Letter: What is the going rate for integrity?
Virginia is a state with a rich history of citizens who have gone on to greatness through their hard work, dedication to principle, courage and willingness to stand up for what is right. For some reason this does not seem to translate to people treating their neighbors in a way that shows integrity.
This weekend I held a yard sale. A man came by and found an item that he wanted to purchase. The item in question was something that I found in the garage and had no idea what it was or what it was worth. I did not do my homework to figure out a fair price to ask for the item and simply asked the man to tell me what the item was worth when he offered to purchase it. He named a figure, I accepted and he took the item with him, snickering as he went. Out of curiosity, I went inside and pulled the item up on eBay to find out what it was worth. Turns out that the item would have cost about $300 new and the average price for the item used was about half of that. The man at my yard sale paid $10.
I’m not blaming anyone for getting cheated. I should have done my homework and figured out a fair price before selling the item. I’m not even surprised that the man lied to me about the value of the item. Our society has deteriorated to the point where everyone lies for a variety of reasons, whether it is a "polite" lie to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, a "convenient" lie to get out of doing something that we don’t want to do or a "politically correct" lie to conform to what is currently socially acceptable. When it comes to money, in today’s society, it seems that any means is fair so long as you can make a profit for yourself in the transaction.
As a result of the transaction, I have one less piece of useless junk lying around my place and it didn’t go into a landfill some place to add to that problem. Hopefully, the man who bought the item will have a use for it and it will serve a purpose again. The $10 he paid me went toward the price of a night out for me and a friend, which was a nice benefit.
What concerns me about the entire transaction is that this man was willing to trade his integrity for $100 … which is about the difference between a fair price for the item and what he paid for it. I’m sure it didn’t even cross his mind that he was doing anything wrong. He picked up something he wanted at a "steal." I’ve heard many people brag about getting things at prices they considered to be very good by taking advantage of a bad situation or someone who didn’t know what they had. Isn’t that a problem? Should people brag about taking advantage of others? Have the rules changed so much that lying, cheating, stealing and taking advantage of people is not only acceptable, but somehow worthy of bragging about?
I don’t really expect any answers to my questions. I’m not surprised at the events unfolded as they did. I’m not upset that I was cheated … I should have done my homework … I’m not a victim of anyone except my own laziness in not doing my homework first. But I really believe that people need to wake up and look at how they treat family, friends, neighbors and even strangers. Maybe we could all show a little more integrity in our own actions in the future.
Chella "Lynn" Croft