Saturday, December 1, 2018

You Found $7.5 Million: Now What???

There are many movies or books that start with the premise of some everyman (everywoman) finding or coming into the possession of an item and then discovering that said item is either worth a bajillion dollars or has cash close to that amount hidden inside.

Often, heck inevitably, this item or cash belongs or used to belong to some truly sadistic organized crime figures, selfish evil business executives, or perhaps to a shadowy government agency that can with the push of a button make someone's entire family disappear in a black site forever. Whoever the previous owners are, they are serious people who will not shrink from torture, beatings, or worse in order to recover "their" property.

Well there's no story if the everyman just rolls over and gives them what they want is there? Maybe he has a few tricks up his sleeve. Maybe he's a loser who's tired of being pushed around. Maybe he's an ideologue who has been waiting for just this opportunity to expose malfeasance. Maybe he's a qualified man supported by his own dangerous familial or business networks and can back up a pugnacious stance of "finders keepers, losers weepers". Or maybe he's been waiting for an opportunity to quit his job, get a facelift, and disappear overseas with various buxom supermodels. The entertainment possibilities are endless.

Real life is different from fictional events on screen or in print.

Picture this: You purchase a storage unit for $500 and inside find a safe containing $7.5 million in cash. Do you return the money to the original owner or keep it for yourself? That's precisely the scenario one man found himself in after obtaining a unit auctioned off by A&E's Storage Wars star Dan Dotson. 

"The first person they called to open the safe, I guess, couldn't, or didn't, so they called a second person," Dan explained in a video posted to Facebook and YouTube after a friend of the buyer's told him the remarkable story. "When that person opened it up, inside the safe—normally they're empty, but this time it wasn't empty—[and] it had $7.5 million cash inside the safe." 

After discovering their storage shed had been sold, the original owners had their attorney reach out to offer the new owners a deal: $600,000 to give the money back. Eventually, the new owners settled on an increased cut of $1.2 million in exchange for the return—meaning everyone walked away a winner.

I would not be pleased if after I purchased something fair and square someone contacted me and demanded its return. Now my initial response would be the same thing that the auctioneer would tell me if I were unsatisfied with my purchase. All sales are final. On the other hand, who the hell keeps $7.5 million in duffel bags in a safe and forgets about it? Well probably that's going to be the kind of people who use chainsaws as conversation enhancement and tend to get excitable when they aren't paid what they think they are owed.

Compared to me, such people probably have a superior capacity for violence and relative indifference to the prospect of prison time. So after thinking it over maybe I would settle. Maybe. Snicker. Or maybe the right thing to do would be to return everything and start running. Who can say. I think I'd have to know a little bit about the previous owners, or the people who claim to be the previous owners.

What would you do?

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