The moral high ground?

Had an interesting situation work the other day. When you work in retail, it always seems to start with customers, so that’s where I’ll start…

Customer comes in store, wants to connect his phone to his laptop to use it as a modem – and there’s only one catch – it’s some Samsung piece of technology. It’s certainly no iPhone – clunky, menus are horrible, but it seems to work just fine.

Now, bear in mind this isn’t the first time he’s come in asking for the same thing. The last time he came in store, I’m pretty sure he was running 10.4 Tiger, and there was a little more hackery required to get it going. Of course, being the genius that I am, I did manage to get it working that time – but not without some serious Google-fu on my part…

Anyway, he comes in, and wants the exact same thing done again. Evidently, he must have had a hard drive failure somewhere between the last time he left the store and right now, else he wouldn’t be asking for my help (nor would he be running 10.5 Leopard).

For those of you who don’t keep up-to-date with the intricasies of the OSX operating system, 10.5 introduced generic modem connection scripts for many different types of dialup/3G/UMTS/HSDPA modems, including mobile-as-modem ones. This affected me in two ways: one, it made it (theoretically) easier to connect to networks using bluetooth dial-up networking, and two, it negated the use of third party generic modem scripts to connect. You’d think that these two facts would make for an easier connection, but you would be oh-so-wrong… So wrong indeed…

After spending roughly twenty minutes struggling with the default Samsung script, some generic ones, and even some third party ones, I was about to become an angry little man. Seen the hulk? Yeah, imagine BENNY SMASH and you’re pretty much spot on. By this time, I was pretty sure I had tried every different configuration under the sun – I was ready to give up. Hey, I even almost tweeted about it! 😉

As it turns out, a walk outside to acquire some lunch was the best move possible – getting some fresh air enabled me to take a new approach to it, and after stumbling across a config I hadn’t tried – success! Great success, in fact – using the default Samsung profile worked, but only because I was filling in all the fields in the right way…

Anyway, the customer came back in, and was happy that their computer now worked as they wanted it to. I should probably tell you at this point in time that last time I “fixed” (read: mucked about with some settings until things worked as I wanted them to) this particular customer’s computer, they slipped me an unspecified amount of cash and told me to be on my merry way.

This time, they walk in, I tell them that their computer now works like they want it to, and they try and slip me the same unspecified amount of cash for a job well done, saying “same amount as last time, then?” I’ll admit at this point while I did accept the cash the first time – I felt partially bad for doing so, but at the time I felt it was justified as I did spend quite a bit of time trying to get it to work. However, it did feel good getting paid (and paid well, I might add) for “services rendered”.

This time, they walk in, I tell them that their computer now works like they want it to, and they try and slip me the same unspecified amount of cash for a job well done. At this point, I have a couple of choices; one, I can take the money. The only issue with this is that I’ll feel doubly guilty for taking their hard-earned twice for something that should have only taken a few minutes anyway, and that it’d be damn unmoral to take something that I didn’t really deserve.

Two, I can refuse the money. Seen as the “moral high ground” option, it doesn’t give me any monetary gain (not immediately, anyway), but it does earn me brownie points with the big man upstairs (or so I like to think :D).

I have this weird moment where I’m immediately tempted by an unspecified amount of cash, where I have to make a conscious effort to stop myself reaching out and taking it – it’d be oh-so-easy to do so, not to mention oh-so-satisfying.

Thinking about it for another split second yeilds the second of the two options above – I’m probably better off not taking it. I haven’t really earned it, after all.

I guess there’s no real moral of the story to this particular tale – just that there are such things as morals, and in the end, all that matters is what decision you choose to make.

I’m still not quite sure I made the right decision the first time, but I was damn sure I wasn’t going to make the same misjudgement a second time.