It Shouldn’t Be Surprising

Yesterday, I had to stop at Gymboree to make a return. It was a rather non-traditional return, though. You see, in my last order, I received all of my items, plus an extra shirt. What was really unusual about it was that I didn’t even pay for the shirt…it didn’t show up on my invoice at all. So, on the advice of the customer service representative that I talked to, I took it to the store at the mall (I was going anyway, to pick up a few other things here and there), to give it back.

What transpired confused and embarrassed me. Once she got over not knowing what she was supposed to do with the shirt (which didn’t surprise me at all, even though the customer service rep said it would be no problem), the cashier began thanking me profusely. And loudly. In front of everyone in what was at that time a very crowded store. She kept saying how no one has ever done that before, that it was nice of me to take the time to bring it in, that I was so honest, that other people would have just kept it, etc.

I was tempted to make a joke to deflect the attention, and just say, “I would have kept it, but it’s not the right size!” But while it was true that it wasn’t a size anyone in our house needed, I didn’t want to set that kind of example for the five children who were with me. So, I just turned beet red, and said, “You’re welcome,” and hurried out of there.

But the whole thing bothered me. People shouldn’t be applauded for having common decency, for doing what they ought to do, for doing the right thing. The shirt didn’t belong to me, as I didn’t pay for it; it belonged to Gymboree. I was just making sure it got back to its rightful owner. How did we get to such a point as a society that people are surprised when someone does what people would have done without blinking a generation or two ago? Why should it be anything other than completely normal to give something back to whom it belongs?

I guess it was good that my children saw me setting an example that shouldn’t really be an example at all, but something that should just be second nature. I’m still perplexed and embarrassed by the whole situation, though!

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