A cousin and I were visiting a friend of hers when we noticed a large hot air balloon in the garage (the kind a business would use in advertising). The friend told us her boyfriend had stolen the balloon for the fun of it and they really had no use for it.
A few days later my cousin noticed an ad in the newspaper stating there was a $1,000 reward for the return of the hot air balloon. The ad also said there would be no questions asked. My cousin called her friend and told her that she knew the owner of the balloon and he wanted it back, no questions asked. She failed to tell her that there was a reward. We returned the balloon to the rightful owner and took the $1,000 for ourselves.
I feel very guilty. I think we should have shared the reward with my cousin's friend; my cousin says they should not be rewarded for stealing. But I feel like I'm just as guilty for being dishonest. To make matters worse, I've spent the money, so returning it is out of the question. What can I do?
-- Hot Err
Your cousin was right in saying the thieves shouldn't be rewarded for stealing. However, it was still sketchy of you to lie to the perpetrators. Come clean to your cousin's friend about the reward money even if you can't cough up any dough. Whatever happened to honor among thieves?
DEAR KARMA CLEANSER:
My boyfriend has a habit that makes me crazy: road-side scavenging. He's never passed by a broken bookshelf, bent curtain rod, rusted picture frame or other curbside castaway that he didn't immediately stop the car and toss into the trunk.
I'll admit, some of the stuff he's picked up has turned out to be useful, like the ornamental tiles I'm using in my garden. But I've started secretly trashing the items he brings home and does not find a good use for. So far he hasn't noticed a lot of these "treasures" have vanished from our storage area, but I worry that what I'm doing will eventually backfire on me. Am I just being paranoid, or am I doing us both a favor?
-- Junkman's Doubter
So you support the scavenging when it serves your own purposes, but God forbid some junk gather dust in the tool shed? What harm exactly is his habit doing to you? If the hoarding starts to get in the way of everyday life, put your foot down. Otherwise, chill.
Been bad? Get right with the universe at firstname.lastname@example.org.