The Case of the Broken Hubcap

How to breed an honest society.

Comments (20)

(20) Scott, December 31, 2010 12:06 AM

I just bought hubcaps from Walmart & if they break on me, i will return them & i will be honest & tell them that!! That's being honest also. Walmart makes so much money & if a hub cap or two breaks why shouldn't i return them? Why give them my money & have a useless product? If one does happen to break i will be honest & hope they honor the return. I do agree with you for the most part though.

(19) Joey, August 25, 2009 7:35 PM

Very True

It does stun me sometimes how rampant dishonesty can be. Kudos on doing the right thing, thanks for the video and God bless!

(18) Anonymous, August 8, 2009 9:35 PM


Dear Rabi Salomon, many thanks for your video blog. Though I am not Jewish I like to watch your videos and they always remind me of the things, that are really important in life. After watching one of your Videos, I have certainly something to think about. Thanks and Toda!

(17) Cufflink, August 7, 2009 7:36 PM

The shortest route between 2 points is a straight line

You got this one right on the old noggin! While many, if not most, think it perfectly acceptable to be living with some relative degree of dishonesty, we all absolutely want to make it okay into heaven without having to zig zag through that hotter alternative. As my math teacher always taught us, "the shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line."

(16) Carol, August 6, 2009 12:06 AM

You thoughts are right,

thanks for sharing, you are on the right path.

(15) Nancy, August 5, 2009 3:45 PM

Thank you

When my son was about seven years old, I took him shopping. He was in the grocery cart as I checked out. When we got to the parking lot, he showed me the pack of gum he had taken from the display. I told him that was wrong and we took it right back in. To this day, I don't tell anyone this story for fear of being told I was too harsh. Thank you for telling me that I was right.

(14) Grace Fishenfeld, August 5, 2009 1:52 PM


No grey areas. Cheating is wrong. If you have the time, you may consider giving Walmart the opportunity to help you after explaining the truth about your installation. That way, you are still a mench and they may be interested in extending service. You must be prepared to get a turn down. Habits are formed when we see large corporations doing damage to our society . People are upset when they read about the huge salaries and bonuses given to the higher echelon of corporations while they file for bankruptcy. Huge amounts of money are gifted to higher ups in the insurance industry while they cut benefits to their clients. The profit motive at the expense of the little guy is too often the practice. Rabbi Solomon, I agree with your reaction to dishonesty. You feel that it stems from the little things we do. I think it comes from the acceptance of unbalanced business practices way on top..Our economic system gives worthy , intelligent folks the opportunity to compete and do well in the marketplace but somehow faulty practices creep in and filters down to hurt us. When pleasing the stockholder transcends service to the intended, adjustments should be made.

(13) Barak F, August 4, 2009 4:22 PM

Honesty IS the BEST Policy :)

Thank you Rabbi Salomon for a story we can all relate to and reminding us of the basics, one of the the foundations of a good life. Honesty, like Integrity has taken a beating as of late. We believe the norms for living have changed, we accept these new norms and follow suit, contributing to a societal downward spiral and reducing our force for good in this world. Thank you for speaking up and out. Something to think about indeed...

(12) Jac, August 4, 2009 3:48 PM

What about the quality..

Sounds like the hubcaps you bought are the usual China made for Walmart low quality.. Do you think Walmart doesnt know about this quality issue..consider your time and traveling, now returning or buying again of the same junk.. I was raised with a different jewish perspective : "buy good or dont buy"

(11) Anonymous, August 4, 2009 3:11 PM

i agree 100% but

i would go back to a store if i owed them a penny. Honesty is absolutely important. But if the hub cap cracked, they were DEFECTIVE and under these circumstances they can be exchanged.

(10) Linda Hoffman, August 4, 2009 2:39 PM

I am a retailer

I have been in retail for 17 years. The business started with a very liberal return policy. When customers pushed the "envelope" further, the return policy was amended, clarified, restricted - all in the interests of eliminating those little "lies" and creating a system that employees could work with. Big Box stores can have a "return anything" policy. The small neighborhood store is beholden to do the right thing and hopes that the customer is similarly beholden.

(9) ruth housman, August 4, 2009 1:40 PM

action and reaction

It's not a good idea to cheat in general but I would say we all fall down in this department once in a while. For example, a store makes a big mistake and charges way less for an item than they should. Do people go back? Or do they rationalize thinking, well, it's a big place, it's my luck for today or even, God was on my side here in making this truly affordable. I bet we all do this. I honestly wouldn't return a broken hub cap representing this as coming in a box in which one one was already damaged. That is truly lying. The other day I was looking at a new product for hair in the pharmacy and it looked appealing but it was very expensive. So I mentioned this to the girl at the desk and she said, if it doesn't do the job, you can return it and we will happily refund the money. I said, but everyone's hair is different. So that seems overly generous and I wouldn't do that. LL Bean has a very generous policy, meaning there are stories of people returning items after years of wear, truly! This too seems to be pushing a system of generosity too too far, and yet it happens. Perhaps we have a long way to go and you are right. I think we are definitely being presented in life, day after day, with myriad ethical dilemmas to solve and that what the mandate for all of us is: think about it. Agonize about it. Ethical issues are often in the grey area and we are required to us our "grey" matter.

(8) Shraga, August 4, 2009 11:11 AM

beautiful !

A master story-teller, and a profound message for us all.

(7) SusanE, August 4, 2009 12:34 AM

I Think the Mechanics were Razzing You.

I agree Rabbi, that the things we do in our daily lives tells the world what kind of person we are. And our actions contribute to the goodness of the world in general , and to peoples opinions about us. Your mechanics now know your character. About your hubcaps, You said you hit the last one a bang too hard and it broke. It happens. What did you actually do then about replacing the hubcaps? The mechanics make their living selling parts, installing parts and repairing parts. You asked where you could get a cheap hubcap. You didn't want to pay much so they sent you to Wal-Mart. How much did you have to pay the garage for using their facility for putting on the hubcaps yourself? Most times something cheap ends up costing more in the long run. If these mechanics were actually telling you to lie and be dishonest, then they probably are no longer your mechanics? I think they were telling you to take them back to Wal-Mart and say they were broken, to see if you actually would do it because people do notice our character daily.. Rabbi I think they were putting you on, to see how honest you are. .

(6) Anonymous, August 3, 2009 4:04 AM

I agree 100%

There have been many occasions where my mother forgot to pay for an item and realized it after we were already home and traveled long distances to go back and pay for it. For example ; on one occasion we realized that we had let the thrift store (a wopping hour and a half from home!) with an inexpensive pair of toddlers shoes under my little brothers stroller. Totally forgot they were in there. But the next time we were in the area, she made sure she went in and payed for those shoes. And you know, as her daughter I saw how that one little thing, made her feel so good and hopefully I will remember that and reflect on that before I try to justify telling any lies, big or small.

(5) e. m. Lefrak, August 3, 2009 2:16 AM

avoiding chilul HaShem

We must remember - honesty and kidush HaShem. Very important. Affects us and all other Jews. Many years ago, on a trip w/ cousins, one of the kids (about two years old) took a toy from the "general store" without paying for it. I got a slightly strange look when I walked back in with the toy, but I knew that it was the right thing to do. I've no idea if the child remembers this story (it's about eight years later), but that's not important. Yes, it's the "small" stuff - but it all adds up.

(4) Silky, August 2, 2009 7:04 PM

be flexable on your dime

I loved what Rabbi Salomon said and I so agree. It's a "trickle up" theory. As for telling companies to be flexable, if you don't like their policy, don't shop there but you can't be rightous by saying that someone else should bend. I understand the $5 minimum. The store pays the credit card company per transaction. If the transaction is very low, the store owner loses momey.

(3) lisa, August 2, 2009 2:34 PM

Honesty usually works!!

You are so right......but you could have still taken back the hubcaps & said honestly, this one broke. They should make good on it!! I have taken back lots of things that didn't work as they promised....always with a receipt & a smile. You do get more bees with honey!!! Kids do learn by example & not so much by our repeated words!! Are we ever going to learn that we need to live as an example to others??

(2) Yossi, August 2, 2009 1:56 PM

Very Nice

This is very true. Though think if you go back to Walmart an explain what you did they may give you a new one

(1) Rosen, August 2, 2009 1:50 PM

but why sweat the small stuff?

While it's important to be honest, it all depends on how complicit people are. In terms of customer service, the attitudes thereof can either make or break one's day. I have experience disingenuous customer service where certain stores and restaurants require a $5 min. purchase. This minimum is in fact a violation from the contract these stores sign from the credit card companies. So, it's frustrating when one doesn't have any cash and uses a credit card to purchase a drink when they are very thirsty and the merchant says, "$5 min. on a credit card or cash only". If only more and more customer service was more flexible and more organized, there can be some room to give the benefit of the doubt...Another situation could be when one purchases a store brand item, and he decides to go back and refund it the next day but misplaces his receipt. The customer service desk can either be flexible about it, or check to see the purchase made from the revenue on their computer. I am a generally honest person, but frankly, this may be the first time I disagree with Rav. Solomon - a few weeks ago, he did have a video on flexibility when it comes to bureaucracies and scheduling.


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