Wrong Delivery Dilemma | Keep A Package That Isn’t Yours or Return It?

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I love the delivery man. During the holidays, nothing says Christmas like hearing one of those trucks making deliveries throughout my neighborhood. It is MY Santa. Every time that delivery man comes to the door, my house is always filled with excitement and energy. I completely forget the fact that I paid an obnoxious amount of money for the gift that he is delivering. I do, however, get really frustrated when the package I’m waiting patiently for never shows up.

I am one of those parents who thinks I need to make a calendar every year as gifts for every member of our family. You know, the ones with only my kids and entire year’s worth of vacations and holiday photos. I force every member of my family to hang these in their kitchens just so they can get the excitement of knowing what we did during that month … one year ago. Kind of ridiculous, maybe, but they all seem to like it.

When rushing to get my yearly calendar delivery this year, I stumbled upon another envelope in the box. I thought maybe the company sent me copies of the pictures placed in my calendar, so without hesitation I opened the envelope. Inside I found a 32-GB camera memory card. I immediately brought out my camera to see if it fit. Just like Cinderella’s slipper, it was a perfect fit. When I placed it in the slot, I discovered it held 10,000 photos compared to my pitiful 1,000. (SCORE!) But, why did this come to me?

My first reaction was that it must be some sort of promo deal that I received while ordering the calendars. You know, “buy five, get a free memory card” or something like that. I looked at the envelope again and it was addressed to someone in Virginia. I live in Michigan. At that point, I realized that this wasn’t my card. (Bummer.)

Clearly I know right from wrong. I know that keeping the card is wrong because someone else is waiting for it. Maybe it was even a gift for a family member, or perhaps something for her own camera to hold extra photos for the holidays. Conversely, the delivery into my mailbox was an accident so no one would know if I kept it. I mean, it’s the company’s fault, right? If I contacted the company, it would take me so long to return it to the distribution center and then have them send it out to the real owner again. She would never get it in time for Christmas, I rationalized. I was torn on what to do.

This reminded me of a lady I know who had a package show up at her door. She wasn’t waiting for an order, but she opened the box anyway. Inside she found a dress–a perfect pink dress exactly her size. Her daughter was getting married and she needed a new mother-of-the-bride dress. Without blinking an eye, she decided to keep the dress. She wore it to her daughter’s wedding and looked amazing. I thought it was kind of tacky, but found out later that she did contact the company to tell them that the dress was sent to the wrong house. The company said no worries and sent another dress to the proper address–no questions asked and the company never asked for the dress to be returned.

I’m sure this happens often, especially during the holidays. When asking friends and family about my memory card situation, I’ve had very mixed comments. Some people said they would return it, others said they would keep it without hesitation. I’ve been really surprised by the number of people who have different ideas on what is right and wrong in this situation.

What is your opinion? Would you have returned the memory card or kept it? What would you do if a wrong package was delivered to your house? (Be honest!)

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