WWYD: The Australian Tourists

Today in “WWYD,” sometimes the best answer is the obvious one:

I work for a small non-profit organization in the Midwest in a big old house that a famous (no longer alive) author used to live in. We open the house for a few hours daily so people can take free self-guided tours, and I usually end up chatting with people when they come in. A few days ago, a family of Australian tourists came in who were big fans of the author, so I ended up talking to them for about a half hour about books and travel.

Today, I was walking through the house and saw a small blue pouch sticking out from under the piano. It had some standard purse-stuff like lotion and lip balm, a few receipts from an Australian grocery store, and $86 cash. I know this belongs to that nice family, but there’s no ID in the pouch, not even a name on a credit card receipt. I never got their names or where they were staying, and if I remember our conversation correctly, they have probably already left the country to go home.

My boss said to put the $86 in petty cash if we don’t hear from them in a week or so, and treat it like a donation to the organization. That’s probably the best way to handle this, right? — E.

If I were in your shoes, I’d pack a bag and immediately fly to Australia in search of the nice family so I could return their pouch to them. The whole thing would turn into an adventure involving wombats and kangaroos, and months later, after the family is located, I’d write about the experience for a magazine.

No, seriously though, your boss’s suggestion sounds right. Send me more info about his big old house that a famous author used to live in, because I’d like to come to visit.

And here’s a question similar to one we already have in the vault:

About a month ago I went online and bought a set of lamps from a discount/close-out website. The two lamps were $229, with free shipping! I was super excited when they arrived because I was looking for lamps for a long time and these were a great deal.

Sadly, when I opened them up, one of the shades was broken. It’s not really noticeable, and I was weighing the hassle of sending them back versus just eventually buying new shades because the lamps themselves were so inexpensive. They were also final sale.

Then about a week later, a second set of lamps showed up! I wasn’t home at the time and UPS just left them in my doorway, with no signature. My credit card hasn’t been charged and it doesn’t show up when I look at my account.

So now I have four lamps and don’t know what to do! I feel like I have four options: Try and send the extra set back; Try and sell the extra set on Craigslist; Switch out the shade on the new set and then sell them or switch out the shade and send them back. — M.

As I mentioned to the previous letter writer, the most obvious answer to me is to call up the discount/close-out website and explain the situation to them. I’d explain that I received an extra set of lamps, one of which has a damaged shade, and that I’d like to keep the undamaged set and would be happy to return the damaged set to them if they could email or mail me a return label. The discount website may just tell you to keep the lamps, and you could then do whatever you want with them.


Email me your WWYD experiences to me with “WWYD” in the subject line. See previous installments. Photo: Will Hart




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