specific Emails
Yes: 3
Yes with Reservations: 2
No: 18

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: 17
Yes with Reservations: 3
No: 2
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.

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By Kathryn Williams, DivineCaroline

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Samantha, selected from DivineCaroline

At DivineCaroline.com, women come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability, and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re discussing all facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at DivineCaroline.com.

69 comments

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3:15PM PST on Feb 27, 2013

loved this lol

5:49AM PST on Dec 14, 2012

Thank you Samantha, for Sharing this!

6:19PM PST on Dec 9, 2012

Most of these scenerios aren't even about moral things, and focus more on what is socially acceptable. I mean some are obvious moral things, such as not lying on taxes or stealing, while other things are more social concepts such as going to another hair dresser, or not giving people food you dropped on the floor.

3:03PM PST on Dec 9, 2012

Interesting article...

12:25PM PST on Dec 8, 2012

jeez..............................

7:19AM PST on Dec 8, 2012

These are all a matter of personal choice. There is such a thing as conscience.How do you feel if you were at the receivibng end?

9:33AM PST on Nov 29, 2012

How very interesting ... thank you :)

9:10PM PST on Nov 28, 2012

Some times u never know where food has been. If u find $ and are not sure who it belongs to, mayb I'd give it to the poorest looking person there. If u see who lost anything it's got to be given back to them.

12:57PM PST on Nov 28, 2012

Interesting.
Thank you

9:13AM PST on Nov 28, 2012

thanks

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