We have a moral dilemma. My husband and I recently moved to a new home and bought some of the furniture from the previous owner before she moved out. The furniture is beautiful and antique. Here’s where it gets sticky. While disassembling and moving one of the pieces of the wardrobe, an envelope dropped out. It had been hidden between the middle of the wardrobe and the decorative top cover. Inside was $11,000 in $100 bills! The envelope is dated 1985, before the date the prior owner lived in the home. But who knows when the wardrobe was purchased and when the money was placed there. Could it have been getaway money? Money for a rainy day? Most importantly, what is our obligation? Do we ask the prior owner about it? Do we keep it? My husband says it comes with the property, “we bought the good with the bad.” I’m not so sure.
Wow! What a story, what a find! It sounds like the beginning of a spy novel. Maybe if you take apart the sofa, you’ll find fake passports and big stacks of foreign currencies!
One thing you leave out of the story – because it sounds like you don’t know – is whether the last resident of the house owned the wardrobe, or whether s/he/they might have also bought it from the previous owner. Ethically speaking (and because I am a very guilt-ridden person), I think the right thing to do is to try to find the person who owned the wardrobe in 1985 and ask them if they are missing a large sum of money. This requires making the giant leap of faith that they’ll be honest. Or, a little more deviously, you could ask them if they lost, say, a thousand dollars and see how that goes over. If you have given it your best shot and you still can’t find the owner, I say hello, Tahiti! Or student loan, car payment, rent, mortgage or, if you are procuring for the military, one hammer. If you are lucky enough not to need the cash, a donation to your favorite charity or non-profit would also be a lovely nod to the whole karmic, pay-it-forward thing. In the meantime, I’d start on that spy novel. I can see it now…. “As he stumbled out of Biddy Mulligans at closing time, the only thing darker than Jake Granite’s five o’clock shadow was his mood….”
P.S. Seriously, ever heard of NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month – a great organization that dares you to write an entire novel in one month, November. Don’t panic! The emphasis is on quantity, not quality. Google it, then go for it!
Is it okay to eat during a Zoom meeting? If so, can you eat during the entire meeting? If not, how many minutes should one limit their eating to – 5? 10? 15? Is it okay to eat an actual meal or does it have to be limited to snacks? Or should one NEVER eat during a Zoom meeting? On another point, is it okay to drink alcohol during a Zoom meeting if you disguise it in a coffee cup?
Eating during a Zoom meeting, kinda gross. Drinking alcohol disguised in a coffee cup, ingenious!
In the age of email, texting, Twitter and Instagram, the idea of sitting down and writing old school thank-you notes that take days to arrive seems archaic and outmoded, regardless of what Miss Manners, Emily Post, or Amy Vanderbilt says. Don’t you agree?
Sorry to say, I’m with Amy, Emily and Miss on this one! Thank-you notes are one of life’s little gestures that reap enormous benefits in terms of goodwill, grace, and gratitude. Also, it is just the right thing to do. And, I might add, thank-you notes should be written not only for wedding and birthday gifts but also for job interviews, great acts of friendship, support or loyalty, and generally to anyone who goes above and beyond on our behalf. I made all my children write them from the time they could scrawl out their ABCs. Call me old fashioned, but now I call all my children employed.
Dear Gabby appears in the RoundTable every Monday. Yes, Gabby is an advice columnist – but not just any advice columnist. Because that would be boring! Gabby combines wisdom with wit. And a pinch of snark. She is not a trained therapist by any means, but has seen and loved many in her day. Her aim is to make you think while she makes you laugh. Gabby welcomes all questions and queries and is only too happy to hear your opinion, no matter how much it may diverge from hers. Write to Gabby at email@example.com.