Moral Question about Payment?

Celebrity Monologues

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Flack
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Moral Question about Payment?

Post by Flack » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:30 am

Five years ago, I did some minor computer work for an ex-coworker. It involved tracking down and creating some recovery floppy disks for an old and non-supported computer. Without the disks, the computer was unusable. The disks were no longer available from the company, but I was able to track down a copy from an old vendor and convert the old images into workable floppies. It wasn't hard work per se, but it involved jumping through a lot of hoops and probably took me two weeks of messing around to get it to work. It was such a pain that I made the coworker five copies of the disks and told her to put the other four in a safe place in case she ever needed to use them again.

About a year ago, the same ex-coworker contacted me again. She lost all the disks, and needed the same thing done again. It had been so long that I didn't remember anything about the process. This time it took even more legwork, due to the fact that the old website that used to host images of the floppy had since gone offline. I was able to contact a guy who used to do tech support on these old systems and obtain another disk image. The big problem I encountered was that the software required to make the disk images does not work with a USB floppy drive, so I had to find a computer that had a vintage 3.5" drive. I made more copies of the disk and informed the co-worker that it was unlikely I would be able to perform this task again in the future.

Yesterday, out of the blue, I received a letter in the mail. It was a thank you card from the ex-coworker, along with $300 cash tucked inside. The hand-written note mentioned that she had been waiting for "a good month" to pay me (I'm assuming that means she just got her tax returns).

I'm on the fence as to what to do here. I appreciate the sentiment, but I'm positive she could use $300 more than me. I offered to do the work for free and did not expect any payment. I would say that this ex-coworker is particularly emotional and occasionally fragile, and returning the money might seem offensive to her. Still, I don't feel right about keeping the money. Maybe what I did took some technical know how and some old school trickery, but I enjoyed the challenge, and it wasn't difficult once I tracked down all the necessary parts.

Ideas?
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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The Happiness Engine
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Re: Moral Question about Payment?

Post by The Happiness Engine » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:32 am

Try to talk them down to something 'reasonable' like $50 or $100. Keep the money, use it to invite ex-coworker and maybe some mutual friends to a fancy dinner you're hosting based on some pretense that lets you pay for it.

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Billy Mays
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Re: Moral Question about Payment?

Post by Billy Mays » Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:15 pm

Kick in another $100 and mail her $400 back. It'll make you feel good about helping somebody in need and the extra hundred should confuse her long enough to get over whatever sort of emotional hangups she may have over the whole situation.

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AArdvark
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Re: Moral Question about Payment?

Post by AArdvark » Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:19 pm

Just pay it forward. Use the money to buy stuff for other people. Five years? Man that must have been bugging her something awful.

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Ice Cream Jonsey
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Re: Moral Question about Payment?

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:11 pm

Goddamn, you won the "be a hero" lottery. That is AMAZING. And what a nice person for remembering. 99.99% of all people asking someone to go through hoops like that would forget it forever.

Maybe the $400 can go to duplicating the disks a third time? You can send them to me as your meat-based backup service. Goddamn you're a good person Flack.
the dark and gritty...Ice Cream Jonsey!

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Flack
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Re: Moral Question about Payment?

Post by Flack » Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:15 pm

My sister-in-law's dog passed away this morning so I'm covering all the costs for that. Easy come, easy go. (The money, not the dog.)
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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