For the four years I’ve been in my house, my living room had been a mismatched-on-purpose-with-a-bohemian-vibe space with deep, rusty orange walls. Visitors always mentioned how cozy it was… I’d describe it as being like a warm hug, inviting you to curl up and get comfy. That old room is gone, replaced with a totally different vibe.
So why change it? Sometimes things just need to change for the sheer purpose of needing something different. There’s no real reason. But that’s not what this story is about.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve painted walls, purchased a fantastic Chesterfield-inspired leather sofa (that I am in love with), re-purposed furniture I already had and picked up a rockin’ vintage piece from a great shop called findfurnish in NE Minneapolis. I hung my own artwork on the walls. Things were coming together nicely.
The past several days I’ve been searching for one final piece to complete the room… something to set a lamp on, opposite from its match on the other side of my couch. That shouldn’t be too difficult, right? With the way the room is laid out, an end table was too big. It made the corner look cluttered. A floral stand was too tall. I refused to buy one of those pressed wood cube shelf things (i.e. the Ikea cubed system that everyone and their mom seems to own.)
Being someone who does things all the way or not at all, it was bugging the crap out of me that I couldn’t come up with a solution.
Then, I found it. I was walking through – of all places – the homegrown corporate conglomerate’s shop (otherwise known as Target) and eyed a tall, bamboo vase. It was the perfect size and color. I stood there in the aisle racking my brain on how to transform it into a lamp stand. With a firm plan in place, I tucked it under my arm, picked up a few more things and headed to pay.
I made small talk with the cashier and as she went to ring up the vase, I mentioned to her that I had noticed the tag had fallen off inside (a tag had fallen out when I had been looking at it in the aisle and I just assumed it was for that.) She pulled it out and scanned it.
She read off the description asking me if that sounded right. All I heard was the word “bamboo.”
“Yep, that’s right.” I said.
“For $9.99, sounds good.” she said at the same exact time. It took a split second for me to realize it was the wrong tag inside the vase and she was undercharging me by $20. But in that split second, she completed the transaction and handed me the receipt.
“Have a nice day!” she said with a smile. She had no idea it was wrong.
“You too,” I mustered, not sure what to do. She had already started ringing up the next person. I walked out to my car, tossed my purchases in the back seat and sat in the drivers seat for a good 20 minutes thinking about what to do.
I know what a lot of people’s first reaction might be. It’s fucking Target, they won’t miss $20. My inner cynic thought the same exact thing for a moment. I had an opportunity to stick it to the “man” and save myself 20 bucks.
But there was a nagging in my gut. No matter how much I dislike corporate conglomerates with too much power (and let’s not get started on how hypocritical I am being by shopping there to begin with) — I dislike liars and cheats even more. I pride myself on never, ever being either of those things, no matter what, and I would never feel right about it if I just let it go.
I grabbed the vase and my receipt and walked back into the store to the customer service desk.
“I have a weird situation for you,” I said to the young woman behind the desk and proceeded to explain to her what had happened. She was smiling from ear-to-ear as she corrected the mistake and ran my card to make up the difference.
“Thanks,” I said when she handed me the new receipt.
“Thanks for coming back in,” she said back. “That was really cool.”
I smiled and told her to have a goodnight, instantly feeling balanced again as I walked back out to my car.
What would you have done?