We all know that being honest is important – its so important we teach our kids at a young age what it means to be honest. Our talk goes something like this, “…being honest is sometimes really hard to do. But no matter how hard it is, you’ve always got to tell the truth. And sometimes you may get in trouble in telling the truth but it’s important that you do…” Sometimes being honest is really hard to do, especially when you’re a kid and the unknown consequences seem daunting.

As an adult – being honest isn’t something that I have to think about. Its just within me. And sometimes being honest has a completely different outcome than even I can predict. Here’s a recent story of honesty:

I went to the local walmart to purchase a new propane tank for the grill. I specified two times with the cashier I was buying a new tank and not refilling. Even after seeing the total, I clarified one more time that I purchased a new tank and she confirmed. I walked out with a new tank of propane and a receipt that I later realized showed I didn’t pay for the new tank. So annoying. I knew I would have to go back and straighten the situation out – it never crossed my mind that it was their fault and I told them several times. No – I came home with something I didn’t pay for and I needed to make it right.

Two days later back at the same walmart at almost 10 o’clock at night I bring it up with the cashier checking me out – who sends me to customer service to work it out. The manager was on break and I had to wait for him to come back. This was becoming far too much hassle for something that wasn’t my fault. Part of me thought I would return and deal with it later but I wanted to take care of it so I didn’t have it on my to-do list. I waited. A manager showed up to help me. He really thanked me for my honesty, in such a way it made me think few people come back like I did. He went to the computer to work it out and ran into problem after problem. I started getting irritated, this shouldn’t have taken so long. The manager was trying every which way to make this right and allow me to pay but the system was not set up this way. Finally, I was able to return the “refill tank” and purchase the tank I already had at home – which was a $35 price difference. I knew that and was happy to pay and be on my way. But the computer kept prompting him to swipe a gift card. He backed out of the system and tried again and again – only to realize that the new tank was on promotion and came with a $25 gift card. I was in shock. I thought for sure I was being punk’d. He handed me the gift card and said it was my lucky day – walmart has quiet promotions they don’t necessarily advertise and this happened to be one of them, the computer knows the items on promotion and prompts a gift card to be swiped. Seriously!? I came in expecting to pay $35 and I walked out with a $25. Who says it doesn’t pay to be honest?? I have the satisfaction of knowing I was honest and got a fantastic deal in the process.

I’ll now add to my teachings – sometimes being honest is hard and sometimes its just inconvenient. But it always pays to be honest!