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Would you take the money?

 
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If someone loses a pet, they will often post flyers around the neighborhood offering a reward for anyone who helps them recover the lost animal.

Quite often, in missing person and unsolved criminal cases, rewards are offered for information leading to the recovery of the missing person and/or the arrest of the criminals involved. The reward in the tragic Groene case is at least $100,000 for instance.

So here's my question: If a reward is being offered to help someone recover lost property, a lost pet, a missing person, or to help solve a crime, and you are the one that is able to help, do you take the money? If you find the lost cat and see that she gets back to the owners and they offer you a reward, do you take it? If you're the person working in Denny's who recognizes Shasta Groene and calls the police, saving her from any more harm from that monster, when the FBI says that you are entitled to the $100,000 reward, do you accept?

I've got my own opinion on the subject, but I figured it would be interesting to see what others thought first.
 
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From an ordinary person, no.

From a government or organisation, sure, why not. Being rewarded doesn't detract from the fact you have done a good thing. The reward is a bonus and I would accept it with a clear conscience.

I once stopped a robbery at a computer game shop. I got back about �300 worth of computer games for the owner. He gave me a �150 Playstation as a reward. Everyone is a winner, except the bad guy.
 
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From an ordinary person, no (except for a cup of coffee or a can of beer, may be)

From a government or organization or from someone like a Hollywood Celebrity, sure, why not?

I think it all boils down to the amount you receive and the ability of the person offering the reward.

If a Hollywood star who is making millions of dollars, is ready to pay few thousand dollars for his/her lost cat, I don't think I will say no.

 
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why not?
I might make an exception if the person offering the reward is obviously worse off financially than I am (thus has more need of the money) but otherwise I take what I can get if it's freely offered.
I've long since learned to not alert store clerks about goods that are priced too low (while of course always noting when something is overpriced).

Everyone's out to get you, so return the favour.
 
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As others have said, from an ordinary person, no.

But from a government entity, yes. In fact, in the US the government will make it hard for you to refuse a government reward. I think the only way you can truely refuse all of it is to donate it to a charitable organization. Otherwise I belive you can still be taxed for the full amount of the reward even if you refuse it.

Two reasons this may be the case:
1) If people begin refusing rewards, it breaks the reinforcement ability of future rewards (i.e. accepting a reward could become a social faux pas, so people are less inclined to act)
2) Government rewards are worked into a fiscal year budget. If the money for the reward was approprated from an earlier fiscal year, it cannot be used for anything else. Refusing the reward would be effectively wasting the money.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Paul Bourdeaux:
In fact, in the US the government will make it hard for you to refuse a government reward. I think the only way you can truely refuse all of it is to donate it to a charitable organization. Otherwise I belive you can still be taxed for the full amount of the reward even if you refuse it.



I'd be interested in seeing anything you can find to support this, because quite honestly I would find this a bit tough to swallow.
 
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Definitely will take the reward let it be from the government or rich or poor.
The offer of the reward has turned the tables as its now like any other job, contract or business transaction. The introduction of the reward means that the person offering it has thought over it. I sure would not mind having the reward as long as the services provided were not unlawful.
 
Jason Menard
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Personally, I do not accept the money under any circumstances, whether its source is the government, an individual, a group, or some business. I would find it hard to live with myself if I could take money, which I would see as blood money, for doing something like alerting the police to the whereabouts of a kidnapped child if I stumbled on her, even more so given the horrific circumstances of something like the Groene case. Similarly, being a pet owner, I could not accept a reward for finding someone's pet and returning it to them. I know people's pets can mean almost as much to them as members of their family, particularly for kids, and I just can't see accepting a reward for that.

For me it comes down to doing the right thing and being a moral person. If I took money for doing the right thing, then in my mind people would be right to question my motivations. I feel I'm a moral person and that I don't require money to be motivated to help people and to do the right thing, so for me doing so would cause inner conflict. I would like to think that even if I was financially struggling and the reward were quite large that I would turn it down. If I would take a certain course of action if a reward were not offered, then I can't justify to myself taking the reward when I would have done the same thing anyway. This isn't to judge people who would, only to say what I feel is right for me.
 
Aj Mathia
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Jason,
What you said makes perfect sense.
It reflects the good side of human nature.
What I can add is with the same principle of not accepting the reward because the deed you have done is something you would have done in any case reward or no reward come another view.
The reward is the bonus or the way of showing a sense of appreciation. Refusing can be viewed as an insult to the whole cause of the reward offer.
To justify it I can give a stupid example.
�God� rewards you with heaven for your good deeds. Would it make sense to refuse heaven because you would have done good deed no matter what.
Would it be right if you get a bonus for saving a project or a dying company and you refuse it?
 
Aj Mathia
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I missed to address the blood money part of your post.
If you save a person and he gives you a hug or a kiss would you not accept it?
If the person offers money its another form of expression.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Ajay Mathew:
The reward is the bonus or the way of showing a sense of appreciation. Refusing can be viewed as an insult to the whole cause of the reward offer.



But the purpose of rewards isn't as a bonus. The purpose of these rewards is as an enticement for people to offer up information who otherwise might not unless a reward were involved.

As for your two examples, as I see it, it comes down to expectations and motivations.

�God� rewards you with heaven for your good deeds. Would it make sense to refuse heaven because you would have done good deed no matter what.

No, because I expect to be rewarded with entrance into heaven if I live my life a certain way. While I might live my life as a moral person regardless, there might be a couple things I do differently because my religion tells me I should if I want to get into heaven, and therefore the reward motivates these actions.

Would it be right if you get a bonus for saving a project or a dying company and you refuse it?

Yes, because it's my job and my basic motivation is money. The bonus situation is an expectation that is fostered by the company and might very well serve as a motivating factor.
 
Rick Beaver
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Originally posted by Ajay Mathew:
I missed to address the blood money part of your post.
If you save a person and he gives you a hug or a kiss would you not accept it?
If the person offers money its another form of expression.



Spot on - exactly what I think.

If you would have done it anyway then your conscience is clear. Why not be rewarded for doing something good? It is the rewarders way of saying thanks.
 
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For a lost pet, I would never ever take the reward. But if I was the one who lost the pet, i would definitely offer a reward and gladly pay it if someone found it and wanted the reward, and not thing badly of the person.

For crime, and I wouldn't be publicly identified, I would take the money.

For a lost person, probably not.

Mark
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Mark Spritzler:
For a lost pet, I would never ever take the reward. But if I was the one who lost the pet, i would definitely offer a reward and gladly pay it if someone found it and wanted the reward, and not thing badly of the person.



I would also offer a reward.

For crime, and I wouldn't be publicly identified, I would take the money.

Does it depend on the crime?
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Ajay Mathew:
I missed to address the blood money part of your post.
If you save a person and he gives you a hug or a kiss would you not accept it?



I can speak to this one personally. I would accept these as tokens of their gratitude, but such gestures are not expected. "Thanks" is nice and it's appreciated when it happens, but even that's not expected.

If the person offers money its another form of expression.

Maybe, but it's a form of expression that I would not accept, telling them that "thanks" is enough. I draw a line between personal expressions of gratitude, such as saying "thank you", and other forms of rewards such as money.

Remember that the purpose of these rewards is almost always to entice people to follow a course of action that they might not otherwise follow.
 
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Sure I would take the money, it is even ok to take the money and be noble gentleman. They set the price, I accept it, a business agreement.
 
Jeroen Wenting
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:

Would it be right if you get a bonus for saving a project or a dying company and you refuse it?

Yes, because it's my job and my basic motivation is money. The bonus situation is an expectation that is fostered by the company and might very well serve as a motivating factor.



but if it's your job you shouldn't need a reward to do it as it's what you would do anyway and therefore there should be no reward offered in the first place right?
You should have been motivated enough to prevent the situation from happening in the first place and therefore should maybe even be penalised instead of rewarded.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
but if it's your job you shouldn't need a reward to do it as it's what you would do anyway and therefore there should be no reward offered in the first place right?



If no bonus if offered and none are given, I'm not going to cry about it. That's what I make a paycheck for. Call me crazy though, but I draw a distinction between helping my company earn money (and maybe being awarded with a share of the profits), and the kinds of situations I've mentioned in previous posts.
 
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Maybe a compromise is to accept the money, but agree with the person giving it that it will go to charity. Perhaps in the case of a lost pet, the money could go to a relevant charity like one which looks after stray animals.
 
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I would accept the money because I don't care what other people think. If I have done the right thing and have done it for the right motivation then I really don't care if someone questions my motivation.

If I took money for doing the right thing, then in my mind people would be right to question my motivations.

This is hogwash to me. Question my motivations all you want. I know that I did the right thing for the right reason PLUS I got a reward that was unexpected. If that woman at the diner accepts the reward, I won't for a second think that she did what she did for money. Do you think she did it for money?
 
Paul Bourdeaux
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I'd be interested in seeing anything you can find to support this, because quite honestly I would find this a bit tough to swallow

Well, that's what I get for making a belief sound like fact (Man, I really have to start typing my responses in slower, even in the Meaningless Drivel forum) . I should have been clearer in explaining that this was my belief based on a specific instance rather than an assertion based on supporting evidence.

I was involved in an incident where a CrimeStoppers reward was awarded to an individual based on a tip they gave. The individual who made the tip initially accepted the reward but later retracted because of public pressure. He was encouraged to accept the reward for the reasons I listed above.

I guess I always generalized my personal experience (possibly erroneously) with a specific community body to the government in general. I honestly wouldn't even know where to begin researching this through the various government entities that offer rewards, and I don't have the time to peruse the tax codes relating to rewards...

So instead of wasting time trying to defend what is ultimately a rather inconsequential statement, I will simply accept the fact that I may have been wrong and not really worry about it. Sorry for any bit of swallowing difficulty hat may have caused you.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Do you think she did it for money?



No, but at the same time I would have to wonder how she could accept the money, which would basically be profitting from the blood of others. I don't think I could allow myself to profit from such terrible circumstances, particularly when my part in it was only to do what I would expect any decent person to do. Now I allow for the fact that not all people view it this way, that's just how I would feel about it. As I said, I have always thought the purpose behind these types of rewards was to serve as a motivator for people to do the right thing.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
As I said, I have always thought the purpose behind these types of rewards was to serve as a motivator for people to do the right thing.



I always thought the purpose of the reward was to bring attention to something.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Paul Bourdeaux:
I was involved in an incident where a CrimeStoppers reward was awarded to an individual based on a tip they gave. The individual who made the tip initially accepted the reward but later retracted because of public pressure.



So people were basically telling him that they didn't think it was right to take money for something he should have felt obligated to do anyway?
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
I always thought the purpose of the reward was to bring attention to something.



That's what the posters and/or media coverage are for.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:


So people were basically telling him that they didn't think it was right to take money for something he should have felt obligated to do anyway?



In other words, people were butting in on something that was none of their business. People are busybodies, aren't they?
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
In other words, people were butting in on something that was none of their business. People are busybodies, aren't they?



You'll have to ask Paul. It's his story.
 
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:

That's what the posters and/or media coverage are for.


In some cases, the reward itself can be what turns a poster into media coverage. If I were posting a reward to help find my missing daughter, I wouldn't hesitate to think of it as nothing more than advertising. I can't expect John Q. Public to feel my pain, and I can't think of too many ways at my disposal to get his attention. Money seems to bridge that gap.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:

In some cases, the reward itself can be what turns a poster into media coverage. If I were posting a reward to help find my missing daughter, I wouldn't hesitate to think of it as nothing more than advertising. I can't expect John Q. Public to feel my pain, and I can't think of too many ways at my disposal to get his attention. Money seems to bridge that gap.



Understood. I wouldn't hesitate to offer a reward were I in a similar situation, and I'd gladly pay it if it would help. But it's sad if it takes money to get people's attentions or to motivate them to take the correct course of action.

Since I personally can't get past the idea that accepting a reward in such circumstances is profitting from someone's misfortune and/or being rewarded for doing something that I feel people should go out of their way to do anyway, I was just posing this question to see how others viewed it. Quite honestly I was expecting a bit more of a mix in the types of responses.
 
Michael Ernest
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I think the best way to approach it is to apply paying it forward as opposed to paying it back. I doubt I'd take money for doing what I consider my civic duty, but the test I know I'd apply is how best to put the money in question to use.

Let's say I found someone's child on a trail, and they had a reward posted, like $10,000.00. Seems to me the best way to apply that kind of money is toward some fund for financing a future search for a child. There are very real logistics to such an operation: feeding people, transportation, etc. Wouldn't it be nice to think that a family that didn't have the means could count on some money to help them when they needed it?

I don't discount the idea of considering myself as the best possible use for reward money. I reallllly doubt it, but I'm not the kind of person to consider that situation as unthinkable. If I was on hard times, say, and saw in a $10,000 reward a chance to make some part of my life right...And maybe not. Maybe the person offering it seems genuinely hurt by a polite refusal. I suppose it depends for me.

But if my idea of paying something forward takes shape according to the situation, it relies on my judgment. I've had more regrets and mistakes to my name for thinking of my own judgment as an absolute moral compass, so naturally I'm reluctant to think I would always act one way about such a thing.
[ July 08, 2005: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]
 
Paul Bourdeaux
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:


In other words, people were butting in on something that was none of their business. People are busybodies, aren't they?

yes they are. It actually bothered me (which is why it came to mind) because the individual who turned in the tip had nothing to to with the crime other than hearing about it after the fact from a friend that was involved. He then did the right thing and turned his friend in. When the public found out who the tipster was (It was supposed to be anonymous, but the press sometimes forgets that) there was a lot of pressure for him not to accept the reward because he was acquainted with someone involved.
 
Paul Bourdeaux
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... I personally can't get past the idea that accepting a reward in such circumstances is profitting from someone's misfortune and/or being rewarded for doing something that I feel people should go out of their way to do anyway...

I do understand your viewpoint, and I admire your conviction to not accept reqards. However, it is hard for me to consider accepting a reward as profitting from someone's misfortune. Rather I feel it is "profitting" from the resolution, or at least partial resolution, of someone's misfortune. It isn't the act of loss you are being rewarded for, but the act of finding.

Just curious, what is your view on life insurance? I have a rather substantial life insurance policy that would take care of my wife and children for many years in the event I meet my untimely end. Would you consider that to be profitting from misfortune?
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
Understood. I wouldn't hesitate to offer a reward were I in a similar situation, and I'd gladly pay it if it would help. But it's sad if it takes money to get people's attentions or to motivate them to take the correct course of action.

In most cases it doesn't. As you admitted, the woman at the diner probably did not think even once about the reward. There may be some cases where someone might turn in a friend because of the reward where they might not otherwise. One of the cable channels had a true crime show about a woman who turned in her own mother on a murder charge for the reward. But in most cases, people are not motivated by the reward but the reward may serve to get publicity.
 
Michael Ernest
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Originally posted by Paul Bourdeaux:

Just curious, what is your view on life insurance? I have a rather substantial life insurance policy that would take care of my wife and children for many years in the event I meet my untimely end. Would you consider that to be profitting from misfortune?


Can anyone answer this? For me: absolutely not. Life insurance establishes a monetary value to protect against the loss of a provider's income or assets. Granted, there are instruments and loopholes in insurance mechanics that dance around the intent, but the purpose is sound: you're placing a shrewd bet against a catastrophe that would put your financial dependents (or position) in a bad way if it came about.

Strictly speaking, that's not profit, but compensation.
 
Mark Spritzler
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Actually it wouldn't depend on the crime. Anyone willing to commit crime probably has a revenge mechanism that I wouldn't want to be involved with. That is why I would need to stay unidentified.

Mark
 
Aj Mathia
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Jason
A quick reversal
You mentioned you are ok with giving a reward if you get in this kind of situation.
Is that not against your principles?
If someone rescues your whatever and takes the ransom does that not make him a person without principles
Someone you encouraged to go against what you thought was right?
 
Jason Menard
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PB: Just curious, what is your view on life insurance?

ME stated a view similar enough to mine.

AM: You mentioned you are ok with giving a reward if you get in this kind of situation. Is that not against your principles?

No. Giving a reward isn't against my principles since I know that it may serve as motivation to some people. My principles are such that I don't believe people should need to be given money in order to do the right thing, but I know that is not the reality.

AM: If someone rescues your whatever and takes the ransom does that not make him a person without principles

Maybe, maybe not.

AM: Someone you encouraged to go against what you thought was right?

I'm not the keeper of another person's morals. People make their own decisions. The money isn't offered as encouragement to go against what I think may be right. The money is offered to hopefully bring about a resolution to what could be for me a very devastating experience. There's a time and a place for principles.
 
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Yeah, why not? Fucking K-Mart cheated me one time. I turned in my college roomate. He stole a TV from them. They said it was in our combined room and I could not prove he stole it. Prosecutor, I, got him to plea to three other felonies. But K-Mart had a big sign $100 for information leading to arrest and conviction of anybody ....

It all happened in two months. The dean cancelled my double secret probation. I was put in the penalty box for doing right thing.

THIS WORLD.
 
Jeroen Wenting
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Sounds familiar. Friend of mine once almost got everything he owned confiscated because his landlord was years behind paying his taxes.
Collection agency came by HIS apartment because the landlord had given that as his residence, they wouldn't budge until they found out where the guy really was located and found enough goodies there to make the trip worthwhile.
 
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