Found $150 in The Office, Handed to Receptionist, and Owner Got It Back, but Did Not Leave "Finders Fee"

I found $150 on exiting the toilets, and handed it to the receptionist. She sent out an email to the whole office, and the owner was found.

From where I come from, if you lose something, and someone else finds it, and returns it, you owe him 10% of the value.

Well, this guy did not even thank me.

Although I know it's illegal and partly immoral, next time I find money in the office, I'm even more tempted to keep it.


  • "From where I come from, if you lose something, and someone else finds it, and returns it, you owe him 10% of the value."
    well that's your principle and does not necessarily applies to everyone else..

    a thanks you or a coffee would have been appropriate. A 10% tip would have been great but not necessary.
    Next time you keep it- again its your decision what you want to do. Stay with morals or money.

    • To be honest, in Australia, if I found someones wallet and they offered 10%, I'd refuse. I figure that it be impolite for me to take that money and would detract from the sense of satisfaction I get from helping a stranger out.

      I've returned wallets on occasion, not because I want to get a reward, but because I want to live in a society where others would do the same for me if I lost mine. OP, people are not supporting you due to what appears as a sense of entitlement to a reward for a good deed.

      • Yeah I agree with this. I don't expect anything if I return something lost simply because if it were me, I'd feel a bit shit.

        If I lost my phone, I don't really want to go hand out $30-$50 (whatever it's worth now) to the person who finds it.

        The mentality here is that you're rewarded money for not being a thief

        • +37 votes

          On behalf of the person, Thank you.

          But you can't keep something that is not yours, from wherever you are, it is theft.
          It actually happened to me last week. I found a wallet full of cards and money. I called different places until one place agreed to pass my number to the guy and he actually offered me all the money in the wallet but obviously I refused. I did what was right. I don't carry a wallet but hope someone does the same if they find my belongings.

        • @pal: I wouldn't expect a reward but all self satisfaction gained from being a decent human being would be replaced with temporary anger if they didn't even say a simple "thank you"

        • @pal:
          This where these stupid privacy laws get in the way. You were lucky that someone you called would call the person. This also stupid if someone hands in a mobile to staff say Woolworths for example. Due to privacy laws Woolworths are not allowed to look into your phone to find out who the owner is or contact someone in your address book to find out who the owner is. I have no objections to staff looking at my phone to find out who the owner is.

      • I agree . I have returned many items and when offered a reward, I refused every time, even if they insist.
        It just is not right to steal (which is hwat keeping someone elses property you find is).
        It is also not right to take advantage of someone else's misfortune and to expect a reward.
        The more moral and ethical and just plain right, thing to do, is to refuse a reward for doing good.
        If the OP is ever helped by a lifeguard, or ambulance or doctor etc in saving his/her life, the person who saves them should demand 10% of life income thereafter . Lol.

        • Funny you mention it: my wallet was stolen a while ago, and a girl found the remains ( wallet - cash ), and sent it to me. I did send her mohter a Lego Box to give to her, as a thank you!
          Yes, I would go to the same beach I was rescued, and give either the club and/or the rescuer something.
          Paramedics and Doctor earn money. so are excluded from the donation list.

        • @cameldownunder:
          So you would give the rescuer 10% of all your earning ? What if he/she 'expected' such , and said its only fair that they get 10% .

        • you were offered and some of them even insist did you say?

          Did you not have any occasion where you return an item and not even a single thank you?
          How would you feel if you're on that shoe?

        • @tempura:
          Even if someone insists on giving me something or insists on doing something for me, as a gratuity for something kind and just plain 'the right thing' that I have done, I tell them :
          "Go do something kind for someone else, go do what I did for you, help someone and expect nothing in return". Like a pay it forward kind of philosophy.
          Regarding "a single thank you" , thats all i expect, and I do think it is rude when you do something really kind for someone and they dont say "thankyou". But thats on them, Im not going to demand a thank you. Thats also what I say sometimes when someone thanks me and insists on a gratuity , I say "THANK YOU IS ENOUGH" .
          Whats the point of doing something good, if you only did it to get something for yourself.

        • I am going to upvote you for your kind words.

        • +3 votes

          @ozzpete: I think he should give the rescuer 10% of his entire value as a human being. Which in this case probably isn't much.

        • @tempura:
          No need for the upvote, Thank You is enough for ozzpete : )

      • Agreed.
        If I child finds it however, I would give them a reward. It helps to teach about doing the right thing and wouldn't have to be large to make a difference.

        I once found like $800 in a wallet in a toilet in a pub, handed it back and they found the guy who had already asked. Some poor backpacker had lost 1-2 weeks living money…
        I obviously expected a beer, his English wasn't so great, not sure if I got the beer, no way I could have expected an Australian response from someone who speaks 100-200 words of English.

        I felt good, ive been a backpacker, I know what money is like with no job on the otherside of the world.

        • When I was little my sister found a wallet with a few hundred dollars in it. We rang the guy and he came here over and saw the money was in it. He was so surprised and he gave her $50. That story is generous and kind from any point of view and is the kind of world I like living it.

        • +16 votes

          This reminds me of a story my wife told me that happened during the recently passed Christmas break.

          My wife was lining up at the Starbucks Town Hall while I was elsewhere buying food. She had a $50 note that I've previously given her to buy drinks and she simply left it in her bag. When she took an item out of her bag, the note came out along with it and fell to the floor.

          A teenage girl and her mother were behind my wife and apparently the teenager picked it up and placed the note underneath her clutch wallet.

          Thankfully, two ladies behind them saw this and informed my wife about what had happened and aggressively told the teenager to hand it back.

          After they handed it back and were clearly embarrassed, the mother immediately removed herself and her daughter from the situation and sped off. We were not sure whether the mother initially knew what her daughter did.

          Many thanks to the two ladies who helped my wife in that situation, I hope there are more people like you in Sydney.

        • @AddNinja:
          Im glad she gave the wallet back. Honestly though, it would be much 'more kind' to not accept gratuities for simply doing what is right and not stealing.

        • @ozzpete:
          I don’t agree. She knew returning it was the right thing. She needed no reward. She didn’t ask for it and it was freely given. If the lesson she learnt was “I get money for doing the right thing”, then yes. But it wasn’t, it was and act of kindness by the guy. He got his wallet back, and he gave $50 to a kid who’d never had that much money.

      • +11 votes

        Many/most people would refuse. It is polite to offer and it is polite to refuse.
        So the general socially acceptable thing to do is offer a reward with the finder declining the reward. That way everyone is happy without needing a 'finders fee'.

      • I'm a massive tightarse and agree 100%. Would love to find a bag of cash and would probably keep that, but if it's a wallet, different story. Have found an old ladies wallet with $100 many years ago. She lived 2 streets away. I dropped it off and she gave me a quick thanks and shut the door. I was hoping for more gratitude and couldn't give a stuff if she gave me $5 for my efforts. A gracious and genuine thank you is reward enough IMO.

      • A group of us found a wallet in a McDonalds car park late one night after the movies, full of everything, including lots of cash.
        We looked the drivers license, saw the address was about 20-30 mins away and decided we would take it there.

        First, we did take a finder’s fee without permission, via buying a large fries.
        We then drove to his house via servo, stopped and brought a porn magazine, didn’t open it (plastic bag).
        Got to his house after midnight, wrapped wallet in porno, placed it safely inside of flip top letter box.

        We did think it was fair that he paid for some fries for that work, and service. We didn’t give him the chance to not do that though.
        Not sure how he would feel about the porno, but probably like any young male, I am guessing he put it to good use.

        On one hand we effectively stole, on the other we gave.
        My conscious is clear, I can’t see how it wasn’t super happy with the result.

        My dog ran away once, it got found and they called me, I got there and offered to buy them some alcohol or other of their choosing, they declined. I would have done the same thing.

      • Spot on.
        Ito live in a decent caring society, not one who think there owed something for helping someone.
        Would you hold a door open for someone and expect a reward..

        If the person knew it was you, a thank you would be decent thing to do

      • I just logged in just to vote for you. I lost my wallet a couple of times but everytime a kind stranger returned it to me and refused rewards. I definitely do the same and want to live in a society like that.

      • Fully agreed. My wife and I once found a handbag in a supermarket trolley. We didn't have much faith in that store's staff and the Police Station was inconvenient, so we looked inside, identified the owner and knocked on her door 5 minutes later. I was speaking to her grateful mother when she called to report she lost it. I declined a reward, preferring the feeling of success.

      • Only on ocassion? :P

        Jokes aside, would love foe you to find my wallet instead of whoever keeping it now haha

      • Well said

    • The person "owed" you their gratitude. Keep in mind this is a moral obligation (or "debt") for them to show if they want to, and they might not. There is no cultural expectation here in Australia to have to give back anything tangible for someone being honest, though it is nice when they do.

    • It would be nice to get something… But that's the point isn't it, you're forgoing profit because it's not yours.

      I've had things returned before and gee it feels nice when people are honest. So, what goes around comes around.

    • +5 votes

      I once found a Swiss lady's phone around the corner from Lombard St in San Francisco. The phone was in German and I had no idea who to call to find the owner BUT luckily she had gone back to her hotel and she started calling her phone, so we got it back to her. I never expected a fee and she never offered, it was a nice feeling to get it back to the owner promptly.

      • This is interesting! OP mentions in a comment below he is from Switzerland but your little anecdote casts a question mark on his claim of the standard 10% finders fee.

    • Reality: receptionist kept the reward and the $150

    • I wonder if this 10% rule also applies if you find someone's child…

  • +164 votes

    where do you come from that says that someone owes you a finders fee..?

    you handed the money back to the person because it was the right thing to do.
    demanding you receive a reward is wrong.

    next time if you find your self with this moral dilemma just leave it..
    you wont have the guilt of stealing someone's money and you wont be compensated for something you didn't do.

    • where do you come from


      • Did this happen in Switzerland?

        • I thought the swiss keep everything… They certainly did in WW2

        • @Martijn: Whether it be NAZI gold or some dirty mob cartel boss's drug money.

        • +14 votes

          It's actually set in the law, but 10% is just a rule of thumb:

          Lorsqu'elle est restituée au propriétaire, celui qui l'a trouvée a droit au remboursement de tous ses frais et à une gratification équitable.

          When property is returned to its owner, the finder is entitled to reimbursement of reasonable expenses, and a reasonable compensation.


        • @batouchu: Hmm, I wonder what expenses he/she incurred by walking from the bathroom to the receptionist that they feel entitled to be compensated for?

        • @batouchu:
          That isn't 10% of the total amount. I interpret that as perhaps the cost of petrol or a train fare or the like, required to return the item. Not sure what you're being compensated for exactly when you hand in money you found in the toilet.

        • @batouchu:

          Thats not a reward then.

          What would be reasonable expenses and compensation for walking to reception and handing over?!

          About 0.005 cents worth of shoe rubber? offset by the health benefits.

        • @shtgnjns: mmmm I think compensating from the other alternative, i.e. pocketing the money?

      • Guess what this is not Switzerland.. we don't have a culture of bribery to do good deeds.

        It would be nice if he offered you something, but as this is not a topic generally discussed there are no process/procedure people can follow.

        • culture of bribery
          Try bribery in Switzerland …

          Found out that the current culture in Australia, is that screwing over another person is the order of the day:
          Taxi Driver missing exit for Domestic airport, so he could do the long loop
          Stealership trying to flog Service
          Whoolies putting the special sign for 30 cans of coke, where the 24 cans are
          Trying to sell at a higher price, but ready to do price matching
          Giving a better exchange course if you walk out
          Charging you additionally if you live in a "rich" area
          Having an accident, not being insured, and running from your responsibility

          But that is not the point of this post.

          Now I've learned not to expect a return for returning lost property.

        • @cameldownunder:

          This is the motherf***ing whingepost of the century.

        • +16 votes

          @cameldownunder: And none of that shit has ever happened in Switzerland, right?

        • @cameldownunder:

          Sorry lets pretend everything you said is true,they arent Australia,there are plenty of other examples of people doing the honourable thing. Its like saying because a car driver killed someone all car drivers are the same. It doesnt work like that.

          If you find something in Australia you are obligated to return it to th epolice or the person, otehrwise its theft by finding.

        • +24 votes


          culture in Australia, is that screwing over another person is the order of the day

          I bought a McValue meal at Maccas in Switzerland and they charged me $20 !!!

        • @jv: That's not screwing, that's a corporate robbery.

        • @cameldownunder: I strongly suggest that next time you come across lost property that you do not touch or interact with it at all, since you feel that you won't be able to resist taking it for yourself, making you no better than a common thief. Let the next person deal with it.

        • @jv: I landed in Zurich with a sick family and went to the local convenience store to see if they had Paracetamol.

          Apparently they do not sell Paracetamol, but the cashier gladly offered me 2 of his personal tablets for $30+.

          Yeah, nah!!!

        • @apey2000: i'm reading this whole thread because i'm interested in swiss mindset/culture/experiences even if just anecdotally and it's not painting a great picture at all :|

        • @Huntta: Dining out in Switzerland is really, really expensive. When we went last we just cooked for ourselves, then resumed dining out in Italy where it was a third of the cost.

        • @cameldownunder:nah look mate, this is Australia, not Switzerland. There's such a thing as doing a good deed for someone else. You expended effort somewhere between 0% and sweet FA and expect something for it. We are an egalitarian lot, we care about each other and do good by our neighbour. It's a strong thread that holds the the tapestry of our society together. Do a good deed for another and bask in the satisfaction it brings you.

          I agree that the person should have thanked you, but perhaps he wasn't aware you had handed it in.

      • +70 votes

        Here I thought Switzerland was neutral. Now I know they're 10%.

      • well fark me .. i did not know this thing existed … i thought it was stupid so i googled it and it really does exist

        i guess you learn something new every day

        • So I guess that means you can steal something, evaluate it overnight, if you want it you keep it 100%. If you don't want it, get back in touch with the owner and get 10% out of it lol.

          Win-win for stealing?

      • So in Switzerland, I assume that there are not many of generous finders who decline to accept the reward ?

        • +18 votes

          Well, their national food, Swiss cheese, has 10% holes. I guess that says it all.

      • Not sure why people are negging you for saying where you're from. But haters gonna hate hate hate hate…..

        • He was not negged for saying where he's from. Let me explain to you what happened from an ozbargain perspective.

          This is a forum post, which cannot be negged. It is for this reason a large majority of his comments are getting negged, even if the content of his comments should not warrant a neg

          Had this been a deal post, both the deal itself and his comments would be negged even if the comments were somewhat innocent because basically OP hasn't exactly painted himself as the most likeable guy here.

          But in any case, that's besides the point. He's not here for love. He's here to tell us that finder's fees should be the norm here like it is in Switzerland.

      • I did doubt that you were from Switzerland but a quick search shows you're pretty consistent with comparing everything in Australia with Switzerland. Perhaps you are homesick?

  • +11 votes

    the owner probably didn't know who found it, given it was the receptionist who sent out the message…

  • your good karma will reward you.

  • From where I come from, if you lose something, and someone else finds it, and returns it, you owe him 10% of the value.

    What if you find somebody's lost kid? :p

  • +29 votes

    "From where I come from, if you lose something, and someone else finds it, and returns it, you owe him 10% of the value."

    so you are not from ozbargainistan then