Sunday, January 04, 2009

finders, keepers...

The other day, as we were hanging out in the lobby of the Embassy Suites in Portland, waiting to check out, a woman set down a bunch of shopping bags near us and Tali gasped.

"Look, Momma! Same, same!" She squealed, pointing to a Nordstrom bag and then the little Nordstrom card she was holding.

While we all checked our wallets to make sure we hadn't lost our credit cards, I saw that it was a Nordstrom gift card, all glittery and shiny in it's consumer possibilities. "Hey Tal, where did you get that?"

"I found it on the street. Can I keep it? Please, please, please... It's so shiny and I could play store with it."

"I don't know," I said. "Let's see if it's been used or not. It might be a gift card with money on it."

She understands this immediately and starts chanting "I'm rich, I'm rich, I'm rich! I can buy anything I want!"

So today as we're getting ready to go to the grocery store, I call up Nordys and find out there is $200 on the card. I didn't really expect that much and while I doubt my five year old has any concept how much that is, we all spent a good thirty minutes trying to figure out what she'd buy with her newfound riches. And then T remembered a purse she'd seen awhile back that was shaped like a pug, but with handles and a zipper down its back. A beautiful puggy purse with a sparkly pink collar (and you know how we feel about sparkly collars in this house) wearing a price tag of $40 which had previously earned her only a palm on her forehead to see if she was burning a fever or just indeed truly crazy. And now she wanted that purse badly.

"So can we go?" she asked hopefully.

But here's the thing. I'm a total and utter goody-goody. I kept trying to picture the person who lost the card--some guy who bought it for his wife at the last minute, or some college student who was just psyched to be able to buy some ridiculously priced jeans, and I couldn't quite help thinking that if it were me, I'd try pretty hard to figure out a way to get it back.

So I call up Nordstrom's customer service department and tell the guy on the other end that my five year old daughter found this giftcard and we were wondering if it were at all possible to trace who it belonged to.

"Ma'am, it's like cash," he tells me when I reluctantly give him the account number. "This was purchased at a grocery store so it'd be hard to track."

"But what if someone had their receipt?" I asked.

"Well, I'm still not sure they'd be able to track it. You have to have the card number on it."

"So... There's nothing we can do about it?" I ask. There are serious groans from the kids who are standing around me.

"Well, if it makes you feel better, I could put a hold on it."

"Hmmm," I say. "I'm not sure that would make me feel better."

"Since you told me it wasn't yours, that's probably what I should do," he tells me, making me feel like a total imbecile for a number of reasons, including pushing him to put a hold on it.

"We can't keep it, can we," Tali says knowingly when I hang up the phone.

"Nope," I tell her. "Really, it's not ours."

"If we kept it, would it be like stealing? Could they send a five year old to jail?" She seems both worried and excited at the same time.

"Here's the thing," I tell her, after assuring her that nobody will be putting her in jail, "as much as I'd love to go on a shopping spree with you, it doesn't feel right to me to spend that money. What do you think?"

Tali actually looks relieved for a second. "It's not ours," she says. "But I really, really, really want it," she manages to get out before she starts crying. The truth is too much for her at the moment. But it isn't a sad or tantrum-y cry--it's just an overwhelmed cry. And I'm so proud of her.

But boy, I know how she feels... And if you see any sparkly puggy purses on sale, let me know.


Becky said...

Wow. So hard but good for you guys...

So what did you do with it? it's just sitting there. Unused? Sad.

amy said...

Isn't that sad? It's just sitting there all sparkly in my wallet... Totally neglected...

Anonymous said...

How can they put a hold on it? Instead of you finding $200 now they get the money to keep. You might have to lose that card over at my house.


Becky said...

Yeah on second thought... USE it! Call them up and say you lost a $200 gift card.

Nordstroms would want you to. So would the person that lost it. Oh and while your at it, my shoe size is 8.5. and I need some new silver hoop earrings. THANKS!

amy said...

LOL, where are your morals people? :)

I'll give those negligent card-dropping people one week before we go on a puggy purse spree.

Marketing Mama said...

You totally did the right thing and your children will be better for it! Besides - a purse of a dog? Really? hmmm.