I’m usually good about sticking up for myself when I believe a cashier has given me incorrect change, mis-charged me, or made a mistake. But lately I’m having a hard time. One day last week I kept quiet TWICE even though speaking up would have kept money in my pocket. Why?
Reason No. 1. There is social pressure to go with the flow. By protesting, you are subtly calling the cashier a liar, a lazy person, or very forgetful. Why else would they have shorted your a dollar?
Reason No. 2. It can feel uncomfortable to point out another person’s mistake. See above.
Reason No. 3. The line behind you is really long.
Reason No 4. You tell yourself that not very much money is at stake.
Reason No. 5. The transaction goes by so quickly you don’t discover the error until you’ve walked out of the store.
Reason No. 6. You forgot to count your change or counted too quickly and didn’t find the error.
How do you get beyond these perfectly good but still inexcusable reasons not to speak up when a cashier makes a mistake? When do you let it go – and when do you speak up? In my case, had I spoken up both times I would have an extra $2.58 in my pocket. Is the dollar amount relevant or is it a matter of principle?