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To think being honest is normal?

(40 Posts)
wisewoman Sun 19-Feb-12 07:36:36

Have just switched off BBC breakfast in disgust as they introduced a psychologist to explain the motivation of a man who handed in a Rolex watch he found to the police. Apparently this is worthy of a news item and he is considered a bit weird for being honest. Surely most decent people would hand in any item they found to the police! What kind of world do we live in? What do other gransnetters think?

Carol Sun 19-Feb-12 08:10:26

I think they are struggling to find any decent news, but I suppose on the positive side, it is nice to hear of someone doing the right thing instead of the constant doom and gloom stories we get. There was a plea for positive news a year or so ago, so perhaps that's why it's been included.

Greatnan Sun 19-Feb-12 08:15:37

I agree - but with MPs making huge unjustified claims for expenses, junior Royals or their spouses trying to sell privilege, the scandal of clerical abuse, corruption in the awarding of government contracts and local councils , bankers going unpunished, in fact rewarded, for ruining lives......can the man in the street be expected to be honest?
In fact, I think most people are - only yesteday I dropped a packet of ham on my way out of the supermarket, and a young woman ran after me to return it. Is it any different in England?

JessM Sun 19-Feb-12 08:50:15

I agree that the majority of people, if finding a wallet or item of value in the street would try to return it to its owner. If they found £10 they probably would not, unless they saw the person dropping it.
I have noticed though that most people in England seem to believe that most people are dishonest and express surprise when there is evidence to the contrary. It is the same syndrome as the "fear of crime" - people constantly over estimating crime levels.
Daily Mail has a lot to answer for...

absentgrana Sun 19-Feb-12 08:55:27

wisewoman I, too, found the the presence of the psychologist very odd. It is quite nice to hear of someone doing the right thing, given how depressing and disheartening the news so often is. A Rolex is a very expensive watch so it's possible that the chap who found it might have been tempted to keep it, but in the end chose not to. Having to have his motivation explained was bizarre.

Btw don't Rolexes all have individual numbers so the owner can be easily traced? Perhaps the young man will then be given a reward.

bikergran Sun 19-Feb-12 09:06:37

Lately I find the news on this channeld to be..some what longwinded now, they seem to spend a good 5 mins talking about tripe!,, also I am finding the news readers talking amongst themselves rather that the veiwers..(but mayeb they think the veiwers have got bored and gone off to do some shopping) lol...must admit don't really watch much's just DH seems to want to watch it morning noon n night! I mostly read what I wnat to read on the net (in between reading gransnet posts) lol....

Greatnan Sun 19-Feb-12 09:54:01

I listen to Radio 4 for the morning news, as the usual format of one man, one woman taking turns to read off the autocue on the TV news annoys me.
I especially like Today when John Humphreys is on, as he gives slippery MP's, etc. a good grilling!

Learnergran Sun 19-Feb-12 10:07:28

Bikergran, it's been really annoying me for ages now, this business of newsreaders - well, all presenters actually - nattering on to each other. As is the practice of constantly mentioning the other's name. Much of the time I feel as though I am eavesdropping on a private conversation. angry

bagitha Sun 19-Feb-12 11:17:13

Of course it is normal (as well as useful, because honesty engenders trust which is vital to a social species) for people to be honest. If it were not, we wouldn't be shocked when people are dishonest.

However, being able to tell lies has its uses as well, not all of them detrimental. We wouldn't have evolved this social 'skill' if we'd never needed it.

whatisamashedupphrase Sun 19-Feb-12 11:22:51

I think it's normal to hand it in, but hope against hope that it doesn't get claimed! shock grin

petallus Sun 19-Feb-12 11:32:38

If I was a really poor person I might be tempted to keep the Rolex on the assumption that the owner was fairly well off and anyway could claim on insurance.

Greatnan Sun 19-Feb-12 11:35:09

I found a watch in the sand on Falmouth beach and handed it to the local police. They sent it to me three months later as it had not been claimed. I got to feel good and get the watch as well. Unfortunately, it wasn't a Rolex!

bagitha Sun 19-Feb-12 12:31:28

I wouldn't want a Rolex watch even if one was given to me as a gift.

I'm finding it quite hard to imagine how someone who owned one could 'lose' it. Easy come, easy go?

harrigran Sun 19-Feb-12 12:32:03

petallus shock Claiming on the insurance might get the owner a new watch but does not make finding and keeping the watch right. Insurance money is not a magic pot, the money comes from you and I.

Elegran Sun 19-Feb-12 12:44:28

After the Rolex was found (down a drain) several other valuable watches were found in the same area, after none had ever appeared there before. Probably part of the haul from a robbery, dumped hastily..

absentgrana Sun 19-Feb-12 18:34:52

Actually, of course being honest is normal. I don't believe there is a single gransnetter who finding a Rolex watch or £500 or a diamond brooch would keep it for herself (or himself, I know we have granddads too). I don't believe that we would accept change of a £20 note knowing that we had proffered only a £10 note. I think we come from a background where "honesty is the best policy" and we stick to it because that way we sleep easy in our beds.

harrigran Sun 19-Feb-12 20:47:59

Well said absent I go out of my way to return property to its owner and if I see money on a shop floor I always pick it up and give it to an assistant.

crimson Sun 19-Feb-12 21:38:20

My son once found £70 in the street. Was claimed by one of my neighbours. Didn't even buy him an easter egg as a thank you, so I bought him one. Thought that was pretty shabby.

petallus Sun 19-Feb-12 22:45:41

Well, I did say if I were a really poor person! I'm not so I probably wouldn't keep the Rolex. But what about Robin Hood? He is supposed to be a hero yet he stole things. And if honesty is normal there are a lot of abnormal folk out there, including amongst the richest members of society, bankers, MPs etc.

crimson Sun 19-Feb-12 23:05:46

I can't say, hand on heart that I'm totally honest. If I saw someone drop their purse or money I would run after them and give it back; if I found a wallet I would hand it in to a post office or some such place; if I found a credit card I would contact the bank concerned to cancel it, but if I found money lying in the street I would keep it. A couple of times I handed money in to a nearby shop until I realised that the chance of someone losing it and going back to the shop was quite remote and that the shopkeeper probably just kept it.

em Sun 19-Feb-12 23:12:02

When teaching 11 yearolds we had this very discussion and the comment which had widest support came when one boy said he'd hand back the found £10 note
'if he thought it belonged to someone's gran or granddad' but not if he thought it belonged to a rich man. We did point out that it would be hard to tell so the majority opted to hand it back 'just in case'!

whatisamashedupphrase Mon 20-Feb-12 08:43:05

em smile.

Mind you, I hope you pointed out that honesty is as much about them as it is about the recipricants. I'm sure you did. Sounds a good lesson.

harrigran Mon 20-Feb-12 18:46:27

You do know that there it is a crime to keep property you find ? stealing by finding, punishable by deportation not so long ago.

E1saBe Tue 21-Feb-12 15:41:22

Is honesty normal or is the reverse normal? In recent weeks I've quite enjoyed watching 'Stella' on the telly, single mum, 3 kids, pregnancy (daughter), new younger boyfriend (mum), older son just out of prison, so far, so ordinary? But then Stella's brother - who until then had been quite a likeable character if a bit flaky - it transpires he is to appear in court for years of benefit fraud. And it's a matter of 'oh, presh, sorry for you, it won't be too bad, it's only a couple of grand' etc etc. So is dishonesty normal enough then to be written into the storyline of a show about an ordinary family? It left me thoroughly confused. Put me off the show, if I'm honest.

Carol Wed 22-Feb-12 08:03:41

I think honesty is normal, and dishonesty is normal, too. Honesty sometimes comes from wisdom and understanding about the consequences of not being honest, but you do see people who have found a way to be honest in spite of dishonest influences around them. Having worked with criminals for the whole of my career, I have been surprised at how 'honest' some people have regarded themselves to be in most ways, except for the offences they have committed. For examples, burglars with strong boundaries about how you should treat children, shoplifters who wouldn't touch their family's belongings but will take from large supermarkets, child abusers who would not take a penny that wasn't theirs, domestic violence perpetrators who think it's alright to knock their partner about but are extremely polite and respectful to others. It's hypocritical to say 'at least I don't fiddle with kids' when they are victimising innocent shoppers queueing in a bank when a bank raid takes place' as these offenders don't realise the devastating impact they have caused with their actions. You hear these rationisations every day in a prison.

Humans seem to be naturally drawn to creating a pecking order to try and tell themselves they are better or worse than others. It pervades everything we do and brings us comfort. When we are not honest, the dissonance between what we aspire to be and how we actually are is dissipated by us telling ourselves and others that we do good and honest deeds, as though to offset the dishonesty. Humans lie, take things that belong to others (even if it's only that tiny cutting of that coveted plant in the gardens of a stately home that I pop in my closed umbrella!!), and we cause harm to others when relationships end acrimoniously, so we tell ourselves it's better to end it now than continue in a dishonest relationship pretending to be happy. We can't help but be 'dishonest' every now and then - we often do it to minimise upset or to cope with something unpleasant.